Animal welfare, ethics and the work of the International Whaling Commission

Journal of Global Ethics 7 (3):279-290 (2011)
This article provides a critique of the IWC's traditional focus on anthropocentric conservation in the governance of whaling. It is argued that this position, which relies on accepting the view that we have no direct moral duties to whales, is out of step with the moral status that now tends, in theory and practice, to be granted to animals. More specifically, anthropocentric conservation conflicts with the widespread acceptance, in theory and practice, that non-human animals such as whales have moral standing, that what we do to them matters to them directly. This does not mean that whaling should necessarily be prohibited on ethical grounds, although the animal welfare analysis of whaling sketched in this article does suggest that, on balance, it is difficult to defend morally. Rather, it is being claimed that it is morally objectionable to deny, as the whaling nations do, that the IWC ought to be mandated to consider the welfare implications of whaling.
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DOI 10.1080/17449626.2011.635690
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John Rawls (1993). Political Liberalism. Columbia University Press.
Tom Regan (2009). The Case for Animal Rights. In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Noûs. Oxford University Press 425-434.
J. Rawls (1995). Political Liberalism. Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 57 (3):596-598.

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