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Population dynamics and animal welfare issues raised by the culling of kangaroos in Puckapunyal

journal contribution
posted on 2006-10-01, 00:00 authored by Matthew ClarkeMatthew Clarke, Y K Ng
The culling of kangaroos at the Puckapunyal Army base (Australia) raises some intriguing ethical issues around animal welfare. After discussing the costs and benefits of the cull, this paper addresses the more general animal welfare issues related to population dynamics. Natural selection favours the maximization of the number of surviving offspring. This need not result in the maximization of the welfare of individuals in the species. The contrast between growth maximization and welfare maximization is first illustrated for a single population and then discussed in terms of competing populations. In the Lotka-Volterra model of competing species and its generalizations, the choice of different birthrates does not affect the population sizes at equilibrium. Welfare could be much higher at lower birthrates without even reducing numbers (at equilibrium)

History

Journal

Social choice and welfare

Volume

27

Issue

2

Pagination

407 - 422

Publisher

Springer-Verlag

Location

Dordrecht, Germany

ISSN

0176-1714

Language

eng

Notes

Published online: 29 April 2006

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

Springer-Verlag 2006

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