Compassionate collection involves a reorientation in the way we (the natural history museum community) relate to the animals we study. Considering where we are as a society — in this period of simultaneous biodiversity loss and technological growth — we can see that we do not need to sacrifice rigorous research to preserve animal lives (and vice versa). Rather, when we center compassion in museum science, we open the door to a more resilient, diverse, and innovative future for natural history museums.
What is compassionate collection in practice?
The idea of compassionate collection was partially inspired by the growing compassionate conservation movement. Here are just a few papers discussing this topic:
Wallach et al. 2018, "Summoning compassion to address the challenges of conservation" Conservation Biology
Ramp D, Bekoff M. 2015, "Compassion as a practical and evolved ethic for conservation." Bioscience
Wallach et al. 2020, "Recognizing animal personhood in compassionate conservation" Conservation Biology
Batavia et al. 2021, "Emotion as a source of moral understanding in conservation" Conservation Biology