About this topic
Summary

Broadly construed, animal ethics is an area of inquiry and debate that focuses on a variety of approaches to assessing the moral status of nonhuman animals. One of the main approaches in contemporary scholarship is deontological and argues for strict rights for animals on the grounds that they are subjects-of-a-life (Tom Regan) and thus possess inherent worth; such views often seek to expand Kant's ascription of inherent worth to rational agents so that it applies to all sentient beings. Other views, including those of some secular naturalists, seek to ascribe moral status to animals not on the basis of inherent worth but on the basis of capacities shared by all sentient beings. Another main approach encompasses a variety of views that tend to be "welfarist" in the sense that they do not seek to ascribe strict right to animals but instead argue that certain actions performed against animals (such as killing them or using them as sources of milk or eggs) are permissible as long as human beings perform them in a humane manner. Welfarist views are generally utilitarian in character, being based on calculations of the quantity of harm that can be done to a given living being, and they tend to assert hierarchies in which beings that are cognitively more sophisticated can be harmed in ways in which beings that are cognitively less sophisticated cannot; on the basis of such hierarchization, welfarist views typically ascribe moral superiority to human beings over nonhuman animals, although they also tend to avoid a speciesistic privileging of all human beings over all nonhuman animals on the grounds that some nonhuman animals are cognitively superior to some human beings. Thus thinkers such as Peter Singer argue that self-conscious beings have a stronger claim to life than non-self-conscious beings, where self-conscious beings are defined as those that can conceptualize the past, present, and future of their lives as one coherent whole. (Summary written by Gary Steiner and Erwin Lengauer)

Key works

Armstrong, Susan /  Botzler, Richard (ed.) ²2008. The Animal Ethics Reader - (AER). 2nd Edition. London; New York, NY, Routledge. 

Beauchamp, Tom L. / Frey, Raymond G. (eds.) 2011. The Oxford Handbook of Animal Ethics. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Bekoff, Marc (ed.) 2010. Encyclopedia of Animal Rights and Animal Welfare. 2 Volume Set. Santa Barbara, CA, Greenwood Press, Imprint of ABC - Clio. 

Cavalieri, Paola 2001. The Animal Question: Why Non-Human Animals Deserve Human Rights. Oxford, Oxford University Press. 

Chapouthier, Georges (ed.) 1998. The Universal Declaration of Animal Rights: Comments and Intentions. Paris, Ligue Francaise des Droit de l´Animal.

DeGrazia, David (1996). Taking Animals Seriously. Mental Life and Moral Status. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Dombrowski, Daniel A. 1997. Babies and Beasts: The Argument from Marginal Cases. Urbana, IL, University of Illinois Press.

Francione, Gary  2008. Animals as Persons: Essays on the Abolition of Animal Exploitation. New York, NY, Columbia University Press.

Garner, Robert 2005. The Political Theory of Animal Rights (Perspectives on Democratization). Manchester, Manchester University Press.

Kalof, Linda / Fitzgerald, Amy (eds.). 2007. The Animals Reader: The Essential Classic and Contemporary Writings. Oxford, Berg.  

Munro, Lyle 2005. Confronting Cruelty. Moral Orthodoxy and the Challenge of the Animal Rights Movement. Human-Animal Studies.  (Dissertation). Leiden, Brill Academic.     

Palmer, Clare (ed.) 2008. Animal Rights. Clare Palmer. Series: The International Library of Essays on Rights. Aldershot, GB, Ashgate Publishing Company.

Pluhar, Evelyn 1995. Beyond Prejudice. The Moral Significance of Human and Nonhuman Animals. Durham, NC, Duke University Press.

Regan, Tom 1983. The Case for Animal Rights. Berkeley, CA, University of California Press.

Rollin, Bernard  ²1992. Animal Rights and Human Morality. Amherst, Prometheus.

Rowlands, Mark ²2009. Animal Rights. Moral Theory and Practice. London, Macmillan Press.

Sapontzis, Steve F. 1987, ²1992. Morals, Reason and Animals. Philadelphia, PA, Temple University Press.

Singer, Peter 1975, ²1990. Animal Liberation. A New Ethics for our Treatment of Animals. New York, NY, New York Review of Book.

Singer, Peter (ed.) 2006. In Defense of Animals. The Second Wave. Malden, Blackwell.

Steiner, Gary 2008. Animals and the Moral Community: Mental Life, Moral Status, and Kinship. New York, NY, Columbia University Press.

Steiner, Gary. 2013. Animals and the Limits of Postmodernism. New York: Columbia University Press.

Introductions Regan, Tom 2001. Animals, treatment of. In: Becker, Lawrence (ed.). Encyclopedia of Ethics. New York, Routledge: 70-74 (on page 72 about Inherentism)

Regan, Tom ³2004. Animal Welfare and Rights. In:  Post, Stephen (ed.). Encyclopedia of Bioethics. 3. edition. New York, NY, Macmillan. E-Book Version

Wilson, Scott 2010. Animals and Ethics In: Fieser, James (ed.). Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Martin, TN, The University of Tennessee at Martin. –

Wise, Steve M. 2011. animal rights. Encyclopaedia Britannica: Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/25760/animal-rights 

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  1. Integrating Evolution into the Study of Animal Sentience.Walter Veit - 2022 - Animal Sentience 32 (30):1-4.
    Like many others, I see Crump et al. (2022) as a milestone for improving upon previous guidelines and for extending their framework to decapod crustaceans. Their proposal would benefit from a firm evolutionary foundation by adding the comparative measurement of life-history complexity as a ninth criterion for attributing sentience to nonhuman animals.
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  2. Review of Peter Godfrey-Smith’s Metazoa: Animal Minds and the Birth of Consciousness. [REVIEW]Walter Veit - 2022 - Philosophy of Science 89 (3):658 - 660.
  3. The importance of end-of-life welfare.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2022 - Animal Frontiers 12 (1):8–15.
    The conditions of transport and slaughter at the end of their lives are a major challenge to the welfare of agricultural animals. • End-of-life experiences should be of a greater ethical concern than others of similar intensity and duration, due to their position in the animal’s life. • End-of-life welfare can have both internal importance to the animals and external ethical importance to human decision-makers. • We should pay extra care to ensure that the conditions during transport and slaughter are (...)
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  4. The Scientific Study of Consciousness Cannot and Should Not Be Morally Neutral.Matan Mazor, Simon Brown, Anna Ciaunica, Athena Demertzi, Johannes Fahrenfort, Nathan Faivre, Jolien Francken, Dominique Lamy, Bigna Lenggenhager, Michael Moutoussis, Marie-Christine Nizzi, Roy Salomon, David Soto, Timo Stein & Nitzan Lubianiker - forthcoming - Perspectives on Psychological Science.
    A target question for the scientific study of consciousness is how dimensions of consciousness, such as the ability to feel pain and pleasure or reflect on one’s own experience, vary in different states and animal species. Considering the tight link between consciousness and moral status, answers to these questions have implications for law and ethics. Here we point out that given this link, the scientific community studying consciousness may face implicit pressure to carry out certain research programs or interpret results (...)
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  5. Animals as criminals: Towards a Foucauldian analysis of animal trials.Emre Koyuncu - 2018 - Parergon 35 (1):79-96.
    Scholarship on the early modern practice of animal trials in Europe has grown substantially in the last few decades. After a critical literature review pointing at the shortcomings of positivist approaches and of the interpretation of the phenomenon as a purely religious practice, I present Foucauldian genealogy as a more rigorous framework for understanding the purpose this peculiar practice may have served. The benefits of adopting a Foucauldian perspective are twofold. First, it allows for a subtle functionalism that does not (...)
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  6. What Can a Constructivist Say About Animal Ethics — Or Any Other Normative Question, for That Matter?Guillaume Soucy - forthcoming - Dialogue:1-17.
    Résumé Dans Fellow creatures, Christine Korsgaard soutient que les êtres humains auraient l'obligation morale de traiter les animaux sensibles comme des fins en soi. Cependant, cet article tente de démontrer que la méthode korsgaardienne dépasse ce que permet une théorie constructiviste conséquente et soutient que nous devrions opter pour une version humienne plutôt que kantienne du constructivisme. Selon moi, une telle conception permet tout à fait de soutenir des positions éthiques substantielles sur la question animale sans avoir à compromettre ses (...)
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  7. Stand Up for Animal Welfare.Jennifer Stephan - 2022 - San Diego, CA: Referencepoint Press.
    Just like humans, animals experience pleasure and pain. Animals can be intelligent, curious, and social, but they can't speak for themselves. So, activists speak out for those that lack basic necessities and suffer mistreatment.
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  8. Food for Thought: Planetary Healing Begins on Our Plate.Camila Perussello - 2022 - Brooklyn, NY: Lantern Publishing & Media.
    Food for Thought seeks to enlighten people about their power as individuals to shape industry and society starting from the food they eat. The reader is invited to question who is really benefiting from our present food system through a detailed science-based analysis of food production and consumption. Perussello discusses how the production and consumption of animal products go well beyond the blatant violence against non-human animals: she posits that animal agriculture is procuring a world of disease, unhappiness, injustice, and (...)
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  9. Volunteering for Animal Welfare.Walt K. Moon - 2022 - San Diego, CA: Brightpoint Press.
    Introduction: a day at the shelter -- How can I volunteer at an animal shelter? -- How can I volunteer at a wildlife center? -- How can I volunteer as a citizen scientist? -- How can I Volunteer at a zoo?
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  10. Making a Stand for Animals.Oscar Horta - 2022 - New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, Earthscan From Routledge.
    Engaging and thought-provoking, this book examines how we see and treat animals and argues that we should extend equal rights to all species, human and non-human alike. Our world is plighted by 'isms' - racism, sexism and ageism to name a few - but we have one more to add: speciesism. Speciesism is a form of discrimination against those who don't belong to a certain species and it is a concept which raises controversial questions over humanity's very complicated relationship with (...)
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  11. Animals, Mind, and Matter: The Inside Story.Josephine Donovan - 2022 - East Lansing: Michigan State University Press.
    Animals, Mind, and Matter challenges the current ascription of object status to animals in the law, commerce, and science, where they are conceived as property and commodities. Instead, Donovan establishes that animals are living subjects, have minds and opinions, and care about what happens to them.
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  12. The Implications of the Second-Person Perspective for Personhood: An Application to the case of Human Infants and Non-human Primates.Pamela Barone, Carme Isern-Mas & Ana Pérez-Manrique - 2022 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 41 (2):133-150.
    This paper proposes an intermediate account of personhood, based on the capacity to participate in intersubjective interactions. We articulate our proposal as a reply to liberal and restrictive accounts, taking Mark Rowlands’ and Stephen Darwall’s proposals as contemporary representatives of each view, respectively. We argue that both accounts fall short of dealing with borderline cases and defend our intermediate view: The criteria of personhood based on the second-person perspective of mental state attribution. According to it, a person should be able (...)
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  13. Healing the wounds of marine mammals by protecting their habitat.Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara & Erich Hoyt - 2020 - Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics 20:15-23.
    Important marine mammal areas (IMMAs)—‘discrete habitat areas, important for one or more marine mammal species, that have the potential to be delineated and managed for conservation’ (IUCN Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force 2018, p. 3)—were introduced in 2014 by the IUCN Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force to support marine mammal and wider ocean conservation. IMMAs provide decision-makers with a user-friendly, actionable tool to inform them of the whereabouts of habitat important for marine mammal survival. However, in view of (...)
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  14. Searching for meaning in marine mammal shared data.Giovanni Bearzi & Olivier Gimenez - 2018 - Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics 18:9-13.
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  15. Limited Aggregation for Resolving Human-Wildlife Conflicts.Matthias Eggel & Angela K. Martin - 2022 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 1.
    Human-wildlife interactions frequently lead to conflicts – about the fair use of natural resources, for example. Various principled accounts have been proposed to resolve such interspecies conflicts. However, the existing frameworks are often inadequate to the complexities of real-life scenarios. In particular, they frequently fail because they do not adequately take account of the qualitative importance of individual interests, their relative importance, and the number of individuals affected. This article presents a limited aggregation account designed to overcome these shortcomings and (...)
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  16. Limited aggregation and zoonotic disease outbreaks.Angela K. Martin & Matthias Eggel - 2022 - Transforming Food Systems: Ethics, Innovation and Responsibility. Eursafe Conference Proceedings.
    Human and animal interests are often in conflict. In many situations, however, it is unclear how to evaluate and weigh competing human and animal interests, as the satisfaction of the interests of one group often inevitably occurs at the expense of those of the other group. Human-animal conflicts of this kind give rise to ethical questions. If animals count morally for their own sake, then we must ask in which cases the satisfaction or frustration of the interests of humans and (...)
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  17. From here to Utopia: Theories of Change in Nonideal Animal Ethics.Nico Dario Müller - 2022 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 35 (4):1-17.
    Animal ethics has often been criticized for an overreliance on “ideal” or even “utopian” theorizing. In this article, I recognize this problem, but argue that the “nonideal theory” which critics have offered in response is still insufficient to make animal ethics action-guiding. I argue that in order for animal ethics to be action-guiding, it must consider agent-centered theories of change detailing how an ideally just human-animal coexistence can and should be brought about. I lay out desiderata that such a theory (...)
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  18. Bringing Animal Ethics Into Many Disciplines.Clair Linzey & Andrew Linzey - 2022 - Journal of Animal Ethics 12 (2):v-vi.
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  19. Living with Animals: Rights, Responsibilities, and Respect.Daniel A. Dombrowski - 2022 - Journal of Animal Ethics 12 (2):220-222.
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  20. Spanish Thinking about Animals.Macarena Montes Franceschini - 2022 - Journal of Animal Ethics 12 (2):225-227.
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  21. Animal Welfare in China.Chien-hui Li - 2022 - Journal of Animal Ethics 12 (2):222-225.
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  22. Shaving the Beasts, Wild Horses and Ritual in Spain.Kimberly Moore - 2022 - Journal of Animal Ethics 12 (2):219-220.
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  23. Animality in Contemporary Italian Philosophy.Matteo Gilebbi - 2022 - Journal of Animal Ethics 12 (2):217-219.
    Cimatti and Salzani have put together a rich collection of essays on animal studies that provides an exhaustive overview of how Italian contemporary philosophers are engaging with animal ethics, antispeciesism, posthumanism, ecofeminism, and biopolitics. This edited volume represents an important development in the “animal turn” in the humanities, particularly because it is published in English, allowing for a more efficient dialogue between “Italian theory” and philosophers around the world. This is, in fact, the first collection that will give an international (...)
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  24. Celtic Saints and Animal Stories: A Spiritual Kinship.Clair Linzey - 2022 - Journal of Animal Ethics 12 (2):214-215.
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  25. All Creatures Safe and Sound: The Social Landscape of Pets in Disasters.Randall Lockwood - 2022 - Journal of Animal Ethics 12 (2):215-217.
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  26. Animal Law in the Third Reich.Rivers Gambrell - 2022 - Journal of Animal Ethics 12 (2):212-214.
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  27. Should Animals Have Political Rights?Per-Anders Svärd - 2022 - Journal of Animal Ethics 12 (2):210-212.
    A common view of politics is that it is reducible to applied ethics. If politics, in a classic phrase, is about “who gets what, when, and how,” then the task of normative political theory would simply be to tell us who is morally entitled to get whatever the “what” is in that statement.This view, however, can easily reduce politics to a dizzying vortex of actions to assess from an ethical perspective. And while the task of moral philosophy may be precisely (...)
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  28. The “Bundle” or “Cluster” Theory of Legal Personhood in Its Active and Passive “Incidents”: What Might It Mean for Nonhuman Animals?Angela Fernandez - 2022 - Journal of Animal Ethics 12 (2):192-202.
    In this article, I review A Theory of Legal Personhood, explaining what I see as its key contributions to animal law scholarship, while situating it against wider jurisprudential contributions that may be of interest to philosophers and legal scholars grappling with the oft-thorny idea of legal personhood, not just for nonhuman animals but for corporations, artificially intelligent machines, and late-term fetuses. The article will explain Kurki's “bundle” theory of legal personhood as a “cluster” concept and analyze the extremely helpful parsing (...)
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  29. Protecting Animals Within and Across Borders: Extraterritorial Jurisdiction and the Challenges of Globalization.Justin Marceau - 2022 - Journal of Animal Ethics 12 (2):205-208.
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  30. Chicken: A History from Farmyard to Factory.David Madden - 2022 - Journal of Animal Ethics 12 (2):209-210.
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  31. Animals and Human Society in Asia: Historical, Cultural and Ethical Perspectives.Chien-hui Li - 2022 - Journal of Animal Ethics 12 (2):203-205.
    From a largely Western phenomenon, the “animal turn” has, in recent years, gone global. Animals and Human Society in Asia: Historical, Cultural and Ethical Perspectives is just such a timely product that testifies to this trend.But why Asia? The editors, in their very helpful overview essay, have from the outset justified the volume's focus on Asia and ensured that this is not simply a matter of lacuna filling. The reasons they set out include: the fact that Asia is the cradle (...)
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  32. Reexamining the Great Meddler.Randall Lockwood - 2022 - Journal of Animal Ethics 12 (2):179-185.
    Most previous biographies of Henry Bergh, founder of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Western hemisphere's first animal protection organization, give little attention to the very mixed reaction his efforts received from the media, legislators, fellow social reformers, the general public, and the large number of enterprises that benefitted from the exploitation and even abuse of animals during America's Gilded Age. A Traitor to His Species provides a detailed analysis of Bergh's life and times and (...)
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  33. The Ethics of Horse Riding, Sports, and Leisure.Katie Javanaud - 2022 - Journal of Animal Ethics 12 (2):158-171.
    This article examines whether the use of horses for riding, sports, and leisure purposes is inherently morally objectionable and argues that, whilst riding may be enjoyable for some horses under very specific circumstances, too often animals within this industry are reduced to mere commodities. The current conditions and welfare standards for horses are documented in three settings—riding schools, competition grounds, and livery yards. This article identifies a series of practical interventions which could significantly improve the lives of horses, achievable either (...)
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  34. The Ethics of Raw Veganism.Katie Javanaud - 2022 - Journal of Animal Ethics 12 (2):186-191.
    This article is a review of Carlo Alvaro's Raw Veganism: The Philosophy of the Human Diet. Alvaro offers interesting and novel arguments in support of raw veganism, but they are of varying quality. Raw Veganism relies too heavily on aesthetic-based arguments for veganism, which are inadequate for the task of motivating ethical veganism. At several points throughout the book, Alvaro tries to cultivate psychological aversion to animal products (e.g., describing eggs as coming out of the “rear end” of an animal) (...)
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  35. Animal Biographies: Beyond Archetypal Figures.Violette Pouillard - 2022 - Journal of Animal Ethics 12 (2):172-178.
    The biographies of animal celebrities published by the historians John Simons and Eric Baratay aim to place animals in and of themselves at the center of academic narratives. Both excavate the lived experiences concealed behind official discourses and collective representations, notably by relying on cross-fertilization with ethological research. They unveil the ways in which information was reshaped in order to portray animal celebrities as benevolent members of human-animal communities, and thereby shed light on the mechanics of animal commodification. The close (...)
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  36. Do “Animals” Have Histor(ies)? Can/Should Humans Know Them? A Heuristic Reframing of Animal-Human Relationships.Jacob Brandler - 2022 - Journal of Animal Ethics 12 (2):148-157.
    The Western history discipline has recently experienced a growing appreciation of animals as subjects of historical concern, part of what has been described as the “animal turn” in the humanities. While briefly examining some historiographical points related to this burgeoning trend, this article looks to the question of whether animals have history itself as a device to reframe the relationship humans have with both animals and history. Through this process, this article highlights how respecting the unknown possibility and the possibility (...)
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  37. “A Great Miracle in a Little Room”: Thomas Traherne and the Intrinsic Value of Nonhuman Animals.G. P. Marcar - 2022 - Journal of Animal Ethics 12 (2):128-137.
    The writings of English poet and mystic Thomas Traherne (1626–1674) remain a relatively underexplored reservoir. Traherne's technological context includes the invention of the telescope (1608) as well as the microscope (c. 1590). As will become evident in this article, Traherne's expositions on creation display an imagination that is adept at placing itself behind both types of lenses. This article focuses on Traherne's treatment of two types of insects—the fly and the ant—in order to extrapolate some of the insights that can (...)
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  38. Whatever It Is We Owe to Animals, It's Not to Eat Them.Adrian Kreutz - 2022 - Journal of Animal Ethics 12 (2):123-127.
    In an article published in the Journal of the American Philosophical Association, Nick Zangwill (2021) argues that “eating meat is morally good” (p. 295). It is “our duty” to eat animals, he says, “when it is part of a practice that has benefited animals” (Zangwill, 2021, p. 295). Since certain animals can be said to exist in some sense only because of meat-eating practices, and those practices benefit animals if they have good lives, argues Zangwill, that's why we owe it (...)
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  39. Coetzee's Animal Ethics.Parag Kumar Deka - 2022 - Journal of Animal Ethics 12 (2):138-147.
    J. M. Coetzee's novels pay equal ethical attention to human and nonhuman animal suffering. By addressing ethical issues about animals through the medium of fiction, Coetzee responds to and investigates both the actual and discursive exploitation of nonhumans. This essay looks at two of Coetzee's important apartheid-period novels and shows how the author uses various literary methods to posit an ethical and ontological equality of all living creatures and to stress the shared embodiedness of humans and animals. In Coetzee's fiction, (...)
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  40. Tierisch menschlich.Klaus Peter Rippe & Urs Thurnherr (eds.) - 2013 - Erlangen: Harald Fischer Verlag.
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  41. The polar bear in the zoo: a speculation.Martin Rowe - 2013 - New York: Lantern Books, a division of Booklight.
    Frame -- Perspective -- Approach and Encounter -- To See and Look Away -- And What If the Animal Replied? -- Discussion Questions.
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  42. Changing the game: why the battle for animal liberation is so hard and how we can win it.Norm Phelps - 2013 - New York: Lantern Books.
    The challenge: the most difficult battle ever fought -- The universal crime -- Slave owners for abolition -- We are all nazis and if i quit eating meat, i'll have to admit -- That to myself -- The crown of creation and the acme of evolution -- Follow the money -- Optimism of the will -- The environment: a dark age was about to begin -- It ain't what you do, it's the time that you do it -- The empire (...)
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  43. The politics of the pasture: how two cattle inspired a national debate about eating animals.James E. McWilliams - 2013 - New York: Lantern Books.
    Introduction -- Interlude #1: Consider the oxen -- The agrarian ideals of Cerridwen farm -- Vine sanctuary responds -- Interlude #2: Moral syllogism 101 -- Green Mountain College students mount a defense -- Professors and administrators make their case -- Voices of dissent shatter the cocoon at GMC -- Interlude #3: President Fonteyn provides a reprieve -- A wise intervention, a suspicious death -- Conclusion -- About the author -- About the publisher.
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  44. Mágica ceremonia: de Darwin a Hitler pasando por Peter Singer: manifiesto contra la irracionalidad animalista.Francisco López Barrios - 2013 - Madrid, España: Huerga & Fierro Editores.
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  45. Les animaux aussi ont des droits.Boris Cyrulnik - 2013 - Paris: Éditions du Seuil.
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  46. Animal death.Jay Johnston & Fiona Probyn-Rapsey (eds.) - 2013 - University of Sydney, NSW, Australia: Sydney University Press.
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  47. The treatment of animals in India.B. K. Sharma & Shailja Sharma - 2013 - In Andrew Linzey & Desmond Tutu (eds.), The global guide to animal protection. University of Illinois Press.
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  48. South American perspectives on animals.Carlos M. Naconecy - 2013 - In Andrew Linzey & Desmond Tutu (eds.), The global guide to animal protection. University of Illinois Press.
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  49. Japanese attitudes toward animals.Perry McCarney - 2013 - In Andrew Linzey & Desmond Tutu (eds.), The global guide to animal protection. University of Illinois Press.
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  50. Challenges to animal protection in Scandinavia.Anton Krag & Live Kleveland - 2013 - In Andrew Linzey & Desmond Tutu (eds.), The global guide to animal protection. University of Illinois Press.
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