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admin 03.04.2014

Animal rights theorist Tom Regan famously said that our only obligation to free living animals is “to let them be.” At first thought, this sounds right.
We all know non-domesticated animals suffer, and we know that many of them die when they are very young.
One easily overlooked factor in the huge number of animals who suffer and die in nature is the fact that most animals reproduce by having enormous numbers of offspring. Consider a situation in which it were possible to help free living animals and we could do so without doing more harm than good. We may think that we should help humans because they are members of our own species, but that, because other animals are not, we shouldn’t help them. Despite this, we may still retain the idea that helping animals is wrong because it’s not natural.
In fact, on reflection we can easily see that we don’t quite agree with the idea that we shouldn’t do anything that may be considered not natural. We intervene in nature all the time to further our own human interests, for agriculture, manufacturing, housing, building roads and extracting natural resources. Yet when it comes to nonhuman animals living in the wild, we suddenly apply a different standard: we think it is wrong to help them because it is unnatural. The only thing that makes free living animals different is that they are not one of the species that live in human society. There are many practical reasons why we might choose not to try to help most free living animals. We rarely stop to think about the suffering of animals in nature, and we often prefer to feel free of any duty toward others. Of course, there may be some people who still think that free living animals would prefer to be left to suffer and die as long as they live on their own in a natural environment.
There is no reason to believe that they would prefer not to have any help, and every reason to believe they would. Some humans may prefer to see animals in nature live and die on their own without any help from us. As we have seen above, there are several reasons that explain why we seldom notice that there are lots of animals suffering and dying in nature. One response that can be given to this is that we don’t know what’s good for other animals, and even that it’s arrogant to assume we can know this, that it comes from an assumption of human superiority. We all recognize it as obvious that an infant or a sick human or a human suffering after a natural disaster or an injured dog is in need of help. There is, however, an attitude that is truly arrogant: the one that assumes human beings are the center of the world and that we should only be concerned with human interests and wellbeing. If someone could save our lives or relieve our illness, wouldn’t we want them to do it? If a race of superintelligent extraterrestrials were to come to earth and tell us they could relieve us of human diseases and end world hunger, and that they would intervene in our lives only to the extent that was necessary to help relieve us from those terrible harms, would we tell them we don’t want that?
Should we leave animals to suffer by claiming that the harms they undergo are not our responsibility? If we accept that sentience or consciousness should be the basis for moral consideration then we should give equal consideration to the interests of all conscious beings (that is, all who can have experiences).
Most of us do think we should relieve the suffering of other human beings, even when we are not the ones who have caused them to suffer. It shouldn’t matter whether someone walks on four legs or two, or flies through the air. You want to do your part to help end the suffering of animals, but these days who has the time - or energy?
3) Put a pro-animal message or sticker on any envelopes you mail or insert a leaflet inside each envelope - or both! 5) If veganism seems overwhelming, start with some baby steps: replace milk, butter, and eggs with soy milk, margarine, and egg replacer. 6) Customize your email signature by adding an animal rights message, quote or, even better, a link to an AR video that people can watch for free, right online.
8) Don't visit circuses with animal acts, rodeos, or any animal fights, competitions, races, "tricks," or other performance acts. 9) Any time you choose to open your life and your home to a companion animal (or another companion animal), please visit a local shelter to find your new friend. Dani BakerDowners Grove Animal Rights ExaminerDani Baker is an animal rights activist and part-time educator, translater and writer from Lisle, IL. We might think that interfering in nature can lead to disastrous results, and if we were to try to help every free living animal who was suffering from disease or starvation, the results would be unpredictable.
Many herbivores suffer from them even when there is food available if there are predators around the area where they would graze, since fear of being killed prevents them from eating.
For instance, some amphibians such as frogs may lay thousands of eggs, while fishes can lay millions of them. For instance, if someone is hiking in the mountains or the woods and gets lost or injured, most people think we should go help her or him.
But there are some situations in which helping them is certainly feasible, or it would be so if we were willing to work on it.

But this is actually a speciesist position, according to which the interests of human beings take priority over those of other animals.
Understandably, then, we may think that the lives of animals in natural environments has to be good, so we shouldn’t try to help them. We see them as part of nature, but humans and domesticated animals as separate from nature. In fact, for practical reasons, in most cases not intervening to help them does seem to be the best course of action currently. Yet even when we do think about it, many of us still think there’s nothing we should do about the suffering of animals in nature. Many of us are aware that humans exploit nonhuman animals in terrible ways, and often keep them in terrible confinement, from which we want to liberate them.
This seems to assume that they see themselves as a part of nature, and that they themselves value the balance of nature more than their own wellbeing. But once we see that they are, and that we could help them, can we, in good conscience, remain indifferent? The question, then, is why is it arrogant to say the same thing about free living nonhumans who are suffering and unable to help themselves? The horror we may feel about this may be present in our minds when we consider intervening for completely different reasons. This may lead us to see any intervention in the same light, and think that it’s an instance of domination just as their exploitation for our own benefit is.
We all (or at least most of us) think it would be terrible not to save the life of a baby drowning in a pond, or if she were being eaten alive by parasites. Find out which of your cosmetics and personal-care items are made by companies that perform cruel, unnecessary and costly experiments on animals. Stickers and leaflets can be obtained free of charge from many animal rights groups, like PETA. Animal entertainment enterprises destroy animals' families by kidnapping young "performers" from the wild or separating captive-born babies from their loved ones at devastatingly young ages. Every animal bought from a store or breeder means the death of an equally loving, smart, sweet and cuddly animal in a shelter.
This means that we often fail to consider the extent of the harms these animals may suffer. Additionally, large numbers of animals starve due to the lack of food or water in harsh winters or droughts.
However, there are many cases in which nonhuman animals are in situations similar to these. There have been cases in which animals living in the wild have been vaccinated against certain diseases so they don’t pass those diseases on to domestic animals (this has been done with foxes, for instance, in the UK). If we reject any kind of discrimination and agree we should give equal respect to all sentient beings, there is no reason to be ready to help some beings but not others because they are not members of our species. But, as we have seen above, there are huge numbers of animals who suffer terribly and die, often painfully, soon after they come to existence.
However, if we care about the wellbeing of sentient individuals, all the strength such a claim might have depends on whether a completely natural life is good or not.
But this is obviously a fiction: what we humans do affects our natural surroundings all the time, in very important ways, and vice versa.
Even if they were capable of understanding their place in an ecosystem, why would they value a nonsentient ecosystem over the wellbeing of themselves and their families? Every animal we encounter shows a preference for positive experiences and tries to to avoid negative ones.
If we value the balance of natural processes more than the wellbeing of the animals who live in nature, but we don’t value them more than human lives or the lives of dogs and cats, this is an arbitrary discrimination against free living animals. Well, I have good news for you; none of these limitations can keep you from becoming an activist.
Unfortunately, even materials like wool and silk involve horrific mutilation and cruelty, and with the array of natural plant fibers and synthetics available for textiles, your wardrobe need not suffer for you to be kind. Keep track of fascinating discoveries about animals; scientists are paying more attention to animals' social, emotional, and psychological aspects than ever before, and are learning new things all the time.
You can find all kinds of dogs, cats, and often other animals like rabbits, birds, and more.
The current greatest threat to animals is ignorance, so a person who's conscious of the way their lifestyle impacts others will find countless opportunities to improve the world.
So trying to help most animals living in the wild looks like a very bad idea – and it probably is. This shows it would also be possible to treat or vaccinate these animals for their own sake. If it’s not, why should we think it wrong to help someone who isn’t living a good life, but is actually in misery? We do all we can to shield ourselves from nature, wearing clothes, building homes, taking antibiotics when we’re sick and painkillers when we are hurt.
So if we intervene when it’s in our interest, why not when it’s in the interests of nonhumans? We wouldn’t let other humans suffer and die if we could prevent it just because it was good for an ecosystem.

Nature is complex and it’s not always possible to predict the outcome of our actions. Most importantly, most people have never stopped to think that, while we may be sitting comfortably in our homes, enjoying our freedom, out there free living animals may be dying in misery.
We think we know when they are suffering and we recognize that they feel better after their suffering is relieved.
We humans don’t value ecosystem balance over the wellbeing of ourselves and our families. It’s not arrogant to say this, just as it’s not arrogant to say it would be good for her to be helped. A deer doesn’t have an interest in voting, so we have no obligation to make sure she can vote, but she does have an interest in not suffering pain or hunger or fear. The selection, quality, price-range and availability of products from caring companies is just as varied, so you can easily find a nearly-identical alternative to almost any product.
They employ violence, terror, and pain as their training methods, and have often been caught lying to the public about their treatment of these beings who are, to them, nothing more than commodities to be used any way they choose. Before long, you'll have created your own list of ways to help animals that are quick, easy and free! Ichneumonidae wasps lay their eggs in the fully sentient body of immobilized caterpillars, who are eaten alive by the wasp larvae when they come out of the eggs (these larvae leave the caterpillar’s vital organs intact so the caterpillar remains alive for as long as possible). Also, supplying food for some animals who would otherwise starve is often possible as well. We wouldn’t let our dogs and cats suffer and die even if it were good for an ecosystem. Plus we simply don’t have the resources to help all free living animals, even if we knew exactly how we could do it without causing more harm than good. And if a wild animal who is sick or injured crosses our path, we recognize their pain and think that they would want our help.
As mentioned above, we may find practical problems with helping free living animals, so we should be very careful and, first of all, do research on how to do it properly. Nobody calls this arrogance and suggests that the moral course of action would be to let them die in the streets without any help.
If the same fox is trapped in similar circumstances for some natural reason, such as an accident she’s suffered, we also know she’s suffering, and that she’d be better off if she were helped. We have every reason to believe she suffers these things to the same degree as a human, so we should give her the same consideration we would give to a human.
Or, take the opportunity to try some different items - you may end up finding things that you like even better than your old standbys. Zoos and aquariums may seem more sympathetic and many of them do have nobler intentions, but they are still prisons, in effect, for the animals they house. In addition, many animals suffer accidents which mutilate some part of their bodies, or which leave them in chronic pain for the rest of their lives (as often happens in the case of serious injuries which never heal properly without medical intervention). Zoologists observing animals in nature often find themselves in situations in which the animals they are studying are suffering or dying in ways these zoologists could easily relieve (though they often refuse to on the grounds that it would be “unscientific”). But these are different from arguments that it is wrong to help them, and arguments that reduce them to units of nature to be balanced rather than recognizing them as conscious beings who are just as deserving of moral consideration as humans, dogs and cats. But once we learn about the terrible harms they suffer, this view must surely be left behind.
But if we agree that moral consideration should be based on sentience, then there are no good moral reasons not to. Free living animals are better able to take care of themselves than domesticated animals, but are still vulnerable in ways that most humans are not. Things are just the other way around: the behavior that is more in accordance with an attitude of domination is refusing to help someone, that is, refusing to show solidarity to someone who needs it. Anytime you share knowledge about the beauty, ability, and complexity of any of our animal friends you further the cause for their rights and ethical treatment.
The bottom line is that they simply can't save wild animal populations with their captive-bred animals and they perpetuate the notion that humans have a right to imprison others under the guise of education and conservation.
Of course, refusing to help humans in situations such as these would be found abhorrent by most people. And if we believe we have an obligation to help other humans who are suffering, then if we can relieve her suffering, we should do it.
Animals may be killed by predators or by other animals who compete with them for territory, food, mates to reproduce, or social status in the case of social animals.
The reason is that the overwhelming majority of the animals who come into existence die shortly after, when they are very young. On average, for stable populations, in each generation just one individual per parent survives.

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