State University of New York Institute of Technology
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Ethics Blog 4

Oregon Wildlife Officials Ask if Saving One Species Justifies Killing Another

Feb 14th, 2011 • Posted in: News

Aggressive bird called barred owl is driving endangered spotted owls out of their habitat; Portland Oregonian reports that if proposal is approved, game officials will take to the woods with shotguns to kill more than a thousand of the hardier species


An unusual environmental ethics case is unfolding in Oregon, where officials are poised to shoot one type of owl in order to save another.

The Portland Oregonian reports that federal wildlife officials are working on a draft environmental impact statement that advocates shooting more than a thousand barred owls — an aggressive species that has driven the endangered spotted owl from its territory, imminently endangering the spotted owls’ existence.

The Oregonian report characterizes the debate as “wrenching” and notes that the prospect of killing one native animal to save another posed such a dilemma that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hired an ethicist to mentor the discussions.

Some critics believe the proposed solution simply won’t work, while others object to interfering in natural selection.

I think that this is a very interesting case. I normally would not agree with shooting an animal because it is killing another type because I believe in survival of the fittest. This is a different stroy though because one of the owls is endangered. I do not think that it will be as easy as it sounds to go out and find over 1000 owls and shoot them but I also think that is the only way that it can be done.


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