Animal rights and human-bear conflicts

David Fraser is an outstanding professor professional at animal welfare and animal rights research. The main focus of a research published in 1999, titled Animal Ethics and Animal Welfare Science: Bridging the Two Cultures,  is to converge the two different approaches regarding animal rights, namely, the ethical approach and the scientific approach. The author believes that none of these two approaches can separately answer the questions about human relationship toward animals. However, the combination between these two distinct “cultures” might integrate both empirical knowledge and philosophical reflection into a system in which scientists and philosophers could learn from the other side to enhance the whole system. Thus, the author proposes that the scientists should consider more about the animals’ emotions, awareness and other subjective experiences which ethical philosophers have cared for several decades, while the philosophers need to think about the species differences rather than talking about animals without considering the species difference. Given his detailed argument and analytic content in this paper, I think this paper is very reliable. And this research ascertains the limitations of both approaches, and it actually points out the new possibility in this area.

Correspondingly, another research carried out by two scholars titled as Going into the 21st century: a perspective on trends and controversies in the management of the American black bear, demonstrates that practical decision concerning animal care should base on some fundamental facts about that species. The two authors are from Manitoba Conservation & US Fish and Wildlife Service with a specific concern on the management strategy of American black bear in North America. Their purpose in this research is to investigate the population estimates and targets, harvest objectives and hunting methods, hunter and harvest data, and trends in human–bear conflicts. They utilize the data from provincial bear biologists, state authority, and black bear managers to achieve the above goals. And they assume that the purpose of black bear management should balance the goals of maintaining viable black bear populations, safeguarding human welfare and property, and satisfying the needs of stakeholders in a cost-effective manner. They also recommend other pragmatic methods to control the density and distribution of black bears. Their positive research obviously is reliable. The future black bear management needs to consider the conclusions the research offers. And management strategy and wild animal ethics involving other large carnivores might also use this paper as a reference.

Combining these two studies, I strengthened my previous belief that environmental ethics and environmental science should work together. And crossing the boundary might bring unexpected hope for the future of human-nature relationship.


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