TIERethik - Zeitschrift zur Mensch-Tier-Beziehung


Managing “invasive” species – a critical analysis from a biological and legal perspective
Katerina Stoykova & Gabriela Gschwend

In accordance with the principles of the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), managing invasive species is of central importance for the protection of humans, animals, and the environment (in the form of national species conservation). However, a closer examination of the criteria for classifying non-native species as invasive and non-invasive suggests a speciesist approach, whereby anthropocentric interests are of high priority, and the interests of individuals of animal species classified as invasive are not given adequate consideration. Particularly with regard to the constitutional and legal protection of animal dignity and its scope, it is highly questionable not only from an ethical but also from a legal point of view whether the killing of animals classified as invasive non-native species, as is frequently being done today, is in fact justified. Although Swiss animal welfare law does not guarantee animals a general protection of life, the concept of dignity protection would clearly dictate such protection. Consequently, culling measures and the objectives pursued thereby would have to be subjected to an impartial proportionality test taking due account of the interests of the animals concerned, thus responding to the ever growing social demand for more progressive animal welfare and a more consistent implementation of the concept of dignity protection.


Keywords: invasive species, species conservation, speciesism, animal protection, animal dignity