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breeding like rabbits?

Most critics of compassionate biology assume that any proposal to help free-living nonhuman animals is ecologically illiterate. Don't ivory-tower philosophers understand the thermodynamics of a food chain? Feed a lot of starving herbivores in winter, for example, and the outcome will be a population explosion next spring followed by ecological collapse. The upshot? More misery.

However, recall that exactly the same predictions of immiseration and "inevitable" Malthusian catastrophe were made last century to argue against helping famine-stricken members of other ethnic groups in e.g. sub-Saharan Africa. The solution is combining emergency famine-relief with help with long-term family planning. Non-human animals can't use contraception on their own initiative. But intelligent human-directed use of gene drives, cross-species immunocontraception, and other tools of fertility regulation can regulate ecologically sustainable population sizes as a compassionate alternative to famine, disease, parasitism and predation. The exponential growth of computational resources harnessed to mastery of our genetic source code promises a world where all sentient beings can flourish.


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