Animal Disenhancement for Animal Welfare: The Apparent Philosophical Conundrums and the Real Exploitation of Animals. A Response to Thompson and Palmer [Book Review]

NanoEthics 6 (1):65-76 (2012)

Abstract
Abstract   In his paper “The Opposite of Human Enhancement: Nanotechnology and the Blind Chicken problem” ( Nanoethics 2: 305-36, 2008) Thompson argued that technological attempts to reduce or eliminate selected non-human animals’ capabilities (animal disenhancements) in order to solve or mitigate animal welfare problems in animals’ use pose a philosophical conundrum, because there is a contradiction between rational arguments in favor of these technological interventions and intuitions against them. In her response “Animal Disenhancement and the Non-Identity Problem: A Response to Thompson” ( Nanoethics 5:43–48, 2011), Palmer maintained that the philosophical conundrum is even deeper if we introduce the non-identity problem into the discussion. In my brief response, I claim that in order to avoid the pitfalls of speculative ethics, empirical facts related to the technologies involved as well as costs for the non-human animals have to be taken into account. Depending on which changes we are referring to, ethical problems can be seen very differently. Widening the consideration to the socio-economic context in which non-human animals are currently used by humans, I challenge the idea of genuine philosophical conundrums from an antispeciesist and abolitionist perspective. Only in a context of exploitation, in which non-human animals are deprived of basic rights and their existence is totally dependent on human exploitation, the contradictions between improvement of welfare and disenhancement of capabilities make sense. Content Type Journal Article Category Critical Discussion Notes Pages 1-12 DOI 10.1007/s11569-012-0139-1 Authors Arianna Ferrari, KIT/ITAS (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology/Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis), Karlsruhe, Germany Journal NanoEthics Online ISSN 1871-4765 Print ISSN 1871-4757
Keywords Ethics  Animal welfare  Animal rights  Abolitionism  Paul Thompson  Clare Palmer  Speculative ethics
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DOI 10.1007/s11569-012-0139-1
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The Case for Animal Rights.Tom Regan - 2009 - In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Noûs. Oxford University Press. pp. 425-434.
The Animal That Therefore I Am.Jacques Derrida - 2002 - Fordham University Press.

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