Invasion biology and its discontents: Human supremacy, language, and animal treatment

Kopnina, Helen and Coghlan, Simon (2022) Invasion biology and its discontents: Human supremacy, language, and animal treatment. Visions for Sustainability, 2022 (17). p. 6512. ISSN 2384-8677

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Invasion biology is increasingly facing criticism, including for its moral attitudes towards “invasive alien species.” In this paper, we argue that invasion biology relies upon ethical assumptions of human supremacy that are reflected in and reinforced by language used to categorize introduced animals in morally problematic ways. We discuss how denigratory scientific, official, and widely used terms such as “invasive,” “alien,” “pest,” and “feral” interact with the dubious treatment of animals, and we examine several aspects of how the demonizing meaning of these terms are shaped. The shaping factors we focus on are the differential treatment of “invasives” versus humans and other ecologically damaging animals, namely animals in agriculture, and the stock and performative treatment of animals labelled “invasive aliens.” We propose that such language should be essentially removed from biological and conservation sciences and consigned to history’s dustbin. In-deed, invasion biologists should come together to find a new name for their discipline—or rather, for the discipline “invasion biology” might become when it jettisons its assumptions of human supremacy.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: alien species, conservation, demonization, ecology, ethics, human supremacy, invasion biology
Subjects: F900 Others in Physical Sciences
Department: Faculties > Business and Law > Newcastle Business School
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 20 May 2022 10:42
Last Modified: 20 May 2022 10:45

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