Wildlife law and concepts of animal welfare evolved at different times, for different reasons and along different pathways. Few treaty systems broach wildlife welfare, while at the national level, regimes cover a plethora of wildlife law and animal welfare issues, yet the two systems remain largely disengaged. Early welfare laws predominantly applied to domesticated animals, initiating a disconnect that became entrenched by management practices that classified animals in a useful/harmful dichotomy. Wildlife was thus seen as the problem, with little acknowledgement that many human–wildlife conflicts are, in reality, conflicts among humans and their differing uses of wildlife. It was also rare that balancing conflicts involved significant consideration of animal welfare. Using examples from Australian wildlife law, focusing on New South Wales, the chapter evaluates the relationship between policy, legislation and the lack of weight given to animal welfare in wildlife management. Deficiencies that are evident at both national and international levels suggest that an international solution would be appropriate. While proposals in the literature include expanding the purview of existing treaty systems and establishing a new international organization for animal welfare, the emerging concept of compassionate conservation shows the most promise for integrating animal well-being into wildlife regimes.
Humanity's land management practices reconstruct nature by destroying and degrading habitats, species and ecosystems, and creating environmental imbalance. The latter can manifest in overabundant or invasive species, imposing a welfare burden on unwanted animals when they are targeted for eradication and control. Such approaches not only overlook animal wellbeing, but also ignore the role that humans have played in species’ classifications. As societies grapple to manage the unstable environments they have created, they have also started to realize that standards set by paradigms, such as sustainable development, do not sufficiently engage with the efficacy or ethics of existing practices. This article argues that a synthesis of law and science, drawn respectively from emerging paradigms, such as the Great Law of Earth jurisprudence and principles of compassionate conservation, can help guide environmental regimes towards more effective and ethical outcomes. From a legal perspective, the Great Law subordinates human law to a metaphorical nature's voice, while from a scientific perspective the scientific underpinnings of compassionate conservation identify that voice. Although compassionate conservation injects empathy into the decision-making processes, it is a form of empathy based on science that commences from the stipulation that regulators should first do no harm. It is a call that is specifically relevant to invasive species, where current regulation is based on harming certain species, while simultaneously overlooking environmental threats generated by humans. By using science to identify nature's voice, and law to listen to that voice, regulators can start to design regimes that work with nature, rather than trying to reconstruct and dominate it.
Ed Couzens, Alexander Paterson and Sophie Riley
This chapter begins with an explanation of the various threats facing, first, marine biodiversity and, second, biodiversity in forests. Both suffer from numerous threats and from the increased cumulative impact of these threats. The chapter then considers the legal framework for governance of marine biodiversity, explaining that there have been four major documents or instruments which have driven this legal development more than have any others: Huig de Groot’s pamphlet Mare Liberum, published in 1609; the judgment in 1898 of the arbitral tribunal in the Bering Sea Fur Seals Arbitration; the Proclamation by US President Truman in 1945 of a ‘Policy with Respect to Coastal Fisheries in Certain Areas of the High Seas’; and finally the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) (adopted 1982, entered into force 1994). A fifth may soon be adopted – if current efforts toward a global convention on the protection of biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction are successful. In addition to these, there are hundreds of relevant international instruments, of global, regional and bilateral scope. In contrast, it is explained, there is little international regulation of forests, with many of the most relevant instruments being of a non-binding nature, such as the Forest Principles of 1992. In the face of this absence of regulatory instruments, recourse must be had to instruments of a more general nature. In conclusion, similarities and differences are highlighted between the regulatory regimes for forests and the marine environment, and it is noted that while one is arguably over-, and the other under-, regulated, neither is having the desired effect, and biodiversity is declining in both. That neither approach is working effectively is instructive, and a topic worth further study.