Ethical Treatment of Invasive and Native Fauna in Australia: Perspectives through the One Welfare Lens

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The One Welfare concept is proposed to guide humans in the ethical treatment of non-human animals, each other and the environment. One Welfare was conceptualized for veterinarians but could be a foundational concept through which to promote the ethical treatment of animals that are outside of direct human care and responsibility. However, wild-living animals raise additional ethical conundrums because of their multifarious values and roles, and relationships that humans have with them. At an open facilitated forum, the 2018 Robert Dixon Memorial Animal Welfare Symposium, a panel of five experts from different fields shared their perspectives on “loving and hating animals in the wild” and responded to unscripted questions from the audience. The Symposium’s objectives were to elucidate views on the ethical treatment of the native and invasive animals of Australia and to identify some of the resultant dilemmas facing conservationists, educators, veterinarians and society. Here, we document the presented views and case studies and synthesize common themes in a One Welfare framework. Additionally, we identified points of contention that can guide further discourse. With this guide in place, the identification and discussion of those disparate views was a first step toward practical resolutions on how to manage wild-living Australian fauna ethically. We concluded that there was great utility in the One Welfare approach for any discourse about wild animal welfare. It requires attention to each element of the triple bottom line and ensures that advocacy for one party does not vanquish the voices from other sectors. We argue that, by facilitating a focus on the ecology in the context of wild animal issues, One Welfare is more useful in this context than the veterinary context for which it was originally developed.

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Massey University



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