Collaborations,  Press Release

Rewilding’ Leads To More Killing Of Animals

Rewilding’ Leads To More Killing Of Animals. Hello everyone, I hope you are well. In today’s post, I will be sharing a press release from Professor Andrew Linzey and Dr Clair Linzey, Directors of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, who will share that rewilding leads to more killing of animals. A challenge to the ethical basis of ‘rewilding’ or ‘reintroductions’ of formerly ‘native’ animals has been made by two animal ethicists. The evidence clearly shows that reintroductions can lead to killing even more animals.

Rewilding’ Leads To More Killing Of Animals

A challenge to the ethical basis of ‘rewilding’ or ‘reintroductions’ of formerly ‘native’ animals has been made by two animal ethicists.

Arguing that their forecasts have been proven correct, the Directors of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, Professor Andrew Linzey and Dr Clair Linzey, maintain that “it is ethically questionable to reintroduce species unless humans are now prepared to tolerate them … the question has to be asked: what good does it do to the released animals if one is only setting up new conflicts between the animals and humans whereby the animals will always be the losers?”

Commenting on the reintroduction of beavers into Scotland since 2009, “The beaver population has steadily increased, such that now NatureScot, the Scottish Government’s nature agency, says the beavers are causing ‘problems’ and ‘pose a risk of serious damage to farmland.’ Thus, despite beavers becoming a European Protected Species in 2019, by the summer of 2021, NatureScot issued licenses to kill beavers, and over 200 have reportedly been killed. This is one example of what we forecast would happen: the snaring, shooting, or poisoning of reintroduced species.”


The Directors continued: “The warnings we (and others) have given have simply not been heeded. The result is that scientists or “conservationists” now apparently have the right to introduce species when and where they think it may aid ‘biodiversity’ without moral censure or ethical debate.”

The key here is that “reintroductions must be subject to ethical scrutiny.” This scrutiny needs to involve a more significant consultation period to account for “likely ecological disruption,” include “a genuine and demonstrable tolerance toward reintroduced species to prevent the repetition of previous attempts at extermination,” and to ensure that the species will “not be reintroduced into environments where they will inevitably be subject to harm from human beings.”

The current approach to reintroducing species means, “Animals are now subject to a gigantic scientific experiment in their supposed best interests but which can only generate more conflict and kill in the long run.”

The whole argument appears in the recently published Spring of the Journal of Animal Ethics (“From the Editors: As We Forecast”, pp. v-vii).

I hope you enjoyed that.

Talk soon

About Author

Professor Andrew Linzey and Dr Clair Linzey are Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics directors. Previously published work includes Animal Ethics for Veterinarians (University of Illinois Press), Ethical Vegetarianism and Veganism (Routledge), The Ethical Case against Animal Experiments (University of Illinois Press), The Palgrave Handbook of Practical Animal Ethics (Palgrave Macmillan), and The Routledge Handbook of Religion and Animal Ethics (Routledge).

The Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics is an independent centre devoted to pioneering ethical perspectives on animals through research, teaching, and publication. See

The Journal of Animal Ethics is an international, multidisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal published by the University of Illinois Press. See

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  • Oli

    It’s important to consider the unintended consequences of conservation efforts like rewilding, as highlighted in your piece, and find ways to strike a balance that minimizes negative impacts on both animals and local communities.


    I think that scientists don’t necessarily look at every aspect of the issue, sometimes they can be a bit blinkered. Where it results in damage for example, it can then become an issue. If the example you gave had been thought through thoroughly they would have predicted an issue and not reintroduced the beavers which then had to be shot.

  • Luna S

    Interesting topic to cover, I really never thought past animals being taken care of then released and what it would then do to them and other animals/humans after the fact.

  • Beth

    We need to preserve more of the habitats of endangered species, protect the uniqueness of nature, and raise people’s awareness of considerate use of natural resources

  • Rosey

    I wondered how things would fare for the whale that so many protested to have released after being in captivity for so long. It’s awful to think of her captive in such a small space, but scary to wonder if she can fend for herself after so many years of being taken care of in a small space. This is what this post reminds me of…

  • May

    Oh wow, I had this thought that once the animals have been reintroduced to their natural habitats, everything’s fine and dandy. But this is an issue that needs some really good resolution.

  • Stephanie

    The fauna of an environment is so complicated. It is good to know we have experts who understand what rewilding can do to an ecosystem (I would have thought the opposite!).

    • Yonca

      When I see “animal” and “killing”” words in the same sentence having hard time to breath. Thanks for this informative post. Also, I’ll check out “Spring of the Journal of Animal Ethics,”

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