Essay Example on Balancing Conservation and Animal Welfare: The Ethics of Elephant Culling

Published: 2023-11-07
Essay Example on Balancing Conservation and Animal Welfare: The Ethics of Elephant Culling
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Environment Animals
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1164 words
10 min read

Elephant culling is the seasonal, planned killing of elephants. The African elephant population is estimated to be above 1.3 Million (Tom 76). However, wildlife management departments consider that the available habitat can support half of the number optimally. Many African governments have realized that the surplus number of elephants can be minimized through culling. However, they have been criticized by animal welfare groups in developed countries such as the United States, Canada, and Britain. Animal welfare groups in Africa are not as strong as they are in developed countries. This paper argues that because elephants in parts but occupy the social, political, ecological, and economic environment, it is critical to consider how they affect the lives of people and the environment. Also, the paper states that it is not inherently immoral to cull elephants. However, culling should be done under some circumstances. For instance, when elephants threaten the sustenance of human beings, or when there is a need to conserve the environment. However, culling should be done in a way that does not inflict unnecessary pain on the elephants.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

Elephants are sentient beings capable of feeling pain and enjoyment. Just like human beings, animals also do not want to experience pain. Thus, human beings should not act in a manner that causes unnecessary pain to sentient elephants because it is immoral. The utilitarian principle asserts that all human beings have equal worth despite their color, race, sex, or nationality (Schmidtz 72). The utilitarian principle of equality does not depend on physical strength, moral capacity, or intelligence. Singer asserts that the principle of equal consideration governs how people should treat each other (Tom 77). Also, the principle should be extended to other non-human beings that can feel pain.

Many individuals and organizations have argued that animals have their rights. In developing countries, there are strong animal rights movements that look to the welfare of animals. Tom Reagan, a champion of animal rights, argues that animals have exclusive rights that human beings are expected to respect (Schmidtz 64). Reagan asserts that animals share many attributes with human beings. For instance, animals such as elephants have mental capacities and can experience emotions. Thus, animals have an inherent value that humans are supposed to respect. The respectful treatment of animals implies that they should not be invaded, killed, or restricted from enjoying their freedom (Tom 76). The rights of animals cannot be overlooked to protect the interests of other beings (Schmidtz 65). The rights of elephants should be upheld, and thus they should not be killed despite their consequences on others.

Human beings should not kill elephants unless under special circumstances such as self-defense. Human beings owe elephants the security of their lives that cannot be taken away without good reasons. The ethical treatment of elephants demands that they be given liberty because they have a clear inclination to live in a suitable habitat for their rights (Schmidtz 45). Since elephants are sentient agents, they have a right to live their lives in the best of their judgments regarding where to find shelter, food, and other necessities.

Bentham asserts that if animals can feel pain as humans do, then they should be subjected to the same moral law of equal consideration of interests as humans. Inflicting pain on a human being is morally wrong because of the suffering it causes (Schmidtz 55). Similarly, inflicting pain on an animal is immoral since it causes pain. As such, the principle of equal consideration states that human beings' conduct towards animals should be guided by their ability to feel pain and not what they are. Christian Hoff argues that an individual who exercises cruelty towards sentient creatures wrongs that creature.

The surplus elephant population is above the carrying capacity of their habitats. The excess elephant population harms people who live near their habitats, destroys crops and property, and even endangers human life. People have developed a negative perception of elephants because of their destructive nature. Moreover, in some national parks, elephants have been cited as the cause of the extinction of other animal species. For instance, in Zimbabwe, elephants have led to the destruction of rhino habitats leading to their decrease (Tom 78). It is logical and necessary to cull the excess elephant population to conserve the environment, other animal species, and the elephants themselves. Thus, it is essential to sacrifice some elephants to preserve their species.

Animal culling is immoral since it leads to animal suffering. Elephant culling is morally wrong because it is an act of undue cruelty. Elephant culling causes undue suffering to sentient beings; thus, humans have a moral obligation to avoid causing pain to the animals. Elephants are animals with complex social relations, and culling; some of them may disrupt these relations (Schmidtz 76). When other elephants are being killed, the surviving ones may develop stress.

The environment should be conserved from destruction by the elephants. It is the responsibility of human beings to protect the environment. When elephants threaten to destroy their habitat and other sentient creatures, it is not wrong to cull some of them (Tom 78). When elephants are allowed to destroy their habitats, a time will come when they starve to death due to a lack of food and other supplies. Thus, allowing elephants to destroy their habitats can potentially cause much suffering. As such, it is not wrong to cull some elephants to maintain balance in the habitats. The maintenance of the right carrying capacity will ensure that all sentient beings coexist well in the ecosystem.

Culling is justified and morally right if done to reduce the surplus number of elephants in the habitat. As such, culling is necessary to avoid the greater suffering of the elephants. Allowing elephants to increase above the number that can be supported in their habitat is morally wrong because it can cause indirect suffering to the animals (Schmidtz 88). The argument that people should avoid culling elephants to desist from inflicting pain on them because they are sentient creatures makes sense. However, the perception that it is always wrong to kill some elephants to reduce their population is not sustainable. As argued earlier, the surplus elephant population destroys their habitats and the surrounding communities’ livelihood.

People who take the extremist view that all elephant culling is immoral emphasize the sentience aspect over other considerations such as the welfare of human beings and the need to protect the habitats for the lives of other animals. However, elephant concerns should be regarded seriously. Additionally, elephants should not suffer unnecessarily during culling. Elephant culling in African national parks is thus necessary and justified provided that those who cull the animals ensure that they do not subject them to unnecessary suffering.

Works Cited

Schmidtz, David. "Environmental Ethics: What Really Matters, What Really Works, Oxford University Press, 2002.'t_Preserve/links/56253cf908ae4d9e5c4bb086/When-Preservationism-Doesnt-Preserve.pdf

Tom, Patrick. "The Debate over Elephant culling: Is it ever morally justified to cull Elephants?", 2002.

Cite this page

Essay Example on Balancing Conservation and Animal Welfare: The Ethics of Elephant Culling. (2023, Nov 07). Retrieved from

Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the SpeedyPaper website, please click below to request its removal:

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism