Friday, September 22, 2006

Are pesticides saving animals' lives?

"Kenya plans massive elephant translocation to ease human-wildlife conflict." We constantly hear news like this. In Africa in particular, animals living in the wild have to "make room", one way or the other, for a growing human population which uses low-yield, traditional agricultural methods and therefore requires much more land than if it used high-yield, modern methods involving pesticides.

Elephants and gorillas, among others, are always losing habitat to humans.

We know that occasionally birds and other non-human animals accidentally eat the pesticides and are killed by them.

The question is: what kills more non-human animals, pesticides or the alternative to them, the farming techniques which require much more land and destroy much more wildlife habitats?

Pesticides may be more good than bad for non-human animals.


chris said...

Whether more death or suffering is caused by pesticides or mass relocation isn't the only question, though:

1. Those aren't necessarily the only alternatives. Perhaps humans ought not to reproduce so quickly, because of the impact that feeding them will have on non-human animals. Or, perhaps there is some very costly (to humans) way of producing food that uses neither pesticides nor extra land. If nonhuman animals count, then perhaps we ought to consider that method.

2. Maybe it isn't just the numbers that count. It might be worse to cause suffering or death direcly than simply to allow it to happen. Relocation involves actively causing the harm, arguably, while pesticides involve deaths that are a foreseen but unintended consequence. So even if pesticides aren't saving animals' lives, there might be something to be said for them.

rift said...

"Pesticides may be more good than bad for non-human animals."
Interesting, but very very false simply because bugs are non-human animals as well. :)

I understand what you meant, tho, and I still disagree: Poisons and killing aren't going to do Anyone Any good.

Thanks for the interesting blog.

CreditConselor said...

Thank you for this interesting post. The question you have tried to answer is debatable. To my opinion pesticides'harm is much more serious than its benefit for agriculture. There are researches confirming that. Too active fishes, agressive macaques, fearless mise and unflying gulls, trying to get involved into homosexual relationship, are results of pesticides application!