Giving Compass’ Take:
• Persis Eskander brings up a series of crucial considerations that funders interested in reducing wild animal suffering should consider when forming their approach.
• How do these factors align with current efforts to reduce wild animal suffering?
• Read about ways to reduce wild animal suffering.
“Crucial consideration” is a term that Nick Bostrom created, and it’s essentially an idea or argument that might plausibly reveal the need for not just some minor course adjustment in our practical endeavors, but a major change in direction or priority. We can break down practical endeavors into three components. We can look at our primary goal, our evaluation standard, and our focus area.
So if our primary goal as EAs is to help others as effectively as possible, then we might define our evaluation standard as improving the quality of life or reducing the suffering of moral patients. And so the simple case we might make for wild animal suffering, is that suffering experiences in the wild are intense and frequent, and they affect an enormous number of beings. The majority of animals are short-lived and they experience many forms of prolonged chronic suffering like hunger, injury, parasitism, and disease. Reducing the suffering experiences of wild animals will improve the lives of a large percentage of moral patients. So, if we have cost-effective solutions, we should work on resolving the problem.
Now, an example of a crucial consideration here would be, “Well, what if wild animals can’t suffer?” In that case, our interventions aren’t adding any value and pursuing the goal would be pointless because we’re not actually doing any good. One point before I move on, though, is that I think there is very strong evidence that many wild animals can suffer.
Read the full article about wild animal suffering by Persis Eskander at Effective Altruism.
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