The ethical dimensions of wildlife disease management in an evolutionary context
Article first published online: 24 JUN 2014
© 2014 The Authors. Evolutionary Applications published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Special Issue: Evolutionary perspectives on wildlife disease: concepts and applications
Volume 7, Issue 7, pages 788–798, August 2014
How to Cite
Crozier, G.K.D. and Schulte-Hostedde, A. I. (2014), The ethical dimensions of wildlife disease management in an evolutionary context. Evolutionary Applications, 7: 788–798. doi: 10.1111/eva.12171
- Issue published online: 27 AUG 2014
- Article first published online: 24 JUN 2014
- Manuscript Accepted: 30 APR 2014
- Manuscript Received: 12 MAR 2014
- decision tree;
Best practices in wildlife disease management require robust evolutionary ecological research (EER). This means not only basing management decisions on evolutionarily sound reasoning, but also conducting management in a way that actively contributes to the on-going development of that research. Because good management requires good science, and good science is ‘good’ science (i.e., effective science is often science conducted ethically), good management therefore also requires practices that accord with sound ethical reasoning. To that end, we propose a two-part framework to assist decision makers to identify ethical pitfalls of wildlife disease management. The first part consists of six values – freedom, fairness, well-being, replacement, reduction, and refinement; these values, developed for the ethical evaluation of EER practices, are also well suited for evaluating the ethics of wildlife disease management. The second part consists of a decision tree to help identify the ethically salient dimensions of wildlife disease management and to guide managers toward ethically responsible practices in complex situations. While ethical reasoning cannot be used to deduce from first principles what practices should be undertaken in every given set of circumstances, it can establish parameters that bound what sorts of practices will be acceptable or unacceptable in certain types of scenarios.