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Talking about Bushmeat

Talking about Bushmeat

Chapter:
(p.63) 4 Talking about Bushmeat
Source:
Ignoring Nature No More
Author(s):
Dale Peterson
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226925363.003.0004

Bushmeat commerce currently removes as much as five million metric tons of wild animal biomass per year from the Congo Basin ecosystem—an amount that is completely unsustainable. It also threatens the well-being and very existence of the three African great apes (gorillas, chimpanzees, and bonobos). This chapter argues for a “cultural conversation” about the problem and nature of bushmeat. It presents two ways of talking about bushmeat: by invoking human self-interest (such as protection from some serious public health threats) and by invoking human other-interest. The other-interest argument for protecting some species such as the great apes would identify a moral hierarchy based on either an evolutionary closeness to humans or a reasoned calculation of the animal's psychological presence, or both.

Keywords:   bushmeat industry, animal protection, animal conservation, wild animals, African great apes, self-interest, other-interest argument, conservation

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