By Marc Bekoff
We live in a troubled and wounded world in which humans continue to dominate and relentlessly kill numerous nonhuman animals (animals). Should we kill in the name of conservation? Individual animals are not disposable commodities.
A Texas hunting club recently auctioned off an endangered black rhino, purportedly to save other black rhinos and their homes in Namibia. The Dallas Safari Club says "Namibian wildlife officials will accompany the auction winner through Mangetti National Park where the hunt will occur, 'to ensure the correct type of animal is taken.'" This is not a very comforting thought. This sale, in which an animal is objectified and treated like a disposable commodity, raises many questions about how humans try to save other species.
Marc Bekoff, emeritus professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder, is one of the world's pioneering cognitive ethologists, a Guggenheim Fellow, and co-founder with Jane Goodall of Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Bekoff's latest book is Why Dogs Hump and Bees Get Depressed (New World Library, 2013). This essay is adapted from one that appeared in Bekoff's column Animal Emotions in Psychology Today.