animal_rights - Introduction Animal ethics is a complex...

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Introduction Animal ethics is a complex subject. Rational argument about the right and wrong way to treat animals is made more difficult by the deep love that many of us feel for animals. For philosophers it raises fundamental questions about the basis of moral rights. So is there any statement of animal ethics that people on both sides might accept? The suggestion is that this is the most they could agree on: "Higher animals have a moral status and there are right and wrong ways of treating them." Animals and humans Throughout this section the term ' non-human animals' has been used for clarity, since the animal kingdom is often taken to include humanity. Human and animal identity The most difficult part of animal rights and welfare for human beings has been summed up by Colin McGinn: " is important to see that animals are not defined by their relation to us. Most animals, after all, have lived out their spans in sublime indifference to the habits of those odd chattering bipeds with the removable plumage. Even if we had never existed, they would still be here. We are just as accidental to them as they are to us." Social Research, Vol. 62, 1995 How far should we go? Most animal rights activists are concerned with preventing cruelty to animals - but should we go further? Does ensuring animal welfare require providing for animal happiness as well as eliminating suffering? Controversies The main controversies in animal ethics are these: Experiments on animals Rearing and killing animals for food Rearing and killing animals for fur/leather goods Hunting Entertainment Zoos Pet-keeping Bunny-hugging Supporters of animal rights are sometimes condemned as being 'bunny-huggers', driven by emotional attachment to the cuter members of the animal kingdom.
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This is unfair. Animal ethics has nothing to do with a sentimental love for animals - the case for animals can be made with great intellectual integrity. Furthermore, it is perfectly consistent to defend animal rights or argue that it's morally wrong to mistreat them, even if you actively dislike animals. Philosophical issues The issues of animal ethics include: Why do non-human animals deserve protection? Do non-human animals have rights? If they do have rights, why do they have rights? If they do have rights, what does this mean for humanity? Which non-human animals have rights? What's the difference between 'animal rights' and 'animal welfare' ? If non-human animals don't have rights, do they deserve protection anyway? How should we balance the relative interests of human and non-human animals? The morality of direct action to protect non-human animals Introduction to Animal Rights Animal rights versus animal welfare The difference between animal rights and animal welfare has been summed up like this: "Animal rights advocates are campaigning for no cages , while animal welfarists are campaigning for bigger cages ." Animal rights supporters believe that it is morally wrong to use or exploit animals in any
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animal_rights - Introduction Animal ethics is a complex...

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