In recent discussions of the moral value of wild ecosystems it has been claimed that wild ecosystems contain more suffering than positive wellbeing, and therefore that wild ecosystems are overall morally bad for animals. This papers critically assesses this argument. Despite its popularity, I find that this argument is defective, as it rests on unexamined empirical assumptions about the quality of certain animals’ lives. Moreover, I argue that even if we grant these assumptions, the conclusion does not follow unless we make further controversial assumptions about how moral claims are aggregated across different animals. As a result, there is no particular reason to accept the idea that wild ecosystems are morally bad for animals.

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