Ethical considerations of the human–animal-relationship under conditions of asymmetry and ambivalence

Ethical reflection deals not only with the moral standing and handling of animals, it should also include a critical analysis of the underlying relationship. Anthropological, psychological, and sociological aspects of the human–animal-relationship should be taken into account. Two conditions, asymmetry and ambivalence, are taken as the historical and empirical basis for reflections on the human–animal-relationship in late modern societies. These conditions explain the variety of moral practice, apart from paradoxes, and provide a framework to systematize animal ethical problems in a broader field. This allows the development of ideal relationships as moral orientation across anthropocentric or sentientistic ethical theories. These ideal relationships are called the patronage-model, the friendship-model and the partnership-model. The ethical problem of creating transgenic animals is discussed in the light of these ideal relationships.
Keywords ambivalence  animal biotechnology  animal ethics  asymmetry  human–animal-relationship
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