Nature and Ethics

I’m thinking about ethics at the moment. Today, something happened in my backyard that made me ponder the rightness of not doing something, that perhaps I should have done something about.

The ‘something’ was Lah Dee, our male Pharaoh Hound, grabbing a crested pigeon, killing it and then eating it. I know it’s perfectly natural for dogs, particularly hunting breeds, to catch and eat other creatures. If the bird had been a sparrow or starling, I wouldn’t have thought about it much at all, probably.

But crested pigeons are a native species of bird, and I like having native birds on our garden. Of course, the birds deserve to live their lives unmolested. Or do they? Do our dogs, who are fed daily and are certainly not hungry as such, deserve to be allowed to indulge in following their instinct to hunt? Lah Dee had eaten his dinner not long before he caught the bird, so he wouldn’t have still been hungry.

I’m still thinking about this, and I feel the need for input from other people on this one. Would it have been the most ethical thing for me to interfere and set the crested pigeon free? Or is it more ethical to simply let Nature take its course. 

I need feedback!



No, our dogs are definitely omnivores! Most people would say dogs are meat eaters predominately, and that may be so if they’re living in the wild. Although, having written that, I’m aware that dogs in the wild eat most of a east, including its stomach and contents, so there’d be some vegetation there.

I’m not talking about dogs in the wild though, I’m talking about the dogs that form part of our family. We have four dogs now, one Schnauzer and three Pharaoh Hounds. All of the dogs get excited when someone is in the kitchen, chopping up vegetables for our dinner.

They know that it Graham is the one doing the chopping, they’ll get lots of vegetable bits. If I’m the one doing the chopping the dogs hope they’ll get some. It’s probably an even money bet for them… Mushrooms are the dog’s favourite veggie snack, but they like most of them, carrots, capsicum, potatoes, sweet potatoes and spinach.

Our dogs also eat dry dog food, and sometimes get lucky and get a little raw meat. The dog food contains grain, and other additives, including vegetables too. So, overall, our dogs, and quite possibly lots of pet dogs eat a diet that is more like a human diet, than a wolf or wild dog’s diet.

It’s hard to know if this is best for dogs, but certainly domestic dogs often live long and healthy lives, so living with humans, in Western society, probably has been good for dogs, in terms of length of life. In terms of overall health too – with pet insurance, and disposable income of certainly Australian dog owners, dogs usuall receive good veterinary care (and yummy veggies)!

If you have thoughts about this, I’d love to read your comments!