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. Book Review of Animal Ethics and the Nonconformist Conscience (The Palgrave Macmillan Animal Ethics Series). [REVIEW]Bjørn Kristensen - 2019 - Reading Religion 5 (1).
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  2. Assisting Wild Animals Vulnerable to Climate Change: Why Ethical Strategies Diverge.Clare Palmer - 2019 - Journal of Applied Philosophy.
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  3. How Dogs Perceive Humans and How Humans Should Treat Their Pet Dogs: Linking Cognition with Ethics.Judith Benz-Schwarzburg, Susana Monsó & Ludwig Huber - 2020 - Frontiers in Psychology 11.
    Humans interact with animals in numerous ways and on numerous levels. We are indeed living in an “animal”s world,’ in the sense that our lives are very much intertwined with the lives of animals. This also means that animals, like those dogs we commonly refer to as our pets, are living in a “human’s world” in the sense that it is us, not them, who, to a large degree, define and manage the interactions we have with them. In this sense, (...)
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  4. A Practice‐Focused Case for Animal Moral Agency.Dorna Behdadi - forthcoming - Journal of Applied Philosophy.
    Considerations of nonhuman animal moral agency typically base their reasoning and (very often negative) verdict on a capacity‐focused approach to moral agency. According to this approach, an entity is a moral agent if it has certain intrapersonal features or capacities, typically in terms of conscious reflection and deliberation. According to a practice‐focused notion of moral agency, however, an entity is a moral agent in virtue of being a participant of a moral responsibility practice (MRP). I argue that a practice‐focused approach (...)
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  5. Landschaft als Gegenstand der Naturethik.Gesine Schepers - 2018 - In Karsten Berr (ed.), Transdisziplinäre Landschaftsforschung. Grundlagen und Perspektiven. RaumFragen: Stadt – Region – Landschaft. Wiesbaden: pp. 205-218.
    In der naturethischen Debatte gibt es eine Reihe von Argumenten für Naturschutz. So gut wie unbeantwortet ist jedoch bisher die Frage, der sich der vorliegende Beitrag widmet: Zu welcher Art von Landschaft führen naturethische Argumente, wenn man mit ihnen Ernst macht? Der Beitrag stellt zentrale anthropozentrische und physiozentrische Argumente vor und zeigt, dass die Antwort je nach Argument unterschiedlich ausfällt. Landschaft als Gegenstand der Naturethik ist eine vielgestaltige Sache. So kann es gut sein, dass eine Landschaft, die einem naturethischen Argument (...)
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  6. Red in Tooth and Claw No More: Animal Rights and the Permissibility to Redesign Nature.Connor K. Kianpour & Eze Paez - forthcoming - Environmental Values.
    Most nonhuman animals live in the wild and it is probable that suffering predominates in their lives due to natural events. Humans may at some point be able to engage in paradise engineering, or the modification of nature and animal organisms themselves to improve the well-being of wild animals. We may, in other words, make nature ‘red in tooth and claw’ no more. We argue that this creates a tension between environmental ethics and animal ethics which is likely insurmountable. First, (...)
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  7. How Much Does Slaughter Harm Humanely Raised Animals?1.Coleman Solis - forthcoming - Journal of Applied Philosophy.
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  8. Writing For and Not Merely About.Hadas Marcus - 2020 - Journal of Animal Ethics 10 (2):192.
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  9. Between the Bible, the Midrash, Philosophy, and Kabbalah: Ethics and Animals in the Writings of the Maharal of Prague.Idan Breier - 2020 - Journal of Animal Ethics 10 (2):135.
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  10. The Flesh of Fasts and Feasts: A Study of the Monastic Diet in Theory and Practice.Carl Tobias Frayne - 2020 - Journal of Animal Ethics 10 (2):115.
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  11. Against Eating Humanely Raised Meat: Revisiting Fred's Basement.Jonathan Spelman - 2020 - Journal of Animal Ethics 10 (2):177-191.
    In “Puppies, Pigs, and People: Eating Meat and Marginal Cases,” Alastair Norcross (2004) uses a thought experiment he calls “Fred's Basement” to argue that consuming factory-farmed meat is morally equivalent to torturing and killing puppies in order to enjoy the taste of chocolate. Thus, he concludes that consuming factory-farmed meat is morally wrong. Although Norcross leaves open the possibility that consuming humanely raised meat is morally permissible, I contend that his basic argumentative approach rules it out. In this article, therefore, (...)
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  12. Animal Research, Safeguards, and Lessons From the Long History of Judicial Torture.Adam Clulow & Jan Lauwereyns - 2020 - Journal of Animal Ethics 10 (2):103.
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  13. Vegan Parents and Children: Zero Parental Compromise.Carlo Alvaro - 2020 - Ethics and Education (4):476-498.
    Marcus William Hunt argues that when co-parents disagree over whether to raise their child (or children) as a vegan, they should reach a compromise as a gift given by one parent to the other out of respect for his or her authority. Josh Millburn contends that Hunt’s proposal of parental compromise over veganism is unacceptable on the ground that it overlooks respect for animal rights, which bars compromising. However, he contemplates the possibility of parental compromise over ‘unusual eating,’ of animal-based (...)
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  14. Haben Tiere ein phänomenales Bewusstsein? Zwei repräsentationalistische Antworten.Yuliya Fadeeva - 2013 - Shaker.
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  15. Healing the Wounds of Marine Mammals by Protecting Their Habitat.G. Notarbartolo di Sciara & E. Hoyt - 2020 - Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics 20:15-23.
    Important marine mammal areas —‘discrete habitat areas, important for one or more marine mammal species, that have the potential to be delineated and managed for conservation’ —were introduced in 2014 by the IUCN Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force to support marine mammal and wider ocean conservation. IMMAs provide decision-makers with a user-friendly, actionable tool to inform them of the whereabouts of habitat important for marine mammal survival. However, in view of their non-prescriptive, evidence-based and biocentric nature, the conservation effectiveness (...)
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  16. Conscious Matter and Matters of Conscience.Matthew Owen - 2020 - Philosophia Christi 22 (1):145-156.
    In recent decades consciousness science has become a prominent field of research. This essay analyzes the most recent book by a leading pioneer in the scientific study of consciousness. In the The Feeling of Life Itself Christof Koch presents the integrated information theory and applies it to multiple pressing topics in consciousness studies. This essay considers the philosophical basis of the theory and Koch’s application of it from neurobiology to animal ethics.
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  17. Healing the Wounds of Marine Mammals by Protecting Their Habitat.G. N. di Sciara & E. Hoyt - forthcoming - Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics.
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  18. The Animal Body Multiple: Science, Religion, and the Invention of Halal Stunning.En‐Chieh Chao - 2020 - Zygon 55 (2):286-305.
    This article proposes a specific kind of ontological investigation in the field of science and religion. I argue that science and religion can create distinct practices that enact multiple realities, and thus they should be seen as more than different views of the same world. By analyzing the details of scientific experiments crucial for the invention of halal stunning, I demonstrate that religion and science are both permeable to the social, the biological, and to each other, and that seemingly incommensurable (...)
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  19. The Ethics of Eating Animals: Usually Bad, Sometimes Wrong, Often Permissible.Bob Fischer - 2020 - New York, NY, USA: Routledge.
    Intensive animal agriculture wrongs many, many animals. Philosophers have argued, on this basis, that most people in wealthy Western contexts are morally obligated to avoid animal products. This book explains why the author thinks that’s mistaken. He reaches this negative conclusion by contending that the major arguments for veganism fail: they don’t establish the right sort of connection between producing and eating animal-based foods. Moreover, if they didn’t have this problem, then they would have other ones: we wouldn’t be obliged (...)
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  20. Journal of Animal Ethics. [REVIEW]Jeremy D. Yunt - 2020 - Journal of Animal Ethics 10:93-96.
    A review of Abbey-Anne Smith's book "Animals in Tillich's Philosophical Theology.".
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  21. Animal Labour. A New Frontier of Interspecies Justice? Charlotte E. Blattner, Kendra Coulter, and Will Kymlicka (Eds), 2019. Oxford, Oxford University Press. 256pp, £65. [REVIEW]Luigi Lonardo - forthcoming - Journal of Applied Philosophy.
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  22. The Value of Being Wild: A Phenomenological Approach to Wildlife Conservation.Adam Cruise - 2020 - Dissertation, University of Stellenbosch
    Given that one-million species are currently threatened with extinction and that humans are undermining the entire natural infrastructure on which our modern world depends (IPBES, 2019), this dissertation will show that there is a need to provide an alternative approach to wildlife conservation, one that avoids anthropocentrism and wildlife valuation on an instrumental basis to provide meaningful and tangible success for both wildlife conservation and human well-being in an inclusive way. In this sense, The Value of Being Wild will showcase (...)
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  23. Making Veterinary Ethics More Ethical.John Rossi - 2020 - Journal of Animal Ethics 10 (1):73.
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  24. A Critique of Some Appeals to Science in Animal Ethics.Thomas Lepeltier - 2020 - Journal of Animal Ethics 10 (1):33.
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  25. The Attribution of Limited Legal Personality to Nonhuman Species.Veerle Platvoet - 2020 - Journal of Animal Ethics 10 (1):49.
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  26. Secondary Victimization of Animals in Criminal Procedure: Lessons From Switzerland.Charlotte E. Blattner - 2020 - Journal of Animal Ethics 10 (1):1.
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  27. The Unnaturalness Objection to De-Extinction: A Critical Evaluation.Carolyn Mason - 2017 - Animal Studies Journal 6 (1):40-60.
    The Unnaturalness Objection to De-Extinction: A Critical Evaluation Carolyn Mason, University of Canterbury, New Zealand Abstract De-extinction of species has been criticised for being unnatural, as have the techniques that might be used to accomplish de-extinction. This objection of unnaturalness will be dismissed by those who claim that everything that humans do is natural, by those who claim that naturalness is a social construct, and by those who argue that ethical concerns arising from considerations of unnaturalness rest on a failure (...)
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  28. Humus and Sky Gods: Partnership and Post/Humans in Genesis 2 and the Chthulucene.Scott Midson - 2019 - Sophia 58 (4):689-698.
    The relationship between humans and animals is a contentious issue in a range of disciplines. In theology, stories of creation tend to indicate a sense of human difference from animals, as humans are made in the image of God and are given ‘dominion’ over their fellow creatures. Donna Haraway has picked up on the ethical ramifications of these mythologies by critiquing them in her latest book detailing the ‘chthulucene’, which contains her proposals for responsible co-living with other species. But in (...)
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  29. How to Tell If Animals Can Understand Death.Susana Monsó - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-20.
    It is generally assumed that humans are the only animals who can possess a concept of death. However, the ubiquity of death in nature and the evolutionary advantages that would come with an understanding of death provide two prima facie reasons for doubting this assumption. In this paper, my intention is not to defend that animals of this or that nonhuman species possess a concept of death, but rather to examine how we could go about empirically determining whether animals can (...)
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  30. Don’T Demean “Invasives”: Conservation and Wrongful Species Discrimination.C. E. Abbate & Bob Fischer - 2019 - Animals 871 (9).
    It is common for conservationists to refer to non-native species that have undesirable impacts on humans as “invasive”. We argue that the classification of any species as “invasive” constitutes wrongful discrimination. Moreover, we argue that its being wrong to categorize a species as invasive is perfectly compatible with it being morally permissible to kill animals—assuming that conservationists “kill equally”. It simply is not compatible with the double standard that conservationists tend to employ in their decisions about who lives and who (...)
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  31. Why Kant Animals Have Rights?Alexander Howell - 2019 - Journal of Animal Ethics 9 (2):137.
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  32. Investigating the Elasticity of Meat Consumption for Climate Mitigation: 4Rs for Responsible Meat Use.Sophia Efstathiou - 2019 - In Eija Vinnari & Markus Vinnari (eds.), Sustainable Governance and Management of Food Systems: Ethical Perspectives. Wageningen, Netherlands: pp. 19-25.
    Our main research question is how pliable Norwegian meat consumption practices are. However it is not any type of elasticity we are interested in. We are specifically interested in the scope for what we dub the “4Rs” of responsible meat consumption within existing food systems: 1. Reducing the amount of animal-based proteins used 2. Replacing animal-based protein with plant-based, or insect-based alternatives 3. Refining processes of utilization of animal-based protein to minimize emissions, loss and waste 4. Recognising animal-based protein as (...)
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  33. Food, Animals, and the Environment: An Ethical Approach; By Christopher Schlottmann and Jeff Sebo. [REVIEW]Kyle Johannsen - 2019 - Philosophy in Review 39 (4):206-8.
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  34. In Search of Pedigrees: Why Do We Harm the Dogs We Love?Randall Lockwood - 2019 - Journal of Animal Ethics 9 (2):220.
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  35. Are Zoos and Aquariums Justifiable? A Utilitarian Evaluation of Two Prominent Arguments.Stephen Bennett - 2019 - Journal of Animal Ethics 9 (2):177.
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  36. A Critique of the Cultural Defense of Animal Cruelty.Elisa Galgut - 2019 - Journal of Animal Ethics 9 (2):184.
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  37. Consequentialism and Thought Experiments in Philosophy Comes to Dinner.Robert Lazo - 2019 - Journal of Animal Ethics 9 (2):212.
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  38. Does In Vitro Meat Constitute Animal Liberation?Nathan Poirier & Joshua Russell - 2019 - Journal of Animal Ethics 9 (2):199.
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  39. Can “Conservation Hunting” Be Ethically Justified?Matthew Colin Sayce - 2019 - Journal of Animal Ethics 9 (2):170.
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  40. Eternal Mirroring: Charles Patterson's Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust.Natalie Woodward - 2019 - Journal of Animal Ethics 9 (2):158.
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  41. The Recognition of Animal Sentience by the Law.Charlotte E. Blattner - 2019 - Journal of Animal Ethics 9 (2):121.
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  42. Why Kant Animals Have Rights?Alex Howe - 2019 - Journal of Animal Ethics 9 (2):137.
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  43. Genealogical Relationships Do Not Support Indirect Speciesism.Josh Mund - 2019 - Journal of Animal Ethics 9 (2):143.
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  44. Adapting to Climate Change: What We Owe to Other Animals.Angie Pepper - 2019 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 36 (4):592-607.
    In this article, I expand the existing discourse on climate justice by drawing out the implications of taking animal rights seriously in the context of human-induced climate change. More specifically, I argue that nonhuman animals are owed adaptive assistance to help them cope with the ill-effects of climate change, and I advance and defend four principles of climate justice that derive from a general duty of adaptation. Lastly, I suggest that even if one can successfully argue that the protection of (...)
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  45. The Ethics of Cloning Horses in Polo in Advance.Francisco Javier Lopez Frias & Cesar R. Torres - forthcoming - International Journal of Applied Philosophy.
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  46. Stopping Hard, for a Girl [Part One].Paul Bali - unknown
    contents -/- 1. can sexual decadence lead to extinction? 2. sex plugs a man into a feminine system 3. stopping hard, for a girl 4. Venus in Furs 5. a Hero saves Helen from blame - so condescends .
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  47. A Conceptual Approach for a Quantitative Economic Analysis of Farmers’ Decision-Making Regarding Animal Welfare.É Gocsik, H. W. Saatkamp, C. C. de Lauwere & A. G. J. M. Oude Lansink - 2014 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 27 (2):287-308.
    Decisions related to animal welfare standards depend on farmer’s multiple goals and values and are constrained by a wide range of external and internal forces. The aim of this paper is twofold, i.e., to develop a theoretical framework for farmers’ AW decisions that incorporates farmers’ goals, use and non-use values and to present an approach to empirically implement the theoretical framework. The farmer as a head of the farm household makes choices regarding production to maximize the utility of the household. (...)
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  48. Bodily Violence, Agency, and Animals.Zi Lin - 2019 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 36 (2):233-247.
    Ethical theories in the Kantian tradition tend to centre heavily on rational agency, so it may appear challenging for such theories to account for the wrongness of bodily violence, especially the wrongness of bodily violence to animals who lack rationality. This article develops a Kantian explanation for the pro tanto wrongness of killing or injuring animals who have agency and lack rationality, based on a Kantian explanation for the pro tanto wrongness of killing or injuring people. Even though morality is (...)
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  49. Mary Midgley: An Introduction.Gregory McElwain - 2020 - London, UK: Bloomsbury Academic Press.
    For over 40 years, Mary Midgley made a forceful case for the relevance and importance of philosophy. With characteristic wit and wisdom, she drew special attention to the ways in which our thought influences our everyday lives. Her wide-ranging explorations of human nature and the self; our connections with animals and the natural world; and the complexities of morality, gender, science, and religion all contributed to her reputation as one of the most expansive and compelling moral philosophers of the twentieth (...)
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  50. Individuals in the Wild.Bob Fischer - 2018 - Animal Sentience 23 (8).
    If many wild animals have net negative lives, then we have to consider how likely it is that the good for animals, considered as individuals, aligns with the good for species, or the climate, or the preservation of wild spaces.
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