This volume brings together essays by seminal figures and rising stars in the fields of animal ethics and moral theory to analyze and evaluate the moral status of non-human animals, with a special focus on the question of whether or not animals have moral rights. Though wide-ranging in many ways, these fourteen original essays and one reprinted essay direct significant attention to both the main arguments for animal rights and the biggest challenges to animal rights. This volume explores the question (...) of whether or not animals have moral rights through a number of different lenses, including classical deontology, libertarianism, commonsense morality, virtue ethics, and utilitarianism. The volume also addresses what are undoubtedly the most serious challenges to the strong animal rights position, which maintains that animals have moral rights equal in strength to the rights of humans, including challenges posed by rights nihilism, the ‘kind’ argument against animal rights, the problem of predation, and the comparative value of lives. In addition, the volume explores the practical import of animal rights both from a social policy standpoint and from the standpoint of personal ethical decisions concerning what to eat and whether or not to hunt animals. Unlike other volumes on animal rights, which focus primarily on the legal rights of animals, and unlike other anthologies on animal ethics, which tend to cover a wide variety of topics but only devote a few articles to each topic, the volume under consideration is focused exclusively on the question of whether or not animals have moral rights and the practical import of such rights. (shrink)
With his 1998 book, In Nature’s Interests? Gary Varner proved to be one of our most original and trenchant of environmental ethicists. Here, in the first of a promised two volume set, he makes his mark on another field, animal ethics, leaving an even deeper imprint. Thoroughly grounded in the relevant philosophical and scientific literatures, Varner is as precise in analysis as he is wide-ranging in scope. His writing is clear and rigorous, and he explains philosophical nuances with extraordinary (...) economy of expression. Never one to add an unnecessary clause to a sentence, Varner nonetheless constructs a formidable edifice while always dealing fairly with the authors he criticizes. His explication of the properties and moral status of what he calls near-persons is a crucial addition to the discussion of personhood initiated by Parfit in Reasons and Persons and subsequently applied to animals by McMahan in The Ethics of Killing. The comparison to McMahan is intentional for, to my mind, Varner vies with him as the most important animal ethicist since Singer and Regan. (shrink)
I argue for the moral relevance of a category of individuals I characterize as far-persons. Following Gary Varner, I distinguish near-persons, animals with a " robust autonoetic consciousness " but lacking an adult human's " biographical sense of self, " from the merely sentient, those animals living "entirely in the present." I note the possibility of a third class. Far-persons lack a biographical sense of self, possess a weak autonoetic consciousness, and are able to travel mentally through time a (...) distance that exceeds the capacities of the merely sentient. Far-persons are conscious of and exercise control over short-term cognitive states, states limited by their temporal duration. The animals in question, human and nonhuman, consciously choose among various strategies available to them to achieve their ends, making them subjects of what I call "lyrical experience:" brief and potentially intense pleasures and pains. But their ends expire minute-by-minute, not stretching beyond, I say metaphorically, the present hour. I conclude by discussing the moral status of far-persons. (shrink)
In December 2013, the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) filed a petition for a common law writ of habeas corpus in the New York State Supreme Court on behalf of Tommy, a chimpanzee living alone in a cage in a shed in rural New York (Barlow, 2017). Under animal welfare laws, Tommy’s owners, the Laverys, were doing nothing illegal by keeping him in those conditions. Nonetheless, the NhRP argued that given the cognitive, social, and emotional capacities of chimpanzees, Tommy’s confinement constituted (...) a profound wrong that demanded remedy by the courts. Soon thereafter, the NhRP filed habeas corpus petitions on behalf of Kiko, another chimpanzee housed alone in Niagara Falls, and Hercules and Leo, two chimpanzees held in research facilities at Stony Brook University. Thus began the legal struggle to move these chimpanzees from captivity to a sanctuary, an effort that has led the NhRP to argue in multiple courts before multiple judges. The central point of contention has been whether Tommy, Kiko, Hercules, and Leo have legal rights. To date, no judge has been willing to issue a writ of habeas corpus on their behalf. Such a ruling would mean that these chimpanzees have rights that confinement might violate. Instead, the judges have argued that chimpanzees cannot be bearers of legal rights because they are not, and cannot be persons. In this book we argue that chimpanzees are persons because they are autonomous. (shrink)
GaryComstock considers whether it is ethically justified to pursue genetically modified (GM) crops and foods. He first considers intrinsic objections to GM crops that allege that the process of making GMOs is objectionable in itself. He argues that there is no justifiable basis for the objections — i.e. GM crops are not intrinsically ethically problematic. He then considers extrinsic objections to GM crops, including objections based on the precautionary principle, which focus on the potential harms that may (...) result from the adoption of GM organisms. He argues that these concerns have some merit. However, they do not justify giving up GM crops altogether. Instead, they require that GM crops be developed carefully and with appropriate oversight. Comstock then presents the positive case for GM crops that he endorses. It is based on three considerations: (i) the right of people to choose to adopt GM technology; (ii) the balance of likely benefits over harms to consumers and the environment from GM technology; and (iii) the wisdom of encouraging discovery, innovation, and careful regulation of GM technology. (shrink)
. Undoubtedly, multinational corporations must play a significant role in the advancement of global ecological ethics. Our research offers a glimpse into the process of how goals of ecological sustainability in one multinational corporation can trickle down through the organization via the sustainability support behaviors of supervisors. We asked the question “How do supervisors in a multinational corporation internalize their corporation’s commitment to ecological sustainability and, in turn, behave in ways that convey this commitment to their subordinates?” In response, we (...) created a theoretical framework for supervisor sustainability support behavior based on Stern et al., Human Ecology Review 6(2), 81-97 (1999) value-belief-norm (VBN) theory. We then tested our framework by performing a survey-based field study of supervisors in a multinational pharmaceutical company that has publicly professed a goal of ecological sustainability. (shrink)
Should the law recognize an elephant’s right to be released from solitary confinement? The New York State Court of Appeals—the highest court in the State of New York—will consider this question on May 18. At issue is an Asian elephant named Happy. But happy she is not. Every human being has a right to bodily liberty because they have strong interests that this right protects. Since Happy has the same strong interests, the Court should recognize Happy’s right to be freed (...) from solitary confinement. (shrink)
This chapter concerns the role accorded to animals in the theories of the English-speaking philosophers who created the field of environmental ethics in the latter half of the twentieth century. The value of animals differs widely depending upon whether one adopts some version of Holism (value resides in ecosystems) or some version of Animal Individualism (value resides in human and nonhuman animals). I examine this debate and, along the way, highlight better and worse ways to conduct ethical arguments. I explain (...) that two kinds of appeals (which I call intuition and reductio) are questionable foundations for environmental ethics and that representatives of both schools occasionally appeal unhelpfully to intuition or caricature the commitments of the other side. I review two stronger arguments for Ecoholism (inference and eco-organisms) and show that they have performed a useful function in environmental ethics. Ultimately, however, both arguments fail because their proponents are unable to answer four critical objections: weakness of will, no eco-organisms, no teleology, and is/ought. I then show that Animal Individualism operates on more secure footing when it comes to philosophical and scientific assumptions. I also propose that Animal Individualism is more likely to prove effective in establishing progressive environmental policies insofar as it builds on existing legal concepts, especially the concept of moral rights, and political institutions, such as democratic states. I note that wild animals are not inherently more valuable than domestic animals and, finally, offer a brief outline of an animal rights environmental ethic. (shrink)
We argue on consequentialist grounds for the transfer of Sandai, an orangutan, to an orangutan sanctuary. First, we show that satisfying his interest in being transferred brings far greater value than the value achieved by keeping him confined. Second, we show that he has the capacities sufficient for personhood. Third, we show that all persons have a right to relative liberty insofar as they have interests they can exercise only under conditions of relative liberty. Fourth, we show that individuals need (...) not be able to assume social obligations and duties in order to be rights holders. -/- Our argument reflects commitments, as we say, to consequentialist reasoning about moral problems. However, we note that influential representatives of the other dominant ethical traditions—the deontological and Aristotelian traditions—reach our conclusion, too. It makes no difference, in this instance, which ethical theory one adopts. Under all of them, Sandai is a person with an interest in relative liberty entitled to habeas corpus protection. (shrink)
Crump et al.’s contribution to assessing whether decapods feel pain raises an important question: Is pain distributed unevenly across the order? The case for pain appears stronger in Pleocyemata than in Dendrobranchiata. Some studies report pain avoidance behaviors in Dendrobranchiata (Penaeidae) shrimp, but further studies are needed to determine whether the chemicals used are acting as analgesics to relieve pain, or as soporifics to reduce overall alertness. If the latter, the most farmed shrimp species may not require the same level (...) of protection as crabs, crayfish, and lobsters. (shrink)
In the voluminous literature on the subject of bovine growth hormone (bGH) we have yet to find an attempt to frame the issue in specifically moral terms or to address systematically its ethical implications. I argue that there are two moral objections to the technology: its treatment of animals, and its dislocating effects on farmers. There are agricultural biotechnologies that deserve funding and support. bGH is not one of them.
Should people include beef in their diet? This chapter argues that the answer is “no” by reviewing what is known and not known about the presence in cattle of three psychological traits: pain, desire, and self-consciousness. On the basis of behavioral and neuroanatomical evidence, the chapter argues that cattle are sentient beings who have things they want to do in the proximal future, but they are not self-conscious. The piece rebuts three important objections: that cattle have injury information but not (...) pain; that cattle have goal-directed behavior but not desire; and that the absence of evidence for bovine self-consciousness should not be taken as evidence that cattle lack self-consciousness. In sum, what is known about cattle cognition shifts the moral burden of proof on to the beef eaters. (shrink)
Experimenters claim some nonhuman mammals have metacognition. If correct, the results indicate some animal minds are more complex than ordinarily presumed. However, some philosophers argue for a deflationary reading of metacognition experiments, suggesting that the results can be explained in first-order terms. We agree with the deflationary interpretation of the data but we argue that the metacognition research forces the need to recognize a heretofore underappreciated feature in the theory of animal minds, which we call Unity. The disparate mental states (...) of an animal must be unified if deflationary accounts of metacognition are to hold and untoward implications avoided. Furthermore, once Unity is acknowledged, the deflationary interpretation of the experiments reveals an elevated moral standing for the nonhumans in question. (shrink)
A corporate culture strengthened by ethical values and other positive business practices likely yields more favorable employee work responses. Thus, the purpose of this study was to assess the degree to which perceived corporate ethical values work in concert with group creativity to influence both job satisfaction and turnover intention. Using a self-report questionnaire, information was collected from 781 healthcare and administrative employees working at a multi-campus education-based healthcare organization. Additional survey data was collected from a comparative convenience sample of (...) 127 sales and marketing employees working for a variety of firms operating in the south-central United States. The results indicated that group creativity and corporate ethical values were positively related, and that both variables were associated with increased job satisfaction. Conversely, corporate ethical values and job satisfaction were associated with decreased turnover intention. Sales managers should create work cultures that precipitate increased ethical values and group creativity, and suggestions about how they may institutionalize these factors are provided. (shrink)
We present ethical reasons that the court should grant the Nonhuman Rights Project’s (NhRP) request for habeas corpus relief for Happy, an elephant. Happy has a basic interest in not being confined, an interest that should be legally protected just as the human interest in not being confined is legally protected. Since the decision in The Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc. v Breheny failed to weigh Happy’s interests properly, we ask this body to correct the error.
We submit this brief in support of the Nonhuman Rights Project’s efforts to secure habeas corpus relief for the elephant named Happy. The Supreme Court, Bronx County, declined to grant habeas corpus relief and order Happy’s transfer to an elephant sanctuary, relying, in part, on previous decisions that denied habeas relief for the NhRP’s chimpanzee clients, Kiko and Tommy. Those decisions use incompatible conceptions of ‘person’ which, when properly understood, are either philosophically inadequate or, in fact, compatible with Happy’s personhood.
Education in the responsible conduct of research typically takes the form of online instructions about rules, regulations, and policies. Research Ethics takes a novel approach and emphasizes the art of philosophical decision-making. Part A introduces egoism and explains that it is in the individual's own interest to avoid misconduct, fabrication of data, plagiarism and bias. Part B explains contractualism and covers issues of authorship, peer review and responsible use of statistics. Part C introduces moral rights as the basis of informed (...) consent, the use of humans in research, mentoring, intellectual property and conflicts of interests. Part D uses two-level utilitarianism to explore the possibilities and limits of the experimental use of animals, duties to the environment and future generations, and the social responsibilities of researchers. This book brings a fresh perspective to research ethics and will engage the moral imaginations of graduate students in all disciplines. (shrink)
In the probing interviews in this vibrant new book, eminent scholars struggle with some of the most crucial issues facing contemporary intellectuals. Poststructuralist philosopher Judith Butler discusses the “pain” of rigorous intellectual work, saying that it is “necessarily extremely hard labor,” as she examines the intersection of discourse and political action. Award-winning filmmaker, philosopher, and social theorist David Theo Goldberg reviews his life’s work, especially on issues of racism. Literary critic and feminist philosopher Avital Ronell sets out to disrupt the (...) standard logic of signification, to force readers into fresh ways of perceiving a subject at hand. Postcolonial theorist Homi Bhabha discusses how critical literacy is intimately connected to the question of democratic representation, and he elaborates on how cultural difference can lead to a politics of discrimination. And neo-Marxist cultural critic Slavoj Žižek takes readers on an exhilarating journey through a wide range of critical subjects. (shrink)
This study assesses the relationships among unethical corporate values, bullying experiences, psychopathy, and selling professionals’ ethical evaluations of bullying. Information was collected from national/regional samples of selling professionals. Results indicated that unethical values, bullying, and psychopathy were positively interrelated. Psychopathy and unethical values were negatively associated with moral intensity, while moral intensity was positively related to ethical issue importance. Psychopathy and unethical values were negatively related to issue importance, and issue importance and moral intensity were positively related to ethical judgment. (...) Finally, ethical judgment and moral intensity were positively linked to ethical intention; psychopathy was negatively associated with ethical intention. (shrink)
Bovine growth hormone is a protein that occurs naturally in cattle. A chain of 190 amino acids, bGH is produced by the pituitary gland and helps to regulate a cow’s lactational cycle; generally speaking and up to a certain point, the more bGH a cow has, the more milk she gives. Using the techniques of genetic engineering, researchers at Monsanto Company have isolated the gene that produces the protein and devised low-cost techniques to manufacture it. Bacteria are placed into fermentation (...) chambers where they multiply rapidly; lab technicians then extract and purify the final product, which is identical to the naturally occurring protein in 189 of the 190 amino acids; and the product is then injected into cows. (shrink)
This second edition of Life Science Ethics includes four essays not found in the first edition: -/- Richard Haynes on “Animals in Research” Stephen M. Gardiner on “Climate Change” Christopher Kelty on “Nanotechnology” GaryComstock on “Genetically Modified Foods” -/- and a revised and expanded version of the chapter on “Farms” in which Stephen Carpenter joins Charles Taliaferro as author. -/- In addition, Part III has been thoroughly revised with the goal of focusing attention on salient examples. Three (...) new case studies have been added: -/- Robert Streiffer and Sara Gavrell Ortiz on “Enviropigs” Donald F. Boesch, et al. on “Coastal Dead Zones” Deb Bennett-Woods on “Nanotechnology and Human Enhancement” -/- The first edition was praised for providing instructors with a stimulating text that will help students hone their critical thinking skills. That text is here enhanced with treatments of critical new issues, including global warming, nanotechnology, and the possibility that bioengineering may be able to change human nature. The new edition includes classroom discussion questions for use in provoking and guiding in-class discussions. Part I introduces ethics, the relationship of religion to ethics, how we assess ethical arguments, and a method ethicists use to reason about ethical theories. Part II demonstrates the relevance of ethical reasoning to the environment, land, farms, food, biotechnology, genetically modified foods, animals in agriculture and research, climate change, and nanotechnology. Part III presents case studies for the topics found in Part II. Two appendices include exercises to help students learn systematic ways of thinking through ethical dilemmas and notes for instructors using the book as a text. (shrink)
In this brief, we argue that there is a diversity of ways in which humans (Homo sapiens) are ‘persons’ and there are no non-arbitrary conceptions of ‘personhood’ that can include all humans and exclude all nonhuman animals. To do so we describe and assess the four most prominent conceptions of ‘personhood’ that can be found in the rulings concerning Kiko and Tommy, with particular focus on the most recent decision, Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc v Lavery.
Agricultural biotechnology refers to a diverse set of industrial techniques used to produce genetically modified foods. Genetically modified (GM) foods are foods manipulated at the molecular level to enhance their value to farmers and consumers. This book is a collection of essays on the ethical dimensions of ag biotech. The essays were written over a dozen years, beginning in 1988. When I began to reflect on the subject, ag biotech was an exotic, untested, technology. Today, in the first year of (...) the millenium, the vast majority of consumers in the United States have taken a bite of the apple. Milk produced by cows injected with a GM protein called recombinant bovine growth hormone (bGH), is found, unlabelled, on grocery shelves throughout the US. In 1999, half of the soybeans and cotton harvested in the US were GM varieties. Billions of dollars of public and private monies are being invested annually in biotech research, and commercial sales now reach into the tens of billions of dollars each year. Whereas ag biotech once promised to change American agriculture, it now is in the process of doing so. (shrink)
In this paper I argue for the following six claims: 1) The problem is that some think metacognition and consciousness are dissociable. 2) The solution is not to revive associationist explanations; 3) …nor is the solution to identify metacognition with Carruthers’ gatekeeping mechanism. 4) The solution is to define conscious metacognition; 5) … devise an empirical test for it in humans; and 6) … apply it to animals.
Of the theologians and philosophers now writing on biblical narrative, Hans Frei and Paul Ricoeur are probably the most prominent. It is significant that their views converge on important issues. Both are uncomfortable with hermeneutic theories that convert the text into an abstract philosophical system, an ideal typological structure, or a mere occasion for existential decision. Frei and Ricoeur seem knit together in a common enterprise; they appear to be building a single narrative theology. I argue that the appearance of (...) symmetry is an illusion. There is a fundamental conflict between the ‘pure narrativism’ of Frei and the ‘impure narrativism’ of Ricoeur. I give reasons for thinking that Ricoeur’s is the stronger position. (shrink)
What can neuroscience tell us, if anything, about the capacities of cows to think about the future? The question is important if having the right to a future requires the ability to think about one’s future. To think about one’s future involves the mental state of prospection, in which we direct our attention to things yet to come. I distinguish several kinds of prospection, identify the behavioral markers of future thinking, and survey what is known about the neuroanatomy of future-directed (...) bovine beliefs and desires. I suggest, in conclusion, that instead of asking whether a cow’s prospection is conscious, ask whether it is like ours—with “ours” understood to include all human beings. (shrink)
Let us call the deliberate modification of an individual’s genome to improve it or its progeny intentional genetic enhancement. Governments are almost certain to require that any proposed intentional genetic enhancement of a human (IGEH) be tested first on (what researchers call) animal “models.” Intentional genetic enhancement of animals (IGEA), then, is an ambiguous concept because it could mean one of two very different things: an enhancement made for the sake of the animal’s own welfare, or an enhancement made for (...) the sake of satisfying a human desire. In either case, experimental procedures are likely to entail substantial risks to the experimental animals. What rules should govern IGEA? I criticize the abolitionist conclusions of animal rightists—that no IGEA should be permitted—and I criticize the permissive conclusions of speciesists—that all IGEA should be permitted. Both views are unsatisfying. I suggest instead that current animal welfare law provides a defensible platform on which to begin building ethically justifiable policy in this area. (shrink)
Guardians of companion animals killed wrongfully in the U.S. historically receive compensatory judgments reflecting the animal’s economic value. As animals are property in torts law, this value typically is the animal’s fair market value—which is often zero. But this is only the animal’s value, as it were, to a stranger and, in light of the fact that many guardians value their animals at rates far in excess of fair market value, legislatures and courts have begun to recognize a second value, (...) the animal’s value to her guardian. What is this noneconomic value, and how should guardians be compensated for it? In Part 1, I propose a novel method to answer this question. My method includes a third, even more controversial, value: the animal’s value to herself. The idea that an animal could invest in herself faces many criticisms. In Part 2, I defend the claim by examining the mental capacities of dogs (Canis familiaris). I rebut the central objection—that dogs lack the psychological capacities required for self-investment—by showing that dogs are autonomous, think about their futures, and inhibit their desires in light of their goals. I close by suggesting that whereas the approach has conservative implications for the valuation of companion animals, it has radical implications for the valuation of agricultural animals. -/- Keywords: companion animals, animal law, legal theory, value theory, practical ethics, economic value, noneconomic value, intrinsic value, instrumental value, animal welfare, dogs, animal rights, capital value, self-investment value, autonomy, wrongful death, philosophy of animal law, animal minds, moral standing of animals, legal standing of animals, agency, prospection, canine neurobiology, bereavement, replaceability, non-ideal ethics . (shrink)
Recent advances in molecular genetics, plant physiology, and biochemistry have opened up the new biotechnology of herbicide resistant crops (HRCs). Herbicide resistant crops have been characterized as the solution for many environmental problems associated with modern crop production, being described as powerful tools for farmers that may increase production options. We are concerned that these releases are occurring in the absence of forethought about their impact on agroecosystems, the broader landscape, and the rural and urban economies and cultures. Many of (...) the benefits and risks associated with HRCs are not apparent to either the public, farmers, policy makers, or the scientific community. HRC technology raises moral issues in three areas: our duties toward the natural environment; our political and economic responsibilities to each other; and our communal character as one generation among many. We also need a rational basis on which to make evaluations of this new biotechnology. The technical aspects of their release require a logical guide to the ecological, environmental, and biological effects the release might have in sustainable agroecosystems. The initial step should include an assessment of the intrinsic qualities of the crop, the herbicide, and the resistance mechanisms. The second step should include an assessment of effects associated with population ecology, population genetics, environmental degradation, consumer health, and farm economic viability due to the resistant crop-herbicide pair. Herbicides have been used in crop production for nearly a half a century. There has been a tremendous increase in the use of these chemicals in that time. Society has seen the use of these chemicals not only help to feed many people, but also to bring costs not anticipated before the introduction of the chemicals. We need to draw on that long history of use and learn the lessons it can provide us as we approach the introduction and commercialization of the next generation of weed control technology, herbicide resistant crops. We also need to reflect on the lessons we missed during that half century because we spend more time imagining the possible benefits that would come from the technology than scrutinizing the possible harm. (shrink)
A common view of nonhuman animals is that they lack rights because they lack conscious control over themselves. Two thoughts put pressure on this view. First, we recognize the rights of radically cognitively limited humans even though they lack conscious control over themselves. So it would seem mere prejudice to deny rights to nonhuman mammals on the grounds that animals lack autonomy. Tom Regan has been the most eloquent, powerful, and resolute defender of this thought. Second, evidence is growing that (...) healthy adults exercise non-conscious control over themselves most of the time. To deny rights to animals on the grounds that they can only exercise non-conscious control over themselves while affirming the rights of humans who similarly exercise non-conscious control over themselves most of the time also seems prejudicial. Notice that whereas the first thought compares animals to neurally diverse, cognitively challenged humans the second thought compares animals to typically developing, normal humans. In this paper I argue that accumulating empirical data lend increasing support to the second thought. (shrink)