Dog culls for leishmaniasis: How many dog lives is one human life worth?
How much is a dog’s life worth? Less than a human life, obviously, but how much less? Would you kill 1,000 dogs to save one human? A million dogs? Perhaps you’re an absolutist, and you’d sacrifice every dog in the world to save one person. But what if you weren’t sure how many people you’d save? How many dogs would you euthanize for a 10 percent chance of saving one human?
This sounds like chatter at an exceptionally morbid cocktail party, but it’s not the slightest bit hypothetical. For the past 20 years, public health experts in parts of Asia, Africa, South America, and Europe have debated the ethics and efficacy of large-scale dog culling to prevent transmission of a deadly human disease.