I don't advocate culling any species but I often question the wisdom
of human intervention to sustain the life of members of a species
not under threat that would otherwise die of natural causes.
From an intellectual viewpoint I understand what you are saying. For
example, I am not comfortable with the extreme resources that humans
put into saving premature babies and to fertility programs. From that
dispassionate pseudo-Darwinian point of view if an individual member
of any species is incapable of reproducing or surviving there's a
reason for that. However, as humans we are social creatures, and we
have a complex society that most certainly does not, and should not,
run on principles of absolute abandonment of weaker individuals. And
so, we save premature babies from certain death by using our
technological capacity. I still think there's an issue to debate there
in regard to how much resources we should spend in order to save them
but that's another debate entirely.
Now, as to other species. I firmly hold the position that humans are
not a special species on this planet, certainly not from an absolute
view of specialness as we know many "lower" species possess similar
cognitive capabilities to humans, but nor a relative one either. The
fact that humans changed the environment to suit the noisy miner as a
species doesn't alter one bit my personal ethical response to the one
individual I found in trouble. And nor even if it were a magpie chick,
a regent honeyeater, an orange bellied parrot or even a rock dove
squab, would alter my response to that individual found to be in need.
The individual being is entitled to care and attention, regardless of
class or species. I would expect if it were an orange bellied parrot
that the 'semi-official organs of state' that deal with such rare/
threatened species would obviously have more resource and effort to
saving the individual than a "mere" noisy miner, which is where such
ethics come into play. Ethically I cannot see why my *personal*
response to a suffering individual should be dictated only by a
ruthless calculus of species numerical superiority or lack thereof (as
opposed to our collective response as a society).
As to chickens. We as humans eat meat, it is true, and exploit animals
for other products such as eggs milk and leather. I am no wilting
vegetarian. It is not the fact that I am eating the chicken or its
eggs that to me is the ethical issue at stake - that's my inescapable
biological imperative. The ethical issue is about what sort of life
did it have before I ate it. Hence why I try to only eat animal
foodstuffs that I know have not been intensively farmed and have been
raised humanely, I don't buy meat from the supermarket and luckily my
butcher generally agrees and labels such meat accordingly and in the
chicken's specific case, only sources from humane suppliers.
The individual noisy miner most certainly enjoyed my wife's rescuing
it. It gained relief and pleasure from her rescuing it and giving it
warmth. The lorikeet powder mix gave it strength and vitality which it
definitely appreciated. In turn the bird clearly gave preference to my
wife's company and like to nestle on her and groom itself, thereby
reciprocating it's pleasure. To demand that such exchanges be regarded
only on the level of the mathematics of the species, seems to me to be
denying our own humanity.
The bird will probably never be released anyway, I'd imagine. Noisy
miners to me seem to form such close-knit family groups that I can't
see how you could go about releasing such an individual, but I will
leave that particular algorithm to the wildlife rescue experts.
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