It is a curious fact about mainstream discussions of animalrights that they are dominated by consequentialist defenses thereof, when consequentialism in general has been on the wane in other areas of moral philosophy. In this paper, I describe an alternative, non‐consequentialist ethical framework (combining Kantian and virtue‐ethical elements) and argue that it grants (conscious) animals more expansive rights than consequentialist proponents of animalrights typically grant. The cornerstone of this non‐consequentialist framework is the thought (...) that the virtuous agent is s/he who has the stable and dominating disposition to treat all conscious animals, including non‐human conscious animals, as ends and not mere means. (shrink)
This volume provides a general overview of the basic ethical and philosophical issues of animalrights. It asks questions such as: Do animals have moral rights? If so, what does this mean? What sorts of mental lives do animals have, and how should we understand welfare? By presenting models for understanding animals' moral status and rights, and examining their mental lives and welfare, David DeGrazia explores the implications for how we should treat animals in connection with (...) our diet, zoos, and research. AnimalRights distinguishes itself by combining intellectual rigor with accessibility, offering a distinct moral voice with a non-polemical tone. (shrink)
Zoos and animalrights seem utterly opposed to each other. In this controversial and timely book, Stephen Bostock argues that they can develop a more harmonious relationship. He examines the diverse ethical and technical issues involved, including human cruelty, human domination over animals, the well-being of wild animals outside their natural habitat, and the nature of wild and domestic animals. In his analysis, Bostock draws attention to the areas which give rise to misconceptions. This book explores the long (...) history of zoos, as well as current philosophical debates, to argue for a conservational view of their role in the modern world. Anyone concerned with humanity's relationship with other animals and the natural world will find this to be thought-provoking and rewarding reading. (shrink)
This book offers a powerful response to what Varner calls the "two dogmas of environmental ethics"--the assumptions that animalrights philosophies and anthropocentric views are each antithetical to sound environmental policy. Allowing that every living organism has interests which ought, other things being equal, to be protected, Varner contends that some interests take priority over others. He defends both a sentientist principle giving priority to the lives of organisms with conscious desires and an anthropocentric principle giving priority (...) to certain very inclusive interests which only humans have. He then shows that these principles not only comport with but provide significant support for environmental goals. (shrink)
The publication of 'AnimalRights and Souls in the 18th Century' will be welcomed by everyone interested in the development of the modern animal liberation movement, as well as by those who simply want to savour the work of enlightenment thinkers pushing back the boundaries of both science and ethics. At last these long out-of-print texts are again available to be read and enjoyed - and what texts they are! Gems like Bougeant's witty reductio of the Christian (...) view of animals are included together with path-breaking works of ethics such as Primatt's A Dissertation on the Duty of Mercy and Sin of Cruelty to Brute Animals . There are works I have never seen before, including the remarkable Cry of Nature by the Scottish revolutionary Jacobin, John Oswald. In this set, everyone will find something novel, delightful and truly enlightening. - Peter Singer The discussion of animalrights and the moral status of animals, so prevalent in the late twentieth century, has its roots in the mid to late eighteenth century. Some of the themes we consider of recent invention - the legal standing of animals, the ethical status of vegetarians, cruelty towards animals, ultimately resulting in cruelty to humans - are of long standing. But in the eighteenth-century literature they are interconnected with theological issues surrounding animal souls, the birth of the life sciences, the great chain of being and other peculiarly eighteenth-century problems. This collection explores the exciting early discussions of moral theories concerning animals, placing them within their historical and social context. It reveals that issues such as vivisection, animal souls and vegetarianism were very much live philosophical subjects 200 years ago. The six volumes reprinted here includes complete works and edited extracts from such key eighteenth-century thinkers as Oswald, Primatt, Smellie, Monboddo and Jenyns. Many of the materials are extremely rare and never previously reprinted. The collection, edited with a new introduction and bio-bibliography by Aaron V. Garrett provides valuable original source material to supplement contemporary discussions of animalrights. --18th-century material on the theme of animalrights and practical ethics --an important supplement to contemporary animalrights discussions --provides a broader account of early discussions of the 'science of human nature' through animals --widens our understanding of 18th-century ethics through an important area of practical ethics --includes many scarce texts, most of which have never been reprinted before. (shrink)
Cass Sunstein and Martha Nussbaum bring together an all-star cast of contributors to explore the legal and political issues that underlie the campaign for animalrights and the opposition to it. Addressing ethical questions about ownership, protection against unjustified suffering, and the ability of animals to make their own choices free from human control, the authors offer numerous different perspectives on animalrights and animal welfare. They show that whatever one's ultimate conclusions, the relationship between (...) human beings and nonhuman animals is being fundamentally rethought. This book offers a state-of-the-art treatment of that rethinking. (shrink)
Zoopolis offers a new agenda for the theory and practice of animalrights. Most animalrights theory focuses on the intrinsic capacities or interests of animals, and the moral status and moral rights that these intrinsic characteristics give rise to. Zoopolis shifts the debate from the realm of moral theory and applied ethics to the realm of political theory, focusing on the relational obligations that arise from the varied ways that animals relate to human societies (...) and institutions. Building on recent developments in the political theory of group-differentiated citizenship, Zoopolis introduces us to the genuine "political animal". It argues that different types of animals stand in different relationships to human political communities. Domesticated animals should be seen as full members of human-animal mixed communities, participating in the cooperative project of shared citizenship. Wilderness animals, by contrast, form their own sovereign communities entitled to protection against colonization, invasion, domination and other threats to self-determination. `Liminal' animals who are wild but live in the midst of human settlement (such as crows or raccoons) should be seen as "denizens", resident of our societies, but not fully included in rights and responsibilities of citizenship. To all of these animals we owe respect for their basic inviolable rights. But we inevitably and appropriately have very different relations with them, with different types of obligations. Humans and animals are inextricably bound in a complex web of relationships, and Zoopolis offers an original and profoundly affirmative vision of how to ground this complex web of relations on principles of justice and compassion. (shrink)
General information -- The animals themselves -- Philosophical arguments -- Laws -- Political realities -- Social realities -- Education and the arts -- Contemporary sciences -- Major figures and organizations in the animalrights movement -- The future of animalrights.
This collection of new essays aims to address some of the most perplexing issues arising from death and dying, as well as the moral status of persons and animals. Leading scholars, including Peter Singer and Gerald Dworkin, investigate diverse topics such as animalrights, vegetarianism, lethal injection, abortion and euthanasia.
I argue that the personhood of a fetus is analogous to the the heap. If this is correct, then the moral status or intrinsic value of a fetus would be supervenient upon the fetus's biological development. Yet to compare its claim vis-a-vis its mother's, we need to consider not only their moral status, but also the type of claim they each have. Thus we have to give weight to the two factors or variables of the mother's moral status and her (...) claim to some lesser good (assuming that this is not the kind of case in which the mother would suffer some great harm, such as death). And then we have to consider the fetus's lesser moral status and its claim to some greater good, namely, life. I argue that we do not know how to compare these two-variable claims. This also explains why the central cases of abortion have been so difficult to resolve. I suggest that the problem of animalrights has a similar structure. (shrink)
With more than two million members and supporters, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is the world’s largest animal-rights organization, and its founder and president, Ingrid Newkirk, is one of the most well-known and most effective activists in America. She has spearheaded worldwide efforts to improve the treatment of animals in manufacturing, entertainment, and elsewhere. Every day, in laboratories, food factories, and other industries, animals by the millions are subjected to inhumane cruelty. In this accessible guide, (...) Newkirk teaches readers hundreds of simple ways to stop thoughtless animal cruelty and make positive choices. For each topic, Newkirk provides hard facts, personal insight, inspiration, ideas, and resources, including: • How to eat healthfully and compassionately • How to adopt animals rather than support puppy mills • How to make their vote count and change public opinion • How to switch to cruelty-free cosmetics and clothing • How to choose amusements that protect rather than exploit animals. With public concern for the well-being of animals greater than ever—particularly among young people—this timely, practical book offers exciting and easy ways to make a difference. (shrink)
More than twenty years after its original publication, The Case for AnimalRights is an acknowledged classic of moral philosophy, and its author is recognized as the intellectual leader of the animalrights movement. In a new and fully considered preface, Regan responds to his critics and defends the book's revolutionary position.
The question of the nature and extent of our moral obligations to non-human animals has featured prominently in recent moral debate. This book defends the novel position that a contradictarian moral theory can be used to justify the claim that animals possess a substantial and wide-ranging set of moral rights. Critiquing the rival accounts of Peter Singer and Tom Regan, this study shows how an influential form of the social contract idea can be extended to make sense of the (...) concept of animalrights. (shrink)
Animalrights and moral theories -- Arguing for one's species -- Utilitarianism and animals : Peter Singer's case for animal liberation -- Tom Regan : animalrights as natural rights -- Virtue ethics and animals -- Contractarianism and animalrights -- Animal minds.
Do non-human animals have rights? The answer to this question depends on whether animals have morally relevant mental properties. Mindreading is the human activity of ascribing mental states to other organisms. Current knowledge about the evolution and cognitive structure of mindreading indicates that human ascriptions of mental states to non-human animals are very inaccurate. The accuracy of human mindreading can be improved with the help of scientific studies of animal minds. But the scientific studies by themselves do not (...) by themselves solve the problem of how to map psychological similarities (and differences) between humans and animals onto a distinction between morally relevant and morally irrelevant mental properties. The current limitations of human mindreading – whether scientifically aided or not – have practical consequences for the rational justification of claims about which rights (if any) non-human animals should be accorded. (shrink)
How much do animals matter--morally? Can we keep considering them as second class beings, to be used merely for our benefit? Or, should we offer them some form of moral egalitarianism? Inserting itself into the passionate debate over animalrights, this fascinating, provocative work by renowned scholar Paola Cavalieri advances a radical proposal: that we extend basic human rights to the nonhuman animals we currently treat as "things." Cavalieri first goes back in time, tracing the roots of (...) the debate from the 1970s, then explores not only the ethical but also the scientific viewpoints, examining the debate's precedents in mainstream Western philosophy. She considers the main proposals of reform that recently have been advanced within the framework of today's prevailing ethical perspectives. Are these proposals satisfying? Cavalieri says no, claiming that it is necessary to go beyond the traditional opposition between utilitarianism and Kantianism and focus on the question of fundamental moral protection. In the case of human beings, such protection is granted within the widely shared moral doctrine of universal human rights' theory. Cavalieri argues that if we examine closely this theory, we will discover that its very logic extends to nonhuman animals as beings who are owed basic moral and legal rights and that, as a result, human rights are not human after all. (shrink)
Plutarch is virtually unique in surviving classical authors in arguing that animals are rational and sentient, and in concluding that human beings must take notice of their interests. Stephen Newmyer explores Plutarch's three animal-related treatises, as well as passages from his other ethical treatises, which argue that non-human animals are rational and therefore deserve to fall within the sphere of human moral concern. Newmyer shows that some of the arguments Plutarch raises strikingly foreshadow those found in the works of (...) such prominent animalrights philosophers as Peter Singer and Tom Regan in maintaining that non-human animals are the sorts of creatures that have intellectual qualities that cause them to be proper objects of man's concern, and have interests and desires that entitle them to respect from their human counterparts. This volume is groundbreaking in viewing Plutarch's views not only in the context of ancient philosophical and ethical thought, but in its place, generally overlooked, in the history of speculation on human-animal relations, and in pointing out how remarkably Plutarch differs from such predominantly anti-animal thinkers as the Stoics. (shrink)
In this essay I argue that the evolutionary and comparative study of nonhuman animal (hereafter animal) cognition in a wide range of taxa by cognitive ethologists can readily inform discussions about animal protection and animalrights. However, while it is clear that there is a link between animal cognitive abilities and animal pain and suffering, I agree with Jeremy Bentham who claimed long ago the real question does not deal with whether individuals can (...) think or reason but rather with whether or not individuals can suffer. One of my major goals will be to make the case that the time has come to expand. The Great Ape Project (GAP) to The Great Ape/Animal Project (GA/AP) and to take seriously the moral status and rights of all animals by presupposing that all individuals should be admitted into the Community of Equals. I also argue that individuals count and that it is essential to avoid being speciesist cognitivists; it really doesn't matter whether ‘dogs ape’ or whether ‘apes dog’ when taking into account the worlds of different individual animals. Narrow-minded primatocentrism and speciesism must be resisted in our studies of animal cognition and animal protection and rights. Line-drawing into ‘lower’ and ‘higher’ species is a misleading speciesist practice that should be vigorously resisted because not only is line-drawing bad biology but also because it can have disastrous consequences for how animals are viewed and treated. Speciesist line-drawing also ignores within species individual differences. (shrink)
You might be wondering what an article 0n animalrights is doing in a journal devoted to the defence of human life. It turns out that the connections are closer than you may think. Grasping them is crucial to a proper understanding of just why innocent human life must be defended, of why the killing of even the tiniest, youngest member of the human species is an unspeakable crime. For it is by analysing the issue of whether animals (...) have rights that we come to see the core differences between humans and other animals1—-the differences in the nature of humans and animals that mean.. (shrink)
The apparent conflict between some fundamental ideas of Confucianism and of rights seems to render Confucianism incompatible with rights. I will illustrate the general strategies, based upon an insight of the later Rawls, to solve the incompatibility problem. I will then show how these strategies can help us to develop a Confucian account of animalrights, which, by way of example, demonstrates how Confucianism can endorse and develop unique and constructive accounts of most rights that (...) are commonly recognized today. (shrink)
This paper examines whether non-human animals have a moral right not to be experimented upon. It adopts a Razian conception of rights, whereby an individual possesses a right if an interest of that individual is sufficient to impose a duty on another. To ascertain whether animals have a right not to be experimented on, three interests are examined which might found such a right: the interest in not suffering, the interest in staying alive, and the interest in being free. (...) It is argued that while the first two of these interests are sufficient to ground animalrights against being killed and made to suffer by experiments, the interest in freedom does not ground a general animal right not to be used in experimentation. (shrink)
There is quite a long-standing tradition according to which the morally proper treatment of animals does not rely on what we owe them, but on our benevolence. Nussbaum wishes to go beyond this tradition, because in her view we are dealing with issues of justice. Her capabilities approach secures basic entitlements for animals, on the basis of their fundamental capacities. At the same time Nussbaum wishes to retain the possibility of certain human uses of animals, and to see them as (...) morally justifiable. This article shows that these things do not go together with her capabilities approach to animalrights. More specifically, they clash with the attitude towards animals that Nussbaum's approach intends to foster in human beings. (shrink)
Carl Cohen's arguments against animalrights are shown to be unsound. His strategy entails that animals have rights, that humans do not, the negations of those conclusions, and other false and inconsistent implications. His main premise seems to imply that one can fail all tests and assignments in a class and yet easily pass if one's peers are passing and that one can become a convicted criminal merely by setting foot in a prison. However, since his moral (...) principles imply that nearly all exploitive uses of animals are wrong anyway, foes of animalrights are advised to seek philosophical consolations elsewhere. I note that some other philosopher's arguments are subject to similar objections. (shrink)
In two studies, we used the Ethics Position Questionnaire (EPQ) to investigate the relationship between individual differences in moral philosophy, involvement in the animalrights movement, and attitudes toward the treatment of animals. In the first, 600 animalrights activists attending a national demonstration and 266 nonactivist college students were given the EPQ. Analysis of the returns from 157 activists and 198 students indicated that the activists were more likely than the students to hold an "absolutist" (...) moral orientation (high idealism, low relativism). In the second study, 169 students were given the EPQ with a scale designed to measure attitudes toward the treatment of animals. Multiple regression showed that gender and the EPQ dimension of idealism were related to attitudes toward animal use. (shrink)
Even if animal liberation were to be adopted, would rights for animals be redundant – or even deleterious? Such an objection, most prominently voiced by L. W. Sumner and Paul W. Taylor, is misguided, risks an anthropocentric and anthropomorphic conception of autonomy and freedom, overly agent-centered rights conceptions, and an overlooking of the likely harmful consequences of positing rights for humans but not for nonhuman animals. The objection in question also stems from an overly pessimistic construal (...) of autonomy-infringements thought to result from extending rights to animals, and also, of confusions that supposedly may ensue from ascribing animalrights. Whether or not a case for animal liberation and/or animalrights can cogently be made, the redundancy-or-worse objection to animalrights need pose no barrier. (shrink)
Animal liberationists tend to divide into two mutually antagonistic camps: animal welfarists, who share a utilitarian moral outlook, and animal rightists, who presuppose a structure of basic rights. However, the gap between these groups tends to be exaggerated by their allegiance to oversimplified versions of their favored moral frameworks. For their part, animal rightists should acknowledge that rights, however basic, are also defeasible by appeals to consequences. Contrariwise, animal welfarists should recognize that (...) class='Hi'>rights, however derivative, are capable of constraining appeals to consequences. If both sides move to more defensible theoretical positions, their remaining differences on that level may be compatible with a broad area of convergence on practical issues. Keywords: animal welfare, animalrights, ethics CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Readily available data are used to provide relevant decision making information on the highly subjective issue of animalrights. Two examples of alleged crowding; cattle being finished in concrete lots, and broilers in confined operations were evaluated to determine the impact on producers and consumers from increasing space per animal. It is concluded that similar policy changes, such as doubling floor space, can lead to dramatic differences in economic impact depending on the industry affected. It is shown (...) that economic analysis can provide valuable information in estimating the tradeoffs in moral issues. (shrink)
The general concern of the paper is to ponder whether religious views inform ethical views? This is explored through the issue of animalrights within Judaism. There is not only a great divergence, even today worldwide, on the realm of freedom that non-humans may enjoy, but historically this group of individuals has been most restricted in their behaviour, and level of value, by the Western religious worldviews. Hence it would be instructive to see to what extent an ethical (...) attitude toward animals is present, or absent, and whether the religious prescriptions are justified by moral reasoning. And where we have found textual basis, as we have here, for taking the moral considerability of animals seriously, the next question is: has our moral sense been informed by a religious tradition? And has this led to changes in our secular understanding of ethical treatment toward animals? Or has there been a moral intuition there all along in humans, which has incidentally been expressed in a religious mode? (shrink)
An Odyssey With Animals: A Veterinarian’s Reflections on the AnimalRights and Welfare Debate Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 379-381 DOI 10.1007/s11673-011-9327-x Authors Rob Irvine, Sydney Bioethics Program, Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine, Medical Foundation Building, University of Sydney, NSW 2006 Sydney, Australia Journal Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Online ISSN 1872-4353 Print ISSN 1176-7529 Journal Volume Volume 8 Journal Issue Volume 8, Number 4.
A questionnaire study was performed among Swedish organic livestock farmers to determine their view of animal welfare and other ethical issues in animal production. The questionnaire was sent to 56.5% of the target group and the response rate was 75.6%. A principal components analysis (exploratory factor analysis) was performed to get a more manageable data set. A matrix of intercorrelations between all pairs of factors was computed. The factors were then entered into a series of multiple regression models (...) to explain five dependent variables. Respondents were well educated and had long experience of farming. 81% were full-time farmers. They generally had a very positive attitude towards organic animal husbandry. They considered allowing animals their natural behavior a central aim, which is in accordance with organic philosophy. Farmers tended to be less approving of concepts like animalrights, dignity, and intrinsic value. When analyzing correlations between the factors, two groups of farmers emerged that were only partially correlated, representing different attitudes and behavioral dispositions. These may be interpreted as two subpopulations of organic livestock farmers in Sweden: those who saw organic farming as a lifestyle (``pioneer attitude'''') and entrepreneurs, who considered making money and new challenges more important. Their view of animal welfare differed. While the pioneers considered natural behavior a key issue, this was less important to the entrepreneurs, who also had a more approving attitude towards invasive operations such as castration and were more critical of the organic standards. (shrink)
Do animals possess rights? The argument works from marginal cases: we attribute value to humans because of some minimal set of characteristics thathumans possess. Animals possess these characteristics; therefore they deserve moral consideration. Such arguments depend on a functionalist attribution of value. Any turn to functionalism will necessarily be detrimental to human dignity, since some humans will not qualify. I will show how the methods used to establish animalrights are generally some form of functionalism, with particular (...) emphasis on Peter Singer and Tom Regan. Functionalism will always be arbitrary, since it assigns value on the basis of facts that do not necessitate such values. A better alternative is Aquinas’s theory of human dignity, that humans are valuable because of their supernatural destiny. This theory cannot be proven, but neither can the functionalist argument. Further, the human dignity argument is more rational, since it avoids many of the problems of the functionalist animalrights position. (shrink)
The idea that animalrights can be married to environmental ethics is still a minority opinion. The land ethic of Aldo Leopold, as interpreted by J. Baird Callicott, remains fundamentally at odds with the ascription of substantial rights to (nonhuman) animals. Similarly, Laura Westra’s notion of “respectful hostility,” which attempts to reconcile a holistic environmental ethic with “respect” for animals, has no place for animalrights.In this paper, I argue that only by ascribing rights (...) to sentient animals can an environmental ethic avoid an unacceptable degree of anthropocentrism because only a rights-based environmental ethic can prohibit humans from significantly interfering with sentient animals when human vital needs are not at stake. A rights view that permits significant interference when it is required for the satisfaction of human vital needs avoids problems that otherwise plague a rights view. The “vital-needs rights view” reconciles the rights of animals with the satisfaction of human vital needs—including the vital need to have a flourishing natural environment—suggesting a possible alliance between animalrights and deep ecology and revealing the connections among vital needs, capitalism, and environmental degradation. (shrink)
This paper argues that due to considerations of proximity of particular humans to particular (nonhuman) animals, and to the impact this proximity has on the obligations felt by those humans to those animals, an animalrights strategy as a means of specifying what obligations humans really do have toward animals cannot be successful. The good news, however; is that it is out of these proximity relations that we can begin to understand just what obligations humans properly do have (...) toward animals. (shrink)
right. Unlike incoherent positive rights , such as the “right” to education or health care, the animal right is, at bottom, a right to be left alone . It does not call for government to tax us in order to provide animals with food, shelter, and veterinary care. It only requires us to stop killing them and making them suffer. I can think of no other issue where the libertarian is arguing for a positive right—his right to make (...) animals submit to any use he sees—and the other side is arguing for a negative right! (shrink)
I argue that the equal rights views of Tom Regan and Evelyn B. Pluhar must be rejected because they have unacceptable consequences. My objection is similar to one made in the literature by Mary Anne Warren, but I develop it in more detail and defend it from several plausible responses that an equal rights theorist might make. I formulate a theory, a moderate form of perfectionism, that makes a valuedistinction between moral agents and moral patients according to which (...) although both have rights, these rights are not equal. This theory avoids the unacceptable consequences of the equal rights view and is immune to the marginal cases arguments that typical full-personhood theories succumb to. This moderate perfectionism generates an obligation for people to be vegetarians (in most cases) and to severely curtail animal experimentation. (shrink)
As ethical attitudinists say, ethical statements cannot be strictly true or false, since they express wishes or attitudes, not beliefs. However, the wishes expressed by basic moral judgments about human rights are such that it is a necessary truth that those who know what human beings are have them, and those who do not acknowledge these rights show their lack of a living sense of human reality. The same goes for basic judgments about the rights of animals, (...) and it is blindness about the ontology of animal reality which lies behind the cruelty to animals inherent in vivisection and factory farming. One current source of this blindness may be the physicalist metaphysics which is typical of our day, and which should be sharply distinguished from metaphysical naturalism. (shrink)
Most legal systems divide the world into persons and property, treating human beings as persons, and pretty much everything else, including non-human animals, as property. Persons are the subjects of both rights and obligations, including the right to own property, while objects of property, being by their very nature for the use of persons, have no rights at all. I will call this the “legal bifurcation.” We might look to Immanuel Kant’s moral and political philosophy to provide a (...) philosophical vindication of the legal bifurcation, for reasons I will lay out in a moment. But in one way, that would be backwards, because Kant, in constructing the metaphysical categories that he used to talk about rights, was following the tradition of Roman law. (shrink)
I offer some reasons for the theory that, compared with human beings, non-human animals have some but lesser intrinsic value. On the basis of this theory, I first argue that we do not know how to compare an animal's claim to be free from a more serious type of harm (e.g., death), and a human's claim to be free from some lesser type of harm (e.g., non-fatal morbidity). For we need to take account of these parties' intrinsic value, and (...) their competing types of claim. Yet, there exists no known way for making such comparison, when a human's intrinsic value is higher than that of an animal, whereas the type of claim an animal has is morally weightier than the type of claim a human has. Second, I explain why utilitarianism is unhelpful in making such comparison. Third, in the case where some animals can be sacrificed for saving a larger number of humans, it is crucial to ask whether animals have the right to life, and I argue that this question is more perplexing than we might think. My conclusion is that the various difficulties mentioned above have a deeper source than we have so far acknowledged, and that this reflects that the moral reality is less tidy and more complex than many theories portray. (shrink)
How far does the democratic right to protest go? This issue is squarely raised by the announcement that the Government will introduce new measures to curb protests by animal advocates opposed to experiments conducted at Huntingdon Life Sciences, a major animal testing company.
I argue that animals have rights in the sense of having valid claims, which might turn out to be actual rights as society advances and new scientific-technological developments facilitate finding alternative ways of satisfying our vital interests without using animals. Animals have a right to life, to liberty in the sense of freedom of movement and communication, to subsistence, to relief from suffering, and to security against attacks on their physical existence. Animals’ interest in living, freedom, subsistence, and (...) security are of vital importance to them, and they do not belong to us; they are not the things we have already possessed by virtue of our own nature. (shrink)
In this essay, I explore the moral foundations of the treatment of animals. Alternative views are critically examined, including (a) the Kantian account, which holds that our duties regarding animals are actually indirect duties to humanity; (b) the cruelty account, which holds that the idea of cruelty explains why it is wrong to treat animals in certain ways; and (c) the utilitarian account, which holds that the value of consequences for all sentient creatures explains our duties to animals. These views (...) are shown to be inadequate, the Kantian account because some of our duties regarding animals are direct duties to animals; the cruelty account because it confuses matters of motive or intent with the question of the rightness or wrongness of the agent’s actions; and the utilitarian account because it could be used to justifyidentifiable speciesistic practices. I defend a fourth view. Only if we postulate basic moral rights in the case of humans, can we satisfactorily account for why it is wrong to treat humans in certain ways, and it is only by postulating that these humans have inherent value that we can attribute to them basic moral rights. Consistency requires that we attribute this same kind of value to many animals. Their havinginherent value provides a similar basis for attributing certain basic moral rights to them, including the right not to be harmed. Possession of this right places the onus of justification on anyone who would harm these animals. I set forth conditions for such a justification which those who would abuse animals have failed to meet. (shrink)
In her book, Moral Status, Mary Anne Warren defends a comprehensive theory of the moral status of various entities. Under this theory, she argues that animals may have some moral rights but that their rights are much weaker in strength than the rights of humans, who have rights in the fullest, strongest sense. Subsequently, Warren believes that our duties to animals are far weaker than our duties to other humans. This weakness is especially evident from the (...) fact that Warren believes that it is frequently permissible for humans to kill animals for food. Warren’s argument for her view consists primarily in the belief that we have inevitable practical conflicts with animals that make it impossible to grant them equal rights without sacrificing basic human interests. However, her arguments fail to justify her conclusions. In particular, Warren fails to justify her beliefs that animals do not have an equal right to life and that it is permissible for humans to kill animals for food. (shrink)
An argument is examined and defended for extending basic moral rights to animals which assumes that humans, including infants and the severely mentally enfeebled, have such rights. It is claimed that this argument proceeds on two fronts, one critical, where proposed criteria of right-possession are rejected, the other constructive, where proposed criteria are examined with a view to determining the most reasonable one. This form of argument is defended against the charge that it is self-defeating, various candidates for (...) the title, 'most reasonable criterion of right-possession', are critically examined, and it is argued that this criterion is to be found in the notion of inherent value: What underlies the ascription of rights to any given x is that x has value logically independently of anyone's valuing x; thus, to treat x as if x had value only if or as it served one's interests, etc., is to violate x 's rights. It is argued that many animals, owing to their being subjects of a life that is more or less valuable for them logically independently of the interests of others, can satisfy this criterion and therefore have certain basic moral rights, if humans, including the severely mentally enfeebled, do. Finally, the question, What basic moral rights do animals have? is explored. (shrink)
I argue that, even supposing substantive principles of distributive justice entail that animals warrant constitutional protection, there are other, potentially weightier forms of injustice that would probably be done by interpreting a Bill of Rights as implicitly applying to animals, namely, formal injustice and compensatory injustice. Formal injustice would result from such a reading of the Constitution in that the state would fail to speak with one voice upon newly according legal rights to animals. Compensatory injustice would likely (...) result from such a reading, at least in a South African context, in that the law would not only suppress facets of culture that many Africans deem important to their self-conception, but also require spending scarce resources on animals that could have gone toward saving African lives and livelihoods. If the state must choose between acting for the sake of the urgent interests of animals and those of humans, humans must take priority, even assuming that animals have a worth that morally forbids harming them in our private lives. (shrink)
The Animal Ethics Reader is the first comprehensive, state-of-the-art anthology of readings on this substantial area of study and interest. A subject that regularly captures the headlines, the book is designed to appeal to anyone interested in tracing the history of the subject, as well as providing a powerful insight into the debate as it has developed. The recent wealth of material published in this area has not, until now, been collected in one volume. Readings are arranged thematically, carefully (...) presenting a balanced representation of the subject as it stands. It will be essential reading for students taking a course in the subject as well as being of considerable interest to the general reader. Articles are arranged under the following headings: Theories of Animal Ethics; Animal Capacities; Animals for Food; Animal Experimentation; Genetic Engineering of Animals; Ethics and Wildlife; Zoos, Aquaria, and Animals in Entertainment; Companion Animals; Legal Rights for Animals. Readings from leading experts in the field including Peter Singer, Mary Midgley and Bernard Rollin are featured as well as selections from Donald Griffin, Mark Bekoff, Jane Goodall, Raymond Frey, Barbara Orlans, Tom Regan, and Baird Callicott. There is an emphasis on balancing classic and contemporary readings with a view to presenting debates as they stand at this point in time. Each chapter is introduced by the editors and study questions feature at the end. The foreword has been written by Bernard Rollin. (shrink)
Are there limits on how human beings can legitimately treat non-human animals? Or can we treat them just any way we please? If there are limits, what are they? Are they sufficiently strong, as some people supp ose, to lead us to be vegetarians and to seriously curtail, if not eliminate, our use of non-human animals in `scientific' experiments designed to benefit us? To fully appreciate this question let me contrast it with two different ones: Are there limits on how (...) we can legitimately treat rocks? And: are there limits on how we can legitima tely treat other human beings? The an swer to th e first ques tion is pre suma bly `No.' Well, that's not q uite right. There are som e limits on what w e can le gitimate ly do with or to rocks. If Paula has a pet rock, then Susan can't justifiably take it away or smash it with a sledge hammer. After all it is Paula's rock. (shrink)
This timely and provocative book examines the theories behind the most commonly held contemporary assumptions about animalrights. Focusing on the writings of prominent pro-liberation activists such as Peter Singer, Tom Regan and Mary Midgley, Michael P. T. Leahy argues that the animalrights movement is based upon a series of fundamental misconceptions about the basic nature of animals--beliefs which define them rationally, emotionally, and morally in too human terms. Leahy gives particular emphasis to the writings (...) of Ludwig Wittgenstein and his highly influential philosophy of language, and concludes that much of our talk about animals is dangerously anthropomorphic and encourages us to elevate them to quasi-human status. He examines such crucial issues as animal experimentation, the use of animals for food and fur, animals in captivity and vegetarianism. (shrink)
Do animals have moral rights? In contrast to the philosophical gurus of the animalrights movement, whose opinion has held moral sway in recent years, Peter Carruthers here claims that they do not. He explores a variety of moral theories, arguing that animals lack direct moral significance. This provocative but judiciously argued book will appeal to all those interested in animalrights, whatever their initial standpoint. It will also serve as a lively introduction to ethics, (...) demonstrating why theoretical issues in ethics actually matter. (shrink)
l examine Singer’s analogy between human liberation movements and animal liberation movements. Two lines of criticism of animal liberation are rejected: (1) that animal-liberation is not as serious as human liberation since humans have interests which override those of animals; (2) that the concept of animal liberation blurs distinctions between what is appropriate for humans and what is appropriate foranimals. As an alternative I otfer a distinction between reform movements and liberation movements, arguing that while Singer (...) meets the criterion for the former, a higher degree of autonomy and communicative competence is necessary for the latter. In the final section, objections to the possibility of an autonomous animal liberation movement are met by rejecting assumptions concerning the illogicality of interspecies communication. (shrink)
A caged animal in the heart of the city, thousands of miles from its natural habitat, neurotically pacing in its confinement . . . Zoos offer a convenient way to indulge a cultural appetite for novelty and diversion, and to teach us, albeit superficially, about animals. Yet what, conversely, do they tell us about the people who create, maintain, and patronize them, and about animal captivity in general? Rather than foster an appreciation for the lives and attributes of (...) animals, zoos, in Randy Malamud's view, reinforce the idea that we are, by nature, an imperial species: that our power and ingenuity entitles us to violate the natural order by tearing animals from the fabric of their ecosystems and displaying them in an "order" of our own making. In so doing, he argues, zoos not only contribute to the rapid disintegration of our ecosystems, but also deaden our very sensibilities to constraint, spatial disruption, and physical pain. Invoking an array of literary depictions of animals, from Albee's Zoo Story and Virginia Woolf's diaries to the films of Harold Pinter and the poetry of Marianne Moore, Reading Zoos links culture, literature, and nature in an engaging and accessible introduction to environmental ethics, animalrights, cultural critique, and literary representation. (shrink)
Sociology and Animals : Beginnings -- Animals and Biology as Destiny -- Animals, Social Inequalities and Oppression -- Animals, Crime and Abuse -- Town and Country : Animals, Space and Place -- Consumption of the Animal -- Animals, Leisure and Culture -- Animal Experiments and AnimalRights -- Conclusion: Sociology for Other Animals.
This book utilizes both philosophical and biological approaches to address the various attitudes in the debate over animalrights. Rodd justifies ethical concern within a framework that is firmly grounded on evolutionary theory, and provides detailed discussion of practical situations in which ethical decisions have to be made. For moral philosophers, the book offers a biological background to the ethical questions involved. Biologists will find that it provides an approach to the ethics of animalrights which (...) is rooted in biological theory. This much-needed volume will be an invaluable guide to anyone who is concerned with animal welfare. (shrink)
I want to relate to you two striking examples of animals acting with more humanity than most humans. My point is not that animals are more humane than humans, but that there is dramatic evidence that animals can act in ways that do not support certain Western stereotypes about their capacities.
Jan Narveson has suggested that rational egoism might provide a defensible moral perspective that would put animals out of the reach of morality without denying that they are capable of suffering. I argue that rational egoism provides a principled indifference to the fate of animals at high cost: the possibility of principled indifference to the fate of “marginal humans.”.