Obligations to animals are based on rights

Some feminist philosophers criticize the idea of human rights because, they allege, it encapsulates male bias; it is therefore misguided, in their view, to extend moral rights to non-human animals. I argue that the feminist criticism is misguided. Ideas are not biased in favour of men simply because they originate with men, nor are ideas themselves biased in favour of men because men have used them prejudicially. As for the position that women should abandon theories of rights and embrace an ethic that emphasizes care: women who made this choice would not so much liberate themselves from the patriarchy as they would conform to its representation of women as emotional, subjective and irrational. There is, then, no good reason to withhold ascribing rights to non-human animals, based on the criticisms of rights made by some feminists.
Keywords feminist philosophy  human rights  animal rights  patriarchy  women  an ethic of care
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DOI 10.1007/BF02251881
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