Why do we have to take responsibility for all the other animals in the world?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by nlivo, Jan 27, 2008.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    Now I know I am going to have people disagree with me and I think some will just for the sake of it, but........why do we have to take responsibility of all the other animals in the world? I understand if we have affected other
    animals' well-being that we should try and help them (eg. Whaling) but otherwise, why?!? If some animals are close to exstinction (with humans not to blame) why do we have to intefere with nature and try to save them. Animals die, that is nature. Anyone agree with me?
  2. macrumors 68030


    Who's forcing you to take care of animals that are close to extinction?
  3. Moderator emeritus


    "Animals die, that is nature.". Are you serious? Yes they die, but they tend not to wipe themselves out on purpose :rolleyes:

    If we weren't stomping round the planet dicking it up in all our wonderful and various ways the animals wouldn't be in trouble to begin with. Of course it's man kinds duty to try and prevent the extinction of species. It's called responsibility, and it most definitely is ours.
  4. Demi-God (Moderator emeritus)


    And which animals are endangered not as a result of human activity?

    But to answer your question:
    Even in (hypothetical) cases where we are not to blame, it's still to our benefit to keep 'em around for research and enjoyment (and that fuzzy feeling you get whenever you do something good).

    Earth would be a pretty boring place if it was only inhabited by humans.
  5. macrumors regular


    Humans seem to effect almost everywhere on the planet in some way or other.

    As Bill said "We are a virus with shoes".
  6. macrumors 68030


    There's no such thing as nature anymore. We've affected so much of this planet that it's virtually impossible for a species to have not been touched by us in some way. Maybe we've never hunted nor destroyed the habitat of Species X, but we probably affected it's natural predator Species Y or it's natural prey Species Z. Each species we adversely affect sends a ripple through the entire food web, and we've affected thousands upon thousands of species. 40% of the world's known species are threatened with extinction thanks to our immense and far-reaching influence.

    The background rate of extinction should be about one species per year per million. It's fully 100 times that, minimum. We are committing biocide at a truly appalling rate, so you bet your human butt we're bloody well responsible for the protection of the species we haven't yet destroyed with habitat destruction, ecologically destructive agricultural (extinction is in no way limited to the animal kingdom), climate-change, and human influenced invasive species.
  7. macrumors demi-god


    Biodiversity is a Good Thing, that's why.
  8. macrumors 68040


    especially from a medical standpoint since one or the other species out there might hold a cure for a disease in it's genome
  9. macrumors 6502a

    I brought this up because I was watching this show where these people had set up this whole zoo-like place for this one endangered species (I think it was the white lion or something like that, maybe a white-tiger, I don't know) and they took them in and spent tens of thousands of dollars in keeping these animals alive and when one was having a baby they were getting right in there to try and help the baby being born and the tiger (or lion) was roaring at them and just wasnt happy with them (just a little peeved, if you will) and yet they were still trying to get right in there. Just let them be!!!!!

    Sorry for my poor language, I'm on my iPod and its hard.
  10. macrumors 68030


    That's what we should have been doing in the first place. It's far too late now to wash our hands of it.
  11. macrumors 65816


    Because tigers were hunted almost to the point of extintion by human beings, sometimes for amusement purposes, sometimes because they had became a threat after we invaded their natural territories...

    When they get a few of the last individuals of a species, biologists tend to put all their efforts towards reproduction. It's difficult enough to make animals mate in captivity, so they make sure the new-born is healthy.
  12. macrumors newbie

    As far as the white-cat birth effort, the folks have the money to exercise a freedom. In their own eyes, they're doing good in an effort to preserve a rare example of a species.

    Overall, we as humans have the responsibility to not waste: Doesn't matter if it's animal, vegetable or mineral. Whether or not we avoid that responsibility doesn't mean it doesn't exist. So, protect wildlife to the greatest extent feasible.

    Just don't expect perfection...

  13. macrumors 68030


    The ants have been slapping their foreheads and saying the same thing about us. :p
  14. macrumors 68020


  15. macrumors 68000

    Much Ado

    Give one example. One.

    (Dinosaurs do not count, obviously. ;))
  16. Ugg
    macrumors 68000


    The Giant Panda would be at the top of the list of animals that shouldn't be saved.

    It reproduces very slowly, it has no defense against predators, it only eats bamboo and is sort of stupid.

    However, since Pandas are cute millions upon millions of dollars are spent on them while rats, mice, prairie dogs and other animals that aren't cute and cuddly are relegated to the history books.

    Some animals occupy such a narrow niche that attempts to save them almost always fail. Others, like the buffalo, were hunted almost to extinction in order to starve native Americans into submission.

    Taking a blanket approach to the imminent extinction of animals is really stupid. Some are going to become extinct unless we're willing to exterminate half the human population. Since few people view that as a viable alternative, we have to make some hard choices.

    The other side of the fence is represented by invasive species, like the deer on the Farallon Islands. They are currently being shot in order to save other endangered species. The phenomenally misguided introduction of foreign species into the US during the 1800s has been catastrophic to many endemic species. Also, the zebra mussel has just been found in San Francisco Bay. Billions of dollars will be spent to control it as it can never be eliminated.

    There's no easy answer but relegating entire species to the dustbin simply because you don't feel we should "intervene" is incredibly naive.
  17. macrumors 68020


    Not only is it impossible to know how species would have evolved in our absence, but it is largely irrelevant. We are here. We were screwed the moment we evolved the capacity to understand and evaluate the consequences of our own actions. We gained enormous power to affect our environment, but lost the ability to play dumb about it. Action has consequences, but does inaction, and there's nobody but us to judge those consequences either way. Like it or not, what happens to Earth from here on out falls on our shoulders.

    The idea that we can prioritize "the good of the planet" above the good of our own species is folly, since any claim about what is "good for the planet" inescapably reflects the moral judgments of the only species on the planet capable of making moral judgments. Radical environmentalists who make glib statements about how much better off Earth would be without us fail to see the irony that their idea of "better off" is for the planet to maintain a state that certain homo sapiens judge to be proper -- the same creatures who would no longer be around to appreciate or benefit from those conditions. Romanticizing the idea of a world without humans is akin to a desire to return to the womb -- a desire to escape from the sometimes unbearable burden of choice and responsibility.

    No blanket conclusion is implied whether we should save every endangered animal, or, conversely, just let them go. It means that where we have the understanding and the power, the decision and the subsequent judgment are inescapably ours to make. To the OP's question, it is not that we are required to take responsibility; it is that we have responsibility whether we want it or not.
  18. SMM
    macrumors 65816


    The world governments do get involved with various wildlife programs, but the majority of the work, and funding, comes from private individuals, foundations and organizations focused on animal welfare. Most of the individuals involved are volunteers. So, animal protection and habitat restoration, are primarily a private venture.
  19. macrumors demi-god


    The pragmatic reason is because by and large it's in our best interests to keep all the other animals around. The food chain is a good thing to keep intact.

  20. macrumors 6502

    Eric Piercey


    yeah... the original question is pretty much the holy grail of our existence so its kinda hard to just toss out an answer that would even be read much less effect even a glimmer of learning in one resistant in the first place.

    I have to agree. We do have a responsibility to preserve and stabilize the ecosphere. The more aware we become, the more apparent the importance of harmonious coexistence. The more aware we become of the complex relationships... of the connectedness of everything. Consciousness has been around only a short time in geological time, an eyeblink.. and yet look at all we've done. It may not be an adaptive trait and in fact, I'd say it's looking less adaptive by the year. We are indeed a virus with shoes... but as significantly one that can also self reflect. Those who choose to ignore -as well those who perhaps cannot grasp [responsibility] should perhaps be treated as the virus, but then who makes such choices? They're being made, incidentally don't you worry about that. The elite have many plans but I digress. Compassion and brutality are an odd mix in one species... moreso in one organism. It would be preferable to come together as a species on these things, but "barriers" (political, economic, geological, racial, take your pick they're all equally meaningful in the grand scheme) bar such progress. That there could even be an ideology to supersede survival would seem contradictory, in fact a mockery of consciousness, but not all of us are equally aware. Shortsightedness is the primary symptom, the inability to comprehend far reaching causal connections of our actions.. but even worse are those of us who can and yet choose immediate self-interest over what is best. We repeat destructive behaviors. In essence, like the mentally challenged headbanger we bang our heads against bigger walls... again and again... and again. Blood drips down the walls, we even feel it.. but the pain makes us aware.. makes us feel more vital... even in our awareness. From the outside I'm sure it's very sad.

    When we should be fighting the hardest we lay amidst piles of fast food packaging, toxic fumes... praying our stocks don't falter and all the while weeping for the environment as we casually toss a wrapper out the window of our SUV. Consciousness is wrought irony and contradiction. Paths are much less clear the more there are.. and we're standing on a proverbial parking lot.

    Why should we fight for other species? Because ultimately in doing so we're fighting for all of us.. all species. There can be no greater purpose in conscious existence than to preserve and pave the way for life. The sooner we all realize the better. I'd apologize for rambling if I felt you had anything better to do than understand this, my skill in the attempt aside.
  21. macrumors 68000


    Because animals exist in ecosystems (key word system) and thus the loss of a small and relatively humble species has large effects throughout the environment. Such as that, while some species can falter and die out—something else can take it's place—there are other 'key' species that once lost tend to bring down the entire ecology.

    For instance, the loss of coral reefs could have dire consequences that would ultimately mean a major decline in the world's food supply as various fish species die off or are replaced with less desirable ones.

    Remember, a single animal doesn't matter, but the ecosystem does and it's very hard to distinguish between the two.
  22. macrumors 68020

    This is an important point. Even if you couldn't care less about the intrinsic value of animals, failure to consider how every species in an ecosystem is interconnected with one another by using and abusing land and resources for your own sake could potentially spell disaster. The Easter Island example you brought up in another thread portrays this strikingly. It's necessary to take steps towards ensuring biodiversity and to respect all species of life -- not just animals. Failure to do so will eventually doom us all.
  23. macrumors 68000


    I've run into this attitude before, and often it's generated by protecting something like the pygmy owl or the mud skink, name your unremarkable species. What value does one species have? Well, as much as any other, but you can't just consider one species over another (whether it's cute or majestic in some way) as if they were in separate little boxes. Protecting the mud skink's habitat also protects large predatory birds or deer or just the aquifer the local town drinks from. All these systems are interconnected and interdependent.

    Furthermore, we can see with the destruction of the wolves in the 19th century resulted in surprising problems in the 20th century, including the huge wildfires that scared the landscape and destroyed houses and human lives. This happened because of a decision to eliminate one species that many felt was a pest.
    You can similar movements towards the prairie dog, coyotes, and numerous other species. Often, we can't understand what will happen when a species disappears, but since the effects are unknown and chaotic I'd prefer that we just try to protect everything we can to the best of our abilities.

    And, of course, there's also the serious moral and even religious connections to being true stewards of the earth.
  24. macrumors 6502

    Eric Piercey

    My reply was under the assumption that we could or would all accept ecological imperatives as given, and was more geared toward the ethos of consciousness and responsibility in the prior post I had quoted. Yes for sure -observation of past mistakes paints a stark picture of the many serious and far reaching consequences in disrupting the natural ebb and flow of species extinction, read as: our causing of these extinctions. Those who refuse to acknowledge the observable/ repeatable premises that underly arguments such as these should be the focus of the conversation, not the premises themselves. The house is burning down and there's 1000 people with hoses standing there watching for various reasons. Arguing that the house is burning or over the cause of the fire is rather ridiculous.

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