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The ethics of rodent control

Meerburg, Dr Bastiaan G; Brom, Prof Frans W A and Kijlstra, Prof Aize (2008) The ethics of rodent control. Pest Management Science, 64 (12), pp. 1205-1211.

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Document available online at: http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/ps.1623


Because western societies generally see animals as objects of moral concern, demands have been made on the way they are treated, e.g. during animal experimentation. In the case of rodent pests, however, inhumane control methods are often applied. This inconsistency in the human-animal relationship requires clarification. This paper analyses the criteria that must be met when judging the use of animals during experiments, and investigates whether these can be applied in rodent control. This is important, because, until now, animal welfare has been less of an issue in pest control: effectiveness, hygiene and cost efficiency have been leading principles. Two options are available to solve the inconsistency: the first is to abandon the criteria used in animal experimentation; the second is to apply these criteria to both animal experimentation and rodent control. This latter option implies that rodent control methods should not lead to intense pain or discomfort, and any discomfort should have a short duration and should allow escaped rodents to lead a natural life. Adherence to this option will, however, require a shift in the design of rodent control methods: effectiveness will no longer be the leading principle. It will have to share its position with animal welfare and humaneness.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:animal welfare, ethics, pests, rodent control, rodents, traps, rodenticides
Subjects: Environmental aspects
Food systems > Food security, food quality and human health
Animal husbandry > Production systems
Animal husbandry > Health and welfare
Research affiliation: Netherlands > Wageningen University & Research (WUR) > Animal Sciences Group ASG
Netherlands > Wageningen University & Research (WUR) > Plant Research International PRI
Deposited By: Meerburg, Dr. B.G.
ID Code:14931
Deposited On:10 Nov 2008
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:38
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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