Justifying an Intentional Species Extinction: The Case of Anopheles gambiae

D. E. Callies and Y. Rohwer,  Environmental Values,  31:193-210. 2022.

Each year, over 200 million people are infected with the malaria parasite, nearly half a million of whom succumb to the disease. Emerging genetic technologies could, in theory, eliminate the burden of malaria throughout the world by intentionally eradicating the mosquitoes that transmit the disease. In this paper, we offer an ethical examination of the intentional eradication of Anopheles gambiae, the main malaria vector of sub-Saharan Africa. In our evaluation, we focus on two main considerations: the benefit of alleviating the malaria burden, and the loss of value that would accompany the eradication of the species. We outline a typology of the different ways in which species are valued or could be valuable, then use that typology to appraise the value of the species in question. We argue that Anopheles gambiae has minor (and redundant) instrumental value, little final subjective value and no objective final value.


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