- A Statement of Principle
We support the basic Human Right to harvest wildlife resources provided that:
- Consistent standards of acceptable welfare are met, and,
- For uses other than pest control, the harvest is sustainable.
Human Right is an acknowledgement that our evolution has depended on the use of wildlife resources. To harvest such resources is a fundamental part of our biological psyche as hunter-gatherers, and is part of our cultural tradition.
Basic means a fundamental right, not a general right. Laws are used to control the times, places and manner in which this basic right can be exercised, but not to remove the basic right.
Harvest means to kill, gather, collect, bring into captivity, translocate.
Wildlife resources means all life forms, including all vertebrates, invertebrates, and plants. It includes sea fisheries, and forestry.
Consistent means that standards of welfare should be applied evenly across the spectrum of similar species guided by current research into pain and consciousness, not by prejudice.
Standards mean that welfare criteria should be identified as a means of assessing suffering on a quantifiable or on a comparative basis.
Acceptable means standards that are accepted by the majority as benchmarks when applied consistently across species.
Welfare means the suffering experienced by the organism and has no connection with the thoughts, emotions or intent of the person causing it.
For uses other than pest control means uses such as food, recreation or research. It includes the incidental harvesting of non-target organisms.
Pest control means depressing either the numbers or distribution of an unwanted species, before, during or after the damage has been caused, ideally to a level at which the damage becomes acceptable. It entails restricting a population or species, but not exterminating it.
Sustainable means that a similar harvest can be repeated indefinitely without reducing the source population. This implies that there is a ‘harvestable surplus’ that can be taken because it would die anyway due to natural limiting factors. Sustainable is used in its widest sense to include the habitat and resources on which the species depends, as well as any unintended impact on non-target organisms.