Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Endangered Species

Question: Does God want man to save an endangered species from extinction?

I don't see any Halachic imperative here. The way I see it – the survival of any species is up to nature. If the species can survive extant conditions it will. And then reproduce into the future. If not it will eventually become extinct.

To the extent that man has any part in the extinction of any species is irrelevant in my view. Man’s job is to perpetuate its own species. To that end we should do what's necessary to constantly improve our own chances for survival by increasing our possibilities for reproduction. If by doing that another species becomes extinct, that is simply nature taking its course.

Those who claim that we have some sort of moral imperative to make sure that other species survive because of some sort of ecological disaster or at least an imbalance in nature that would result, need to prove their case. In my view they have yet to do that convincingly. Since animals that once existed in great numbers and are now extinct it proves such thinking to be pure nonsense.

That said, I don't think we shouldn't try to preserve an endangered species if possible, but not at the expense of man’s own welfare.

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