Animal agriculture: Symbiosis, culture, or ethical conflict? [Book Review]

Abstract

Several writers on animal ethics defend the abolition of most or all animal agriculture, which they consider an unethical exploitation of sentient non-human animals. However, animal agriculture can also be seen as a co-evolution over thousands of years, that has affected biology and behavior on the one hand, and quality of life of humans and domestic animals on the other. Furthermore, animals are important in sustainable agriculture. They can increase efficiency by their ability to transform materials unsuitable for human consumption and by grazing areas that would be difficult to harvest otherwise. Grazing of natural pastures is essential for the pastoral landscape, an important habitat for wild flora and fauna and much valued by humans for its aesthetic value. Thus it seems that the environment gains substantially when animals are included in sustainable agricultural systems. But what about the animals themselves? Objections against animal agriculture often refer to the disrespect for animals’ lives, integrity, and welfare in present intensive animal production systems. Of the three issues at stake, neither integrity nor animal welfare need in principle be violated in carefully designed animal husbandry systems. The main ethical conflict seems to lie in the killing of animals, which is inevitable if the system is to deliver animal products. In this paper, we present the benefits and costs to humans and animals of including animals in sustainable agriculture, and discuss how to address some of the ethical issues involved.

Download options

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,694

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2009-01-28

Downloads
98 (#122,347)

6 months
1 (#388,311)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

References found in this work

Animal Liberation.Peter Singer (ed.) - 1977 - Avon Books.
The Case for Animal Rights.Tom Regan - 1983 - University of California Press, C1983.
Animal Liberation.Bill Puka & Peter Singer - 1977 - Philosophical Review 86 (4):557.
Least Harm: A Defense of Vegetarianism From Steven Davis's Omnivorous Proposal. [REVIEW]Gaverick Matheny - 2003 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 16 (5):505-511.
The Ethical Contract as a Tool in Organic Animal Husbandry.Vonne Lund, Raymond Anthony & Helena Röcklinsberg - 2004 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 17 (1):23-49.

View all 6 references / Add more references

Citations of this work

Concepts of Animal Health and Welfare in Organic Livestock Systems.Mette Vaarst & Hugo F. Alrøe - 2012 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 25 (3):333-347.
The Ethics and Sustainability of Capture Fisheries and Aquaculture.Mimi E. Lam - 2016 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 29 (1):35-65.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Sustainable Agriculture is Humane, Humane Agriculture is Sustainable.Michael C. Appleby - 2005 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 18 (3):293-303.
Popular Media and Animals.Claire Molloy - 2011 - Palgrave-Macmillan.
Animal Ethics: Toward an Ethics of Responsiveness.Kelly Oliver - 2010 - Research in Phenomenology 40 (2):267-280.
Transgenesis in Animal Agriculture: Addressing Animal Health and Welfare Concerns. [REVIEW]Michael Greger - 2011 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 24 (5):451-472.
Ethics and Farm Animal Welfare.J. F. Hurnik & Hugh Lehman - 1988 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 1 (4):305-318.
Attitudes to Animals: Views in Animal Welfare.Francine L. Dolins (ed.) - 1999 - Cambridge University Press.
Ethical Obligations of Veterinarians and Animal Scientists in Animal Agriculture.Bernard E. Rollin - 1989 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 2 (3):225-234.