Animal rights, human wrongs

Environmental Ethics 2 (2):99-120 (1980)
In this essay, I explore the moral foundations of the treatment of animals. Alternative views are critically examined, including (a) the Kantian account, which holds that our duties regarding animals are actually indirect duties to humanity; (b) the cruelty account, which holds that the idea of cruelty explains why it is wrong to treat animals in certain ways; and (c) the utilitarian account, which holds that the value of consequences for all sentient creatures explains our duties to animals. These views are shown to be inadequate, the Kantian account because some of our duties regarding animals are direct duties to animals; the cruelty account because it confuses matters of motive or intent with the question of the rightness or wrongness of the agent’s actions; and the utilitarian account because it could be used to justifyidentifiable speciesistic practices. I defend a fourth view. Only if we postulate basic moral rights in the case of humans, can we satisfactorily account for why it is wrong to treat humans in certain ways, and it is only by postulating that these humans have inherent value that we can attribute to them basic moral rights. Consistency requires that we attribute this same kind of value to many animals. Their havinginherent value provides a similar basis for attributing certain basic moral rights to them, including the right not to be harmed. Possession of this right places the onus of justification on anyone who would harm these animals. I set forth conditions for such a justification which those who would abuse animals have failed to meet
Keywords Applied Philosophy  General Interest
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 0163-4275
DOI 10.5840/enviroethics19802225
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 30,248
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Thoughts and Oughts.Mason Cash - 2008 - Philosophical Explorations 11 (2):93 – 119.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
An Examination and Defense of One Argument Concerning Animal Rights.Tom Regan - 1979 - Inquiry : An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 22 (1-4):189 – 219.
The Rights of Humans and Other Animals.Tom Regan - 1997 - Ethics and Behavior 7 (2):103 – 111.
Duties to Companion Animals.Steve Cooke - 2011 - Res Publica 17 (3):261-274.
Duties Regarding Animals.Patrick Kain - 2010 - In Lara Denis (ed.), Kant's Metaphysics of Morals: A Critical Guide. Cambridge University Press. pp. 210--233.
Undermining Indirect Duty Theories.Robert Bass - 2006 - Between the Species (6):1.
Added to PP index

Total downloads
123 ( #40,783 of 2,192,214 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
14 ( #13,151 of 2,192,214 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature