Celebrating predation and making fun of the agony of animals in nature

In a previous post, I presented an article by ethicist Jeff McMahan on the issue of natural harms and predation. In it, McMahan argued that the fact that nonhuman animals suffer and die in nature is a very important issue that deserves our attention. I agree.

Most people’s attitude towards natural evils, and in particular predation, is a rather simplistic one. In fact, most people tend to see these evils as something good. In this post, I want to present an example of this attitude. It’s something we can see very clearly in this loathsome video:

This ghastly attitude of celebration of predation and other natural processes which means death and suffering for animals is at odds with the moral consideration of their interests.

There is a widespread view of nature as a pristine idyllic place in which animals live in paradisiacal conditions. This, unfortunately, is wrong. The scene this video shows is everyday life in nature.

We should definitely go beyond the disgusting attitude of celebration of animal suffering and death in nature displayed in this video. In order to do that, we should start by acknowledging that animals suffer terribly and die in many different ways in nature. There is no reason to keep this fact hidden. It is something we should be able to consider. Insofar as we are concerned with the interests of sentient beings, we should not dismiss this issue.

In fact, we should be able to change our view of natural processes and our attitude toward it. I really think that this is an issue we should think about.

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6 comentarios sobre “Celebrating predation and making fun of the agony of animals in nature

  1. Siendo éste un blog bilingüe seguro que se podrían traducir las notas en inglés para que todos los hispanohablantes puedan leerlas también y mantener un debate en el idioma que nos sea más accesible. Lo digo como simple sugerencia.

    Por otra parte, según veo en el texto me parece que se está intentando caricaturizar y demonizar cualquier postura que no esté de acuerdo con la idea utilitarista de intervenir en la naturaleza a fin de destruirla, con la excusa de que hay sufrimiento en ella.

    Por eso me gustaría añadir que quienes no estamos de acuerdo con esa iniciativa nos puede resultar igual de repulsiva el hecho de que exista la depredación. Pero el que algo nos resulte repulsivo no es un argumento válido en contra de ello, a no ser que asumamos la ingenua teoría del emotivismo moral, que afirma que toda moralidad es simplemente expresión de emociones.

    Quienes no estamos de acuerdo con la idea de intervenir en las vidas de los animales no humanos libres no somos gente que “celebra” el sufrimiento y la muerte, sino que piensa que la responsabilidad moral y que el sentido de nuestras vidas no puede ni debe ser vivir dedicados por obligación a las necesidades de los demás.

    Me gustaría repetir la habitual petición de que alguien me aporte un solo argumento para justificar moralmente que nos hagamos cargo de las vidas de los demás animales de las que no somos responsables.

    También lamento que se preste atención a este tema teniendo en cuenta el contexto en el que vivimos, en donde nuestra propia sociedad utiliza y asesina billones de animales de manera cotidiana y no tiene nada que envidiar a esa naturaleza que tanto repudian los que odian el sufrimiento.

  2. Hi / Hola.

    Luis, dices: “Siendo éste un blog bilingüe seguro que se podrían traducir las notas en inglés para que todos los hispanohablantes puedan leerlas también y mantener un debate en el idioma que nos sea más accesible”. Ya he subido otras entradas relacionadas a esto en castellano, en las que has comentado. Escribo muchas entradas en castellano, pero creo que también es interesante debatir con quienes no dominan este idioma, cuando un hilo es en inglés lo más considerado es comentar en ese idioma. De modo que lo que yo creo que es que tú podrías haber traducido tu comentario al inglés, aunque sea con google traductor, para que lo entiendan las personas que leerán esta entrada en inglés.

    For the rest, this post doesn’t actually tackles the idea that we should intervene in nature. It’s about the view that natural process are something good, or even great. It opposes this idea and claims that we should reflect on this.

    The people in this gruesome video ARE celebrating natural processes, with all the suffering and death that entails. It’s obvious that they are. so I’m not distorting reality by presenting this.

    Luis, you mentioned that the idea that we should help animals living in nature is utilitarian. That’s absolutely not the case. You may be a care ethicist according to which you should develop an attitude of pro-active compassion for those who are being harmed, for whatever reason. You may be a virtue ethicist according to which, if something is bad and we may have a good alternative for it which we can implement, we should do it. You may be an egalitarian and think that if we may reduce the harms that those who are worse off are suffering. The same would happen if you’re a prioritarian or a sufficientarian in ethics. You may assume a deontological view according to which we not only have negative duties, but also positive ones towards others.

    So there are plenty views, each of which is supported by its own set of arguments, according to which helping animals in nature would be something to be prescribed if it were feasible without doing more harm. If you accept any of those views, this idea follows. You may assume we just have negative duties towards others. But that’s certainly not the obvious “default” position, in fact it’s the other way around. Very few people are prepared to accept that.

    Thanks!

  3. Even if we were to conclude, for some reason, that we should not intervene in nature against predation and wild animal suffering in general, the fact that so many humans actually rejoice in these violent realities, celebrate them and view them as an unmitigated good would remain strange and noteworthy in itself.

    It’s important to point out how monstrous this attitude is. People regularly turn themselves into psychopaths regarding nonhuman animals.

    You may believe you have rational arguments against intervening in nature, but you certainly have no rational arguments for turning yourself into a psychopath. There is no justification for it.

    If you believe that we shouldn’t intervene in nature, it would be healthy test of your beliefs to try to break out of that psychopathological shell that shields you from grasping that natural suffering is indeed suffering. You should evaluate your arguments against intervention in nature against that backdrop. Perhaps they will then seem a little bit less convincing.

    David

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