About this topic
Summary

Broadly construed, animal ethics is an area of inquiry and debate that focuses on a variety of approaches to assessing the moral status of nonhuman animals. One of the main approaches in contemporary scholarship is deontological and argues for strict rights for animals on the grounds that they are subjects-of-a-life (Tom Regan) and thus possess inherent worth; such views often seek to expand Kant's ascription of inherent worth to rational agents so that it applies to all sentient beings. Other views, including those of some secular naturalists, seek to ascribe moral status to animals not on the basis of inherent worth but on the basis of capacities shared by all sentient beings. Another main approach encompasses a variety of views that tend to be "welfarist" in the sense that they do not seek to ascribe strict right to animals but instead argue that certain actions performed against animals (such as killing them or using them as sources of milk or eggs) are permissible as long as human beings perform them in a humane manner. Welfarist views are generally utilitarian in character, being based on calculations of the quantity of harm that can be done to a given living being, and they tend to assert hierarchies in which beings that are cognitively more sophisticated can be harmed in ways in which beings that are cognitively less sophisticated cannot; on the basis of such hierarchization, welfarist views typically ascribe moral superiority to human beings over nonhuman animals, although they also tend to avoid a speciesistic privileging of all human beings over all nonhuman animals on the grounds that some nonhuman animals are cognitively superior to some human beings. Thus thinkers such as Peter Singer argue that self-conscious beings have a stronger claim to life than non-self-conscious beings, where self-conscious beings are defined as those that can conceptualize the past, present, and future of their lives as one coherent whole. (Summary written by Gary Steiner and Erwin Lengauer)

Key works

Armstrong, Susan /  Botzler, Richard (ed.) ²2008. The Animal Ethics Reader - (AER). 2nd Edition. London; New York, NY, Routledge. 

Beauchamp, Tom L. / Frey, Raymond G. (eds.) 2011. The Oxford Handbook of Animal Ethics. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Bekoff, Marc (ed.) 2010. Encyclopedia of Animal Rights and Animal Welfare. 2 Volume Set. Santa Barbara, CA, Greenwood Press, Imprint of ABC - Clio. 

Cavalieri, Paola 2001. The Animal Question: Why Non-Human Animals Deserve Human Rights. Oxford, Oxford University Press. 

Chapouthier, Georges (ed.) 1998. The Universal Declaration of Animal Rights: Comments and Intentions. Paris, Ligue Francaise des Droit de l´Animal.

DeGrazia, David (1996). Taking Animals Seriously. Mental Life and Moral Status. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Dombrowski, Daniel A. 1997. Babies and Beasts: The Argument from Marginal Cases. Urbana, IL, University of Illinois Press.

Francione, Gary  2008. Animals as Persons: Essays on the Abolition of Animal Exploitation. New York, NY, Columbia University Press.

Garner, Robert 2005. The Political Theory of Animal Rights (Perspectives on Democratization). Manchester, Manchester University Press.

Kalof, Linda / Fitzgerald, Amy (eds.). 2007. The Animals Reader: The Essential Classic and Contemporary Writings. Oxford, Berg.  

Munro, Lyle 2005. Confronting Cruelty. Moral Orthodoxy and the Challenge of the Animal Rights Movement. Human-Animal Studies.  (Dissertation). Leiden, Brill Academic.     

Palmer, Clare (ed.) 2008. Animal Rights. Clare Palmer. Series: The International Library of Essays on Rights. Aldershot, GB, Ashgate Publishing Company.

Pluhar, Evelyn 1995. Beyond Prejudice. The Moral Significance of Human and Nonhuman Animals. Durham, NC, Duke University Press.

Regan, Tom 1983. The Case for Animal Rights. Berkeley, CA, University of California Press.

Rollin, Bernard  ²1992. Animal Rights and Human Morality. Amherst, Prometheus.

Rowlands, Mark ²2009. Animal Rights. Moral Theory and Practice. London, Macmillan Press.

Sapontzis, Steve F. 1987, ²1992. Morals, Reason and Animals. Philadelphia, PA, Temple University Press.

Singer, Peter 1975, ²1990. Animal Liberation. A New Ethics for our Treatment of Animals. New York, NY, New York Review of Book.

Singer, Peter (ed.) 2006. In Defense of Animals. The Second Wave. Malden, Blackwell.

Steiner, Gary 2008. Animals and the Moral Community: Mental Life, Moral Status, and Kinship. New York, NY, Columbia University Press.

Steiner, Gary. 2013. Animals and the Limits of Postmodernism. New York: Columbia University Press.

Introductions Regan, Tom 2001. Animals, treatment of. In: Becker, Lawrence (ed.). Encyclopedia of Ethics. New York, Routledge: 70-74 (on page 72 about Inherentism)

Regan, Tom ³2004. Animal Welfare and Rights. In:  Post, Stephen (ed.). Encyclopedia of Bioethics. 3. edition. New York, NY, Macmillan. E-Book Version

Wilson, Scott 2010. Animals and Ethics In: Fieser, James (ed.). Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Martin, TN, The University of Tennessee at Martin. –

Wise, Steve M. 2011. animal rights. Encyclopaedia Britannica: Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/25760/animal-rights 

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  1. George Abbe (1989). Christ, The Animist. Between the Species 5 (3):15.
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  2. George Abbe (1989). Operation Mercy: The Parable of the Computer. Between the Species 5 (1):10.
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  3. George Abbe (1989). The Meat. Between the Species 5 (4):12.
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  4. George Abbe (1988). A Creature Like A Chorus. Between the Species 4 (1):9.
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  5. George Abbe (1988). The Actual Evolution. Between the Species 4 (4):12.
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  6. George Abbe (1988). The Horses of Retribution. Between the Species 4 (4):14.
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  7. George Abbe (1988). The Owl. Between the Species 4 (3):6.
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  8. George Abbe (1988). The Unfailing. Between the Species 4 (2):12.
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  9. George Abbe (1987). Conversation With A Cricket. Between the Species 3 (4):10.
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  10. George Abbe (1986). Negavit. Between the Species 2 (1):13.
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  11. George Abbe (1985). Affinity. Between the Species 1 (1):214.
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  12. George Abbe (1985). Matrix: A Vision. Between the Species 1 (2):12.
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  13. George Abbe (1985). Negavit: A Short Novel. Between the Species 1 (3):13.
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  14. George Abbe (1985). Person Earth. Between the Species 1 (1):218.
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  15. George Abbe (1985). Reincarnation. Between the Species 1 (2):15.
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  16. George Abbet, Steven F. Sapontzis & Jobn Stockwell (1993). Coniributing Editors. Between the Species 9 (1).
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  17. George Abbet, Steven F. Sapontzis & John Stockwell (1992). Contribuitng Editors. Between the Species 8 (2).
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  18. George Abbet, Steven F. Sapontzis, John Stockwell, George P. Cave, Stephen Clark, Michael J. Cohen, Michael W. Fox, Ann Cottrell Free, Richard Grossinger & Judith Hampson (1992). Graphics Advisors. Between the Species 8 (3).
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  19. Carol Adams (1991). Abortion Rights and Animal Rights'. Between the Species 7 (4):181-189.
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  20. Carol J. Adams (1991). Ecofeminism and the Eating of Animals. Hypatia 6 (1):125 - 145.
    In this essay, I will argue that contemporary ecofeminist discourse, while potentially adequate to deal with the issue of animals, is now inadequate because it fails to give consistent conceptual place to the domination of animals as a significant aspect of the domination of nature. I will examine six answers ecofeminists could give for not including animals explicitly in ecofeminist analyses and show how a persistent patriarchal ideology regarding animals as instruments has kept the experience of animals from being fully (...)
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  21. Graphics Advisors (1992). Help Between the Species Grow by Urging Your Local College Library to Subscribe. Between the Species 8 (1).
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  22. William Aiken (1986). A Commentary On Nelson's" Xenograft and Partial Affections". Between the Species 2 (3):10.
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  23. Colin Allen (2012). Ethics, Law, and the Science of Fish Welfare. Between the Species 16 (1):7.
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  24. David G. Allen & Rebecca Halligan (2013). Letter to the Editor: The Function of Animal Ethics Committee. Between the Species 16 (1):1.
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  25. Kristin Andrews, Ape Autonomy? Social Norms and Moral Agency in Other Species.
    Once upon a time, not too long ago, the question about apes and ethics had to do with moral standing—do apes have interests or rights that humans ought to respect? Given the fifty years of research on great ape cognition, life history, social organization, and behavior, the answer to that question seems obvious. Apes have emotions and projects, they can be harmed, and they have important social relationships.
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  26. L. Ann (2012). Does Lack of Enrichment Invalidate Scientific Data Obtained From Rodents by Compromising Their Welfare? Between the Species 15 (1):2.
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  27. Phillip C. Arena, Clifford Warwick & Catrina Steedman (2014). Welfare and Environmental Implications of Farmed Sea Turtles. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 27 (2):309-330.
    Various captivity-related health problems have been described as arising in the farming of sea turtles at the Cayman Turtle Farm (CTF). Our study included a desktop review of turtle farming, direct onsite inspection at the CTF, assessment of visual materials and reports provided by investigators from the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), and a limited analysis of water quality for potential pathogens. In particular, we assessed physical and behavioural condition of animals for signs of stress, injury and (...)
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  28. Susan J. Armstrong (1992). In Praise of Pigs. Between the Species 8 (1):8.
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  29. B. Arneil (2010). Animals and Interdependence: Reply to Dolgert. Political Theory 38 (6):866-869.
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  30. Sue Arnold (1988). Sermon. Between the Species 4 (3):14.
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  31. Kristin Aronson (1986). Sometimes My Shadow. Between the Species 2 (3):4.
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  32. Bernard J. Baars (2001). There Are No Known Differences in Brain Mechanisms of Consciousness Between Humans and Other Mammals. Animal Welfare Supplement 10:31- 40.
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  33. Christiane Bailey (2007). La vie végétative des animaux : la destruction heideggérienne de l'animalité. Phaenex 2 (2):81-123.
    La déconstruction heideggérienne de l’animalité qui a lieu dans les Concepts fondamentaux de la métaphysique va jusqu’à faire disparaître l’idée même d’une vie animale , d’une vie propre aux animaux. La vie, comme le disait déjà Heidegger dans Être et temps , est « un mode d’être propre », ce qui veut dire, comme le confirmera le cours de 1929-1930, que la vie est « le mode d’être de l’animal et de la plante ». D’emblée conçus comme « organismes », (...)
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  34. Will Baker (1985). Three Monkeys. I Am Father. Between the Species 1 (2):8.
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  35. Kent Baldner (2004). My Life as a Dog. Between the Species 13 (4):1.
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  36. Judith Barad (1989). Hartshorne and the Metaphysics of Animal Rights. Between the Species 5 (3):11.
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  37. Judith Barad (1988). Aquinas' Inconsistency on the Nature and the Treatment of Animals. Between the Species 4 (2):7.
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  38. Judith Barad (1988). The Possibility of Settling the Issue of Animal Suffering on Rational Grounds. Between the Species 4 (4):5.
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  39. Judith Barad-Andrade (1991). Stewardship: Whose Creation Is It Anyway? Between the Species 7 (2):11.
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  40. Neal D. Barnard (1993). In Search of Responsible Medicine. Between the Species 9 (2):18.
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  41. Kim Bartlett (1990). Blinded By the Light--Or How Nature Triumphed Over Nurturance. Between the Species 6 (2):9.
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  42. Robert Bass (2006). Undermining Indirect Duty Theories. Between the Species (6):1.
    There is a class of views about our moral relations with non-human animals that share the idea that animals do not matter directly for ethical purposes: whatever duties or obligations we have with respect to animals are indirect, connected somehow to other duties or obligations – to other human beings, for example – in which the well-being or interests of animals do not figure. Criticisms of indirect duty theories have often focused either upon denying the link that is supposed to (...)
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  43. Patrick Bateson (2011). Ethical Debates About Animal Suffering and the Use of Animals in Research. Journal of Consciousness Studies 18 (9-10):9-10.
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  44. Dana Reece Baylard (1993). A Christmas Eve Dinner. Between the Species 10 (1):19.
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  45. E. G. Beauchamp (1990). Animals and Soil Sustainability. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 3 (1):89-98.
    Domestic livestock animals and soils must be considered together as part of an agroecosystem which includes plants. Soil sustainability may be simply defined as the maintenance of soil productivity for future generations. There are both positive and negative aspects concerning the role of animals in soil sustainability. In a positive sense, agroecosystems which include ruminant animals often also include hay forage-or pasture-based crops in the humid regions. Such crops stabilize the soil by decreasing erosion, improving soil structure and usually require (...)
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  46. Tom L. Beauchamp (1992). The Moral Standing of Animals in Medical Research. Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 20 (1-2):7-16.
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  47. Sanne Beirendonck, Bert Driessen & Rony Geers (2013). Belgian Consumers' Opinion on Pork Consumption Concerning Alternatives for Unanesthetized Piglet Castration. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 26 (1):259-272.
    Male piglets in Belgium are still castrated unanesthetized in the first week of life, but animal rights organizations, supermarkets, and some consumers no longer accept this method in terms of animal welfare, and are pushing the pig industry to apply available alternative methods. This major change in pig husbandry will increase production costs without a guarantee for return of investment by consumers. Therefore, it is important to know the opinion of consumers on this matter. A questionnaire was used to collect (...)
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  48. Marc Bekoff (2007). Animals Matter: A Biologist Explains Why We Should Treat Animals with Compassion and Respect. Distributed in the United States by Random House.
    Bekoff urges us not only to understand and protect animals—especially those whose help we want for our research and other human needs—but to love and ...
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  49. Marc Bekoff & Dale Jamieson (1991). Sport Hunting as an Instinct. Environmental Ethics 13 (4):375-378.
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  50. Jeremy Bendik-Keymer (2010). Species Extinction and the Vice of Thoughtlessness: The Importance of Spiritual Exercises for Learning Virtue. [REVIEW] Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 23 (1-2):61-83.
    In this paper, I present a sample spiritual exercise—a contemporary form of the written practice that ancient philosophers used to shape their characters. The exercise, which develops the ancient practice of the examination of conscience, is on the sixth mass extinction and seeks to understand why the extinction appears as a moral wrong. It concludes by finding a vice in the moral character of the author and the author’s society. From a methodological standpoint, the purpose of spiritual exercises is to (...)
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