The Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare are Rights

Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 27 (4):649-662 (2014)
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In this paper I defend a theory of welfare rights for nonhuman animals. I do this by demonstrating that a well-established framework for protecting the interests of farm animals, the ‘Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare’, is already functioning just as a set of rights. To support this claim I adopt a common approach to detecting evidence for deontological reasoning and look at the structural features of rights. I first consider Hohfeld’s system of legal rights and consider whether the Five Freedoms may be understood as liberties or claim rights, before making a more successful comparison with side constraints and an interest theory of rights as understood by Nozick and Raz. I also respond to a likely objection that it is not possible to have some welfare rights without a right to freedom from exploitation. The argument therefore contributes to breaking down the stubborn division between ‘animal welfare’ and ‘animal rights’.



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Clare McCausland
University of Melbourne

References found in this work

Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - New York: Basic Books.
A Theory of Justice: Revised Edition.John Rawls - 1999 - Harvard University Press.
The case for animal rights.Tom Regan - 1985 - In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Exploring ethics: an introductory anthology. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 425-434.
On human rights.James Griffin - 2008 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The Case for Animal Rights.Tom Regan & Mary Midgley - 1986 - The Personalist Forum 2 (1):67-71.

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