The right not to be eaten

Inquiry 22 (1-4):221 – 230 (1979)
Abstract
The current debate over the rights of animals has not been wholly satisfactory. Those who believe that animals have no rights argue that it is not conceivable that creatures without human capabilities could possess rights. Those who defend the rights of animals argue that such claims are 'speciesist', resemble racist and sexist claims, and bear the marks of moral complacency. Both sides have assumed that the issue can ultimately be settled through an analysis of the concept of rights in isolation from other factors. In this paper I argue that the issue can be discussed more satisfactorily in the context of classical teleological ethical theory which provides a basis for favoring the maximum development of all the more highly organized beings consistent with the diversification of nature. The conclusion is that wild animals have the right not to be eaten and that we should discontinue the wasteful practice of domesticating animals for the purpose of meat production.
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References found in this work BETA
Peter Singer (1989). All Animals Are Equal. In Tom Regan & Peter Singer (eds.), Animal Rights and Human Obligations. Oxford University Press. 215--226.
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