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. Siobhan M. Abeyesinghe, Matthew O. Parker, Christopher M. Wathes, Michael J. Reiss, Lucy Asher, David Allen & Jen Jamieson (forthcoming). Adolescents Care but Don't Feel Responsible for Farm Animal Welfare. Society and Animals:1-27.
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  20. Ralph R. Acampora (2006). Anthropocentrism and Its Discontents: The Moral Status of Animals in the History of Western Philosophy (Review). Journal of the History of Philosophy 44 (3):480-481.
    Ralph R. Acampora - Anthropocentrism and Its Discontents: The Moral Status of Animals in the History of Western Philosophy - Journal of the History of Philosophy 44:3 Journal of the History of Philosophy 44.3 480-481 Gary Steiner. Anthropocentrism and Its Discontents: The Moral Status of Animals in the History of Western Philosophy. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005. Pp. ix + 332. Cloth, $37.50. In this text Steiner surveys the history of doctrines, attitudes, and beliefs about the ethical standing of (...)
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  21. Carol Adams (1991). Abortion Rights and Animal Rights'. Between the Species 7 (4):181-189.
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  22. 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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  23. Peter Adamson (2012). Abū Bakr Al-Rāzī on Animals. Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 94 (3):249-273.
    Abū Bakr al-Rāzī (d. 925), a doctor known not only for his medical expertise but also for his notorious philosophical ideas, has not yet been given due credit for his ideas on the ethical treatment of animals. This paper explores the philosophical and theological background of his remarks on animal welfare, arguing that al-Rāzī did not (as has been claimed) see animals as possessing rational, intellectual souls like those of humans. It is also argued that al-Rāzī probably did not, as (...)
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  24. 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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  25. William Aiken (1986). A Commentary On Nelson's" Xenograft and Partial Affections". Between the Species 2 (3):10.
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  26. C. S. Alcorta & R. Sosis (2007). Rituals of Humans and Animals. In M. Bekoff (ed.), Encyclopedia of Human-Animal Relationships. Greenwood Press. 2--599.
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  27. Colin Allen (2012). Ethics, Law, and the Science of Fish Welfare. Between the Species 16 (1):7.
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  28. 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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  29. Marjorie Anchel (1985). Animal Experiments. BioScience 35 (5):266-266.
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  30. 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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  31. 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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  32. Raymond Anthony (2009). Farming Animals and the Capabilities Approach: Understanding Roles and Responsibilities Through Narrative Ethics. Society and Animals 17 (3):257-278.
    In the Proceedings that emerged from the Second International Workshop on the Assessment of Animal Welfare at Farm and Group Level, Sandoe, Christiansen, & Appleby challenged participants to ponder four fundamental questions:a. What is the baseline standard for morally acceptable animal welfare?b. What is a good animal life?c. What farming purposes are legitimate?d. What kinds of compromises are acceptable in a less-than-perfect world?Continued reflection on those questions warrants examination of the shape of our modern agricultural ethic. It also calls for (...)
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  33. 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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  34. Arnold Arluke & Carter Luke (1997). Physical Cruelty Toward Animals in Massachusetts, 1975-1996. Society and Animals 5 (3):195-204.
    This article describes the nature of animal abuse and the response of the criminal justice system to all cruelty cases prosecuted by the Massachusetts Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals between 1975 and 1996. Dogs were the most common target; when combined with cats, these domestic animals composed the vast majority of incidents. Almost all of these animals were owned, and females were the majority of complainants. Suspects were almost always young males, and most of the time they allegedly (...)
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  35. Arnold Arluke & Carter Luke (1997). Physical Cruelty Toward Animals in Massachusetts, 1975-1996. Society and Animals 5 (3):195-204.
    This article describes the nature of animal abuse and the response of the criminal justice system to all cruelty cases prosecuted by the Massachusetts Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals between 1975 and 1996. Dogs were the most common target; when combined with cats, these domestic animals composed the vast majority of incidents. Almost all of these animals were owned, and females were the majority of complainants. Suspects were almost always young males, and most of the time they allegedly (...)
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  36. Susan J. Armstrong (1992). In Praise of Pigs. Between the Species 8 (1):8.
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  37. B. Arneil (2010). Animals and Interdependence: Reply to Dolgert. Political Theory 38 (6):866-869.
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  38. Sue Arnold (1988). Sermon. Between the Species 4 (3):14.
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  39. Kristin Aronson (1986). Sometimes My Shadow. Between the Species 2 (3):4.
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  40. Wendy Atkins-Sayre, Renee S. Besel, Richard D. Besel, Carrie Packwood Freeman, Laura K. Hahn, Brett Lunceford, Patricia Malesh, Sabrina Marsh, Jane Bloodworth Rowe & Mary Trachsel (2014). Arguments About Animal Ethics. Lexington Books.
    Bringing together the expertise of rhetoricians in English and communication as well as media studies scholars, Arguments about Animal Ethics delves into the rhetorical and discursive practices of participants in controversies over the use of nonhuman animals for meat, entertainment, fur, and vivisection. Both sides of the debate are carefully analyzed, as the contributors examine how stakeholders persuade or fail to persuade audiences about the ethics of animal rights or the value of using animals.
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  41. 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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  42. H. E. Baber, Meet the Meat: So, Where's the Beef?
    Preferentism is the doctrine that "in deciding what is good and what is bad for a given individual, the ultimate criterion can only be his own wants and his own preferences." If preferentism is true then it would seem to follow that modifying a person's preferences so that they are satisfied by what is on offer should be as good as improving the circumstances of her life to satisfy her preferences. Our intuitive response to stories of life-adjustment through brainwashing, psychosurgery (...)
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  43. Bernard Baertschi (2012). The Moral Status of Artificial Life. Environmental Values 21 (1):5 - 18.
    Recently at the J. Craig Venter Institute, a microorganism has been created through synthetic biology. In the future, more complex living beings will very probably be produced. In our natural environment, we live amongst a whole variety of beings. Some of them have moral status — they have a moral importance and we cannot treat them in just any way we please —; some do not. When it becomes possible to create artificially living beings who naturally possess moral status, will (...)
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  44. K. E. M. Baier (1961). The Ethical Animal. Philosophical Books 2 (1):20-21.
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  45. Christiane Bailey (2014). Le double sens de la communauté morale : la considérabilité morale et l’agentivité morale des autres animaux. Les Ateliers de l'Éthique / the Ethics Forum 9 (3):31-67.
    Christiane Bailey | : Distinguant deux sens de « communauté morale », cet article soutient que certains animaux appartiennent à la communauté morale dans les deux sens : ils sont des patients moraux dignes de considération morale directe et équivalente, mais également des agents moraux au sens où ils sont capables de reconnaître, d’assumer et d’adresser aux autres des exigences minimales de bonne conduite et de savoir-vivre. Au moyen de la notion d’« attitudes réactives » développée par Peter F. Strawson, (...)
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  46. 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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  47. Sherwin Bailey (1961). The Ethical Animal. The Eugenics Review 53 (1):42.
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  48. Jean Christophe Bailly (2011). The Animal Side. Fordham University Press.
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  49. Will Baker (1985). Three Monkeys. I Am Father. Between the Species 1 (2):8.
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  50. Kent Baldner (2004). My Life as a Dog. Between the Species 13 (4):1.
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