Ethical Obligations Toward Insect Pests

Ethics and the Environment 2 (1):5 - 23 (1997)
This paper examines the implications of considering the values and rights of insect pests in determining which insect control efforts to pursue. This consideration will depend on the scale of the control effort, that is, whether the control operates at the level of individual pest organisms, populations, or the entire pest species. I argue that an individual organism's rights cannot be taken into account in planning insect control, because of the practical impossibility of granting it anything but infinitesimal moral significance. However, in harming populations of insects, numbers become important and effects on local ecosystems should be considered. Given this, it still may be right to control or even eliminate a population if its negative value to humans is sufficiently high in relation to its ecological value. Eradication of a species involves irrevocable loss. I propose that species are unique individual entities (as opposed to abstract classes of organisms) and that our ethical obligations to insect pests lie in acknowledging the right of these species to continued, if controlled, existence. At this level, they must receive moral consideration in any actions taken.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,360
External links
  • Through your library Configure
    References found in this work BETA

    No references found.

    Citations of this work BETA

    No citations found.

    Similar books and articles
    A. Strand (2013). Group Agency, Responsibility, and Control. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 43 (2):201-224.

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index


    Total downloads

    2 ( #258,346 of 1,089,053 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)


    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature

    Start a new thread
    There  are no threads in this forum
    Nothing in this forum yet.