Dormouse insists that shooting foxes to protect sheep raises ethical issues that are indefensible. I disagree so I have tried to put together a moral justification for fox control.
|The case for mink control is even stronger, they destroy native wildlife.|
Foxes impact on the interests of Crofters and their sheep. Shooting is obviously against the interest of foxes and a class of people who consider it cruel and unnecessary. So any ethical consideration of fox control by shooting must take into account the interests of both animals and people.
Fox control is only morally justified if all the harms (negative impacts) on people and animals (mainly foxes) are weighed against all of the benefits to people and animals (mainly sheep) and the benefits of control outweigh the harms in other words if fox control provides the greatest good for the greatest number. Further, the most humane method of killing foxes must be used and shooting is, in my experience more humane than trapping and killing by hounds.
The Crofter’s interest is economic (loss of income) and moral (an interest in sheep welfare). Foxes have an interest in continuing to be foxes and to do what foxes do free of pain and suffering.
There are more Crofters and sheep with economic and a welfare interests than there are foxes with an interest in being foxes and people who might be upset by the idea of fox control. Ergo shooting foxes to protect sheep is morally justifiable.
My prediction is that Dormouse will say that moral philosophers are rascals; I am fudging the issue and not giving enough weight to the interests of those people who are against. You might have an opinion too.