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. 'Other Animal Ethics' and the Demand for Difference.E. Aaltola - 2002 - Environmental Values 11 (2):193-209.
    Traditionally animal ethics has criticised the anthropocentric worldview according to which humans differ categorically from the rest of the nature in some morally relevant way. It has claimed that even though there are differences, there are also crucial similarities between humans and animals that make it impossible to draw a categorical distinction between humans who are morally valuable and animals which are not. This argument, according to which animals and humans share common characteristics that lead to moral value, is at (...)
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  2. Review Animals and the Human Imagination: A Companion to Animal Studies Gross Aaron Valley Anne Columbia University Press New York, NY.Elisa Aaltola - 2014 - Journal of Animal Ethics 4 (2):102-104.
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  3. Review Thinking Animals: Why Animal Studies Now? Weil Kari Columbia University Press New York, NY.Elisa Aaltola - 2014 - Journal of Animal Ethics 4 (1):109-110.
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  4. How to Help When It Hurts: The Problem of Assisting Victims of Injustice.Cheryl Abbate - 2016 - Journal of Social Philosophy 47 (2):142-170.
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  5. Comparing Lives and Epistemic Limitations: A Critique of Regan's Lifeboat From An Unprivileged Position.Cheryl E. Abbate - 2015 - Ethics and the Environment 20 (1):1-21.
    In The Case for Animal Rights, Tom Regan argues that although all subjects-of-a-life have equal inherent value, there are often differences in the value of lives. According to Regan, lives that have the highest value are lives which have more possible sources of satisfaction. Regan claims that the highest source of satisfaction, which is available to only rational beings, is the satisfaction associated with thinking impartially about moral choices. Since rational beings can bring impartial reasons to bear on decision making, (...)
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  6. Christ, The Animist.George Abbe - 1989 - Between the Species 5 (3):15.
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  7. Operation Mercy: The Parable of the Computer.George Abbe - 1989 - Between the Species 5 (1):10.
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  8. The Meat.George Abbe - 1989 - Between the Species 5 (4):12.
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  9. A Creature Like A Chorus.George Abbe - 1988 - Between the Species 4 (1):9.
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  10. The Actual Evolution.George Abbe - 1988 - Between the Species 4 (4):12.
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  11. The Horses of Retribution.George Abbe - 1988 - Between the Species 4 (4):14.
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  12. The Owl.George Abbe - 1988 - Between the Species 4 (3):6.
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  13. The Unfailing.George Abbe - 1988 - Between the Species 4 (2):12.
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  14. Conversation With A Cricket.George Abbe - 1987 - Between the Species 3 (4):10.
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  15. Negavit.George Abbe - 1986 - Between the Species 2 (1):13.
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  16. Affinity.George Abbe - 1985 - Between the Species 1 (1):214.
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  17. Matrix: A Vision.George Abbe - 1985 - Between the Species 1 (2):12.
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  18. Negavit: A Short Novel.George Abbe - 1985 - Between the Species 1 (3):13.
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  19. Person Earth.George Abbe - 1985 - Between the Species 1 (1):218.
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  20. Reincarnation.George Abbe - 1985 - Between the Species 1 (2):15.
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  21. Coniributing Editors.George Abbet, Steven F. Sapontzis & Jobn Stockwell - 1993 - Between the Species 9 (1).
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  22. Contribuitng Editors.George Abbet, Steven F. Sapontzis & John Stockwell - 1992 - Between the Species 8 (2).
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  23. Graphics Advisors.George Abbet, Steven F. Sapontzis, John Stockwell, George P. Cave, Stephen Clark, Michael J. Cohen, Michael W. Fox, Ann Cottrell Free, Richard Grossinger & Judith Hampson - 1992 - Between the Species 8 (3).
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  24. An Expert System for Cattle and Buffalo Health Management.Yasser Abdelhamid, S. El-Azhari, Hesham Hassan & Ahmed Rafea - forthcoming - Seventh International Conference on Ai Applications, Cairo, Egypt: Egyptian Computer Society (Egs).
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  25. Adolescents Care but Don’T Feel Responsible for Farm Animal Welfare.Siobhan M. Abeyesinghe, Jen Jamieson, Lucy Asher, David Allen, Matthew O. Parker, Christopher M. Wathes & Michael J. Reiss - 2015 - Society and Animals 23 (3):269-297.
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  26. Primers of Nonhuman Animal Ethics.Ralph Acampora - 2015 - Society and Animals 23 (2):193-196.
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  27. Review Animal Suffering: Philosophy and Culture Aaltola Elisa Palgrave Macmillan Basingstoke, England.Ralph Acampora - 2014 - Journal of Animal Ethics 4 (2):108-110.
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  28. Anthropocentrism and Its Discontents: The Moral Status of Animals in the History of Western Philosophy (Review).Ralph R. Acampora - 2006 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 44 (3):480-481.
    Ralph R. Acampora - Anthropocentrism and Its Discontents: The Moral Status of Animals in the History of Western Philosophy - Journal of the History of Philosophy 44:3 Journal of the History of Philosophy 44.3 480-481 Gary Steiner. Anthropocentrism and Its Discontents: The Moral Status of Animals in the History of Western Philosophy. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005. Pp. ix + 332. Cloth, $37.50. In this text Steiner surveys the history of doctrines, attitudes, and beliefs about the ethical standing of (...)
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  29. The Particularity of Animals and of Jesus Christ.Margaret B. Adam - 2014 - Zygon 49 (3):746-751.
    Clough's theological account of animals critiques the familiar negative identification of animals as not-human. Instead, Clough highlights both the distinctive particularity of each animal as created by God and the shared fleshly creatureliness of human and nonhuman animals. He encourages Christians to recognize Jesus Christ as God enfleshed more than divinely human, and consequently to care for nonhuman animals as those who share with human animals in the redemption of all flesh. This move risks downplaying the possibilities for creaturely specific (...)
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  30. Abortion Rights and Animal Rights'.Carol Adams - 1991 - Between the Species 7 (4):181-189.
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  31. Ecofeminism and the Eating of Animals.Carol J. Adams - 1991 - Hypatia 6 (1):125 - 145.
    In this essay, I will argue that contemporary ecofeminist discourse, while potentially adequate to deal with the issue of animals, is now inadequate because it fails to give consistent conceptual place to the domination of animals as a significant aspect of the domination of nature. I will examine six answers ecofeminists could give for not including animals explicitly in ecofeminist analyses and show how a persistent patriarchal ideology regarding animals as instruments has kept the experience of animals from being fully (...)
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  32. Abū Bakr Al-Rāzī on Animals.Peter Adamson - 2012 - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 94 (3):249-273.
    Abū Bakr al-Rāzī (d. 925), a doctor known not only for his medical expertise but also for his notorious philosophical ideas, has not yet been given due credit for his ideas on the ethical treatment of animals. This paper explores the philosophical and theological background of his remarks on animal welfare, arguing that al-Rāzī did not (as has been claimed) see animals as possessing rational, intellectual souls like those of humans. It is also argued that al-Rāzī probably did not, as (...)
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  33. Help Between the Species Grow by Urging Your Local College Library to Subscribe.Graphics Advisors - 1992 - Between the Species 8 (1).
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  34. "A Commentary On Nelson's" Xenograft and Partial Affections".William Aiken - 1986 - Between the Species 2 (3):10.
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  35. Animal Suffering: An Evolutionary Approach.Gill Aitken - 2008 - Environmental Values 17 (2):165-180.
    Though much is written about animal suffering, little is said about the nature of suffering itself. Without any clarity about its conceptual nature, discussions concerning detection, prevention and reduction of suffering are seriously hampered. This paper considers – and rejects – some of the more usual understandings of suffering. Instead, an alternative understanding of suffering is proposed, namely that suffering is the experiencing of one's life as going badly. This notion is tied to the loss of individuals' central life projects. (...)
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  36. Rituals of Humans and Animals.C. S. Alcorta & R. Sosis - 2007 - In M. Bekoff (ed.), Encyclopedia of Human-Animal Relationships. Greenwood Press. pp. 2--599.
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  37. Cat Culture, Human Culture: An Ethnographic Study of a Cat Shelter.Janet M. Alger & Steven F. Alger - 1999 - Society and Animals 7 (3):199-218.
    This study explores the value of traditional ethnographic methods in sociology for the study of human-animal and animal-animal interactions and culture. Itargues that some measure of human-animal intersubjectivity is possible and that the method of participant observation is best suited to achieve this. Applying ethnographic methods to human-cat and cat-cat relationships in a no-kill cat shelter, the study presents initial findings; it concludes that the social structure of the shelter is the product of interaction both between humans and cats and (...)
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  38. Ethics, Law, and the Science of Fish Welfare.Colin Allen - 2012 - Between the Species 16 (1):7.
    Fish farming is one of the fastest growing sectors of agriculture, attracting considerable attention to the question of whether existing farming regulations and animal welfare laws are adequate to deal with the expanding role of fish in feeding humans. The role of fish as model organisms in scientific research is also expanding -- a majority of research biology departments now keep zebrafish for the purposes of genome biology, and they are used widely used for basic neuroscience research. However, due to (...)
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  39. Animal Pain.Colin Allen - 2004 - Noûs 38 (4):617–643.
    Which nonhuman animals experience conscious pain?1 This question is central to the debate about animal welfare, as well as being of basic interest to scientists and philosophers of mind. Nociception—the capacity to sense noxious stimuli—is one of the most primitive sensory capacities. Neurons functionally specialized for nociception have been described in invertebrates such as the leech Hirudo medicinalis and the marine snail Aplysia californica (Walters 1996). Is all nociception accompanied by conscious pain, even in relatively primitive animals such as Aplysia, (...)
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  40. Letter to the Editor: The Function of Animal Ethics Committee.David G. Allen & Rebecca Halligan - 2013 - Between the Species 16 (1):1.
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  41. Review of Slaves of Our Affection: The Myth of the Happy Pet. [REVIEW]Katherine Allen - unknown
    This article reviews Charles Danten’s Slaves of Our Affection: the Myth of the Happy Pet, outlining and evaluating Danten’s arguments for the abolition of the pet trade. The review delineates Danten’s main points; that the commodification of companion animals is antithetical to their welfare, that veterinarians, pet food manufacturers and breeders serve the dictates of the economic bottom line rather than the interests of animals, and that the majority of pet owners, while well-intentioned, are ill-equipped to meet the physiological and (...)
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  42. The Ethics of Consensual Cannibalism : Deconstructing the Human-Animal Dichotomy.Nicole Anderson - unknown
    How can anyone consent to being eaten? This was, and still is, a common question and response to the cannibalism case that took place in Germany in 2001. It was a case that took 6 years to resolve because the notion of 'consent' entailed, at the time, legal and moral complications.
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  43. Ape Autonomy? Social Norms and Moral Agency in Other Species.Kristin Andrews - 2013 - In Klaus Petrus & Markus Wild (eds.), Philosophical Perspectives on Animals: Mind, Ethics, Morals. Transcript. pp. 173-196.
    Once upon a time, not too long ago, the question about apes and ethics had to do with moral standing—do apes have interests or rights that humans ought to respect? Given the fifty years of research on great ape cognition, life history, social organization, and behavior, the answer to that question seems obvious. Apes have emotions and projects, they can be harmed, and they have important social relationships.
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  44. From the Collection of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ... Short Stories [and Tracts].Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty To Animals - 1837
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  45. Does Lack of Enrichment Invalidate Scientific Data Obtained From Rodents by Compromising Their Welfare?L. Ann - 2012 - Between the Species 15 (1):2.
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  46. Equality, Flourishing, and the Problem of Predation.Baril Anne - 2016 - In Engel Jr & Gary Lynn Comstock (eds.), The Moral Rights of Animals. Lexington Books. pp. 81-103.
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  47. Farming Animals and the Capabilities Approach: Understanding Roles and Responsibilities Through Narrative Ethics.Raymond Anthony - 2009 - Society and Animals 17 (3):257-278.
    In the Proceedings that emerged from the Second International Workshop on the Assessment of Animal Welfare at Farm and Group Level, Sandoe, Christiansen, & Appleby challenged participants to ponder four fundamental questions:a. What is the baseline standard for morally acceptable animal welfare?b. What is a good animal life?c. What farming purposes are legitimate?d. What kinds of compromises are acceptable in a less-than-perfect world?Continued reflection on those questions warrants examination of the shape of our modern agricultural ethic. It also calls for (...)
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  48. What Should We Do About Animal Welfare?M. C. Appleby - 1999
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  49. Animal Welfare.Michael Appleby, Barry Hughes, Joy Mench & Anna Ollson (eds.) - 2011 - CABI International.
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  50. Dilemmas in Animal Welfare.Michael Appleby, Dan Weary & Peter Sandoe (eds.) - 2014 - CABI International.
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