“From an animal-welfare perspective, confining cats and shooting the cat, in the Galveston example, is wrong,” says J. Baird Callicott, a philosophy professor at the University of North Texas. Callicott, a past president of the International Society for Environmental Ethics, taught one of the nation’s first environmental ethics courses in 1971. He went on to say, however, that “from an environmental-ethics perspective it’s right, because a whole species is at stake. Personally, I think environmental ethics should trump animal-welfare ethics. But just as personally, animal-welfare ethicists think the opposite.”
Out of curiosity, I boiled down the Jim Stevenson case and sent it to a few environmental-ethics professors. Most agreed with Callicott: Shoot the cat.
“You’re trading a feral cat, an exotic animal that doesn’t belong naturally on the landscape, against piping plovers, which evolved as natural fits in that environment,” reasons Holmes Rolston III, a Colorado State University professor who is considered one of the deans of American environmental philosophy. “And it trades an endangered species, piping plovers, against cats, which as a species are in no danger whatsoever. Suffering — the pain of the cat versus the pain of the plover eaten by the cat — is irrelevant in this case.”
Much more at the link. We previously discussed the Jim Stevenson case here.