About this topic
Summary

Broadly construed, animal rights 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 rights 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

Beauchamp, Tom L. 2011. Rights Theory and Animal Rights. In. Beauchamp, Tom L. / Frey, Raymond G. (eds.). The Oxford Handbook of Animal Ethics. Oxford, Oxford University Press: 198-227.

DeGrazia, David 2002. Animal Rights: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Gruen, Lori 2010. The Moral Status of Animals. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2010 Edition), URL = http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2010/entries/moral-animal  

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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1056 found
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  1. Do Animals Need Rights?William A. Edmundson - 2014 - Journal of Political Philosophy 22 (2):345-360.
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  2. Animal Rights and the Wrongness of Killing.Leslie Allan - manuscript
    This essay explores the moral reasoning underpinning the common view that it is worse to kill a human compared with killing an animal. After examining the serious deficiencies of traditional approaches, the author develops an alternative utilitarian-based framework that proportions the seriousness of killing to levels of sentience. He demonstrates how this new approach avoids the problems faced by the application of standard utilitarian formulae in weighing the seriousness of killing many low-sentience animals vis-á-vis killing a single human. The author (...)
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  3. Nonhuman Self-Investment Value.Gary Comstock - manuscript
    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, (...)
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  4. (Draft) Cows, crickets and clams: On the alleged 'vegan' obligation to eat different kinds of meat.Benjamin Davies - manuscript
    Vegans do not eat meat. This statement seems so obvious that one might be tempted to claim that it is analytically true. Yet several authors argue that the underlying logic of veganism warrants – perhaps even demands – eating meat. I begin by considering an important principle that has been important in motivating vegan meat-eating, related to an obligation to reduce or minimise harm. I offer an alternative, rights-based view, and suggest that while this might support an obligation to eat (...)
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  5. Self Deception and Happiness.Talya D. Osseily - manuscript
    The argument in this essay will be divided into two parts: utilitarian and virtue ethics, where each party will agree or disagree with the idea that self-deception leads to happiness, taking climate change and meat production as examples to support their claims.
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  6. Animal Rights: A Critique.Oliver Barclay - unknown - Science and Christian Belief 4 (1):49-61.
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  7. Going Wild: Hunting, Animal Rights, and the Contested Meaning of Nature.Sterling Burnett - unknown - Environmental Ethics 18 (1):1996.
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  8. Review of Zoos and Animal Rights. [REVIEW]Ann Causey - unknown - Environmental Values 3:276-277.
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  9. What We Owe Other Animals.Bob Fischer & Anja Jauernig - forthcoming - Routledge.
  10. Veganismus als Anti-Nihilismus.Björn Freter - forthcoming - Zeitschrift Für Kritische Tierstudien 2:91-99.
    Vermutlich ist nahezu jeder Tierethiker schon aufgefordert worden, sich nicht darüber mitzuteilen, wie es in moderner Massentierhaltung zugeht, denn das verdürbe doch die Möglichkeit, Fleisch weiterhin zu genießen. Diese Aufforderung ist reichlich merkwürdig. Denn sie kommt eigentlich zu spät. Der Mensch, der nicht mehr weiter über die Massentierhaltung hören will, hat offenkundig schon genug gehört, um zu wissen, dass eine erneute, eine tiefere Vergegenwärtigung eine ihm liebgewonnene Praxis verderben würde: Es ist mithin die (durch den Tierethiker nur bemerkbar gemachte) höchste (...)
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  11. Just Fodder: The Ethics of Feeding Animals; By Josh Milburn. [REVIEW]Kyle Johannsen - forthcoming - Journal of Moral Philosophy.
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  12. Arguments against the Free Use of Beasts as Sexual Objects.Baldari John - forthcoming - Secularphilosophy.Net.
    I will argue against bestiality as a socially acceptable practice based on five standard premises. The standard premises I will present will contain notes in regard to: instrumentality; consent; disease transmission; deviance; and morality. There is significant work available on the harm done to the beast, so aside from brief summary; the question of the good of the beast is not in the focus. I will also ignore any religious concerns, either surrounding morality or freedom of practice. Instead, these arguments (...)
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  13. Defending the use of animals by business: Animal liberation and environmental ethics.Eric Katz - forthcoming - Business, Ethics and the Environment: The Public Policy Debate.
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  14. Got Rights?: No Dogs or Philosophers Allowed.Ken Knisely, Grace Clement, Bonnie Brown & Mark Parascondola - forthcoming - DVD.
    What is a right? Why do we say that individual humans have rights? Do humans have a unique moral status or do other living beings also have rights? Can animals ever be moral agents? Is there a tension between the animal rights movement and those whose see the environment as possessing some manner of rights? With Grace Clement, Bonnie Brown, and Mark Parascondola.
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  15. Emotionales Bewusstsein bei Tieren und seine politische Bedeutung – ein agrar-philosophischer Dialog.Uriah Kriegel & Philipp von Gall - forthcoming - Tierstudien.
  16. Defending a Relational Account of Moral Status.Thaddeus Metz - forthcoming - In Mbih Jerome Tosam & Erasmus Masitera (eds.), African Agrarian Philosophy. Springer.
    For the more than a decade, I have advanced an account of what makes persons, animals, and other beings entitled to moral treatment for their own sake that is informed by characteristically African ideas about dignity, a great chain of being, and community. Roughly according to this account, a being has a greater moral status, the more it is capable of communing (as a subject) or of us communing with it (as an object). I have mainly argued that this characteristically (...)
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  17. Animal Minds and Animal Morals.K. Petrus & M. Wild (eds.) - forthcoming
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  18. Animal rights.Louis P. Pojman & Paul Pojman - forthcoming - Environmental Ethics: Reading in Theory and Application. Boston: Jones and Bartlett.
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  19. Criminalising (cubes of) truth: animal advocacy, civil disobedience, and the politics of sight.Serrin Rutledge-Prior - forthcoming - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy:1-25.
    Should animal advocates be allowed to publicly display graphic footage of how animals live (and die) in industrial animal use facilities? Cube of truth (‘cube’) demonstrations are a form of animal advocacy aimed at informing the public about the realities of animals’ experiences in places such as slaughterhouses, feedlots, and research facilities, by showing footage of mostly lawful practices within these workplaces. Activists engaging in cube-style protests have recently been targeted by law enforcement agencies in two Australian states on the (...)
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  20. Animal Liberation.Mark Sagoff - forthcoming - Environmental Ethics: Bad Marriage, Quick.
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  21. Animals and the law: Property, cruelty, rights.Jerrold Tannenbaum - forthcoming - Social Research: An International Quarterly.
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  22. Prospects for an Animal-Friendly Business Ethics.Brian Berkey - 2022 - In Natalie Thomas (ed.), Animals and Business Ethics. Cham, Switzerland: pp. 67-89.
    Despite the increased attention that has been paid in recent years to the significance of animal interests within moral and political philosophy, there has been virtually no discussion of the significance of animal interests within business ethics. This is rather troubling, since a great deal of the treatment of animals that will seem especially problematic to many people occurs in the context of business, broadly construed. In this chapter, I aim to extend the growing concern that our normative theories should (...)
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  23. Karl Christian Friedrich Krause On Animal Rights.Dieter Birnbacher - 2022 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 14 (2).
    Krause’s philosophy deserves to be memorized as the first link in a chain of thinking on animal rights that is still on the way today. Though Krause was not the first to talk of animal rights in the history of animal ethics, his theory of animal rights is pathbreaking in embedding a conception of animal rights in an all-encompassing metaphysical system. The essay situates Krause’s theory of animal rights in the framework of his general theory of rights and points to (...)
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  24. Animal Rights from the Perspective of Evictionism.Walter E. Block - 2022 - Studia Humana 11 (2):10-19.
    In this paper, the conception of Anthony J. Cesario about the philosophy of animal rights is critically reviewed. His approach is a valiant effort to defend the philosophy of animal rights. He is a moderate on this matter, offering all sorts of compromises. He applies an unusual insight to this matter with using the libertarian doctrine of evictionism.
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  25. People and Their Animal Companions: Navigating Moral Constraints in a Harmful, Yet Meaningful World. Cheryl - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 2022.
    Those who claim to be committed to the moral equality of animals don’t always act as if they think all animals are equal. For instance, many animal liberationists spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars each year on food, toys, and medical care for their companion animals. Surely, more animals would be helped if the money spent on companion animals were donated to farmed animal protection organizations. Moreover, many animal liberationists feed their companion animals the flesh of farmed animals, and (...)
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  26. Why the Court Should Free Happy.Gary Comstock, Adam Lerner & Peter Singer - 2022 - Inside Sources.
    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 (...)
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  27. Being a World Unto One’s Self: A Phenomenal Consciousness Account of Full and Equal Moral Status.Rainer Ebert - 2022 - Zeitschrift Für Ethik Und Moralphilosophie 5:179-202.
    According to a diverse and widely popular family of moral theories, there is a class of individuals – typically humans or persons – who have the very same, full moral status. Individuals not falling into that class count for less, or not at all, morally speaking. In this article, I identify two problems for such theories, the mapping problem and the problem of misgrounded value, and argue that they are serious enough to be decisive. I will then propose an alternative (...)
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  28. Review of How to Count Animals, more or less. [REVIEW]Benjamin Elmore - 2022 - Between the Species 25 (1):111-118.
    In How to Count Animals, more or less, Shelly Kagan sketches and argues for a hierarchical account of moral status. Although the book is fairly lengthy at 304 pages of text, Kagan is correct in calling it a sketch, since what this book provides us with is a foray into one aspect that a comprehensive ethical theory must include, in his view, if it is to be plausible. Even so, the work that he does, if one accepts hierarchy, opens up (...)
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  29. Beyond the Fence: A Farmed Animal Rights Manifesto for Film.Stephen Marcus Finn - 2022 - Journal of Animal Ethics 12 (1):63-75.
    Film has not always been kind to farmed animals, maltreatment ranging from horrendous cruelty to anthropomorphization and training under duress. Admittedly, many fine documentaries have been made on maltreatment, but many of these tend to see farmed animals as a mass, with deindividuation leading to a psychic numbing in those watching. In contrast, narrative films on this theme generally have the farmed animal protagonists as human-like in being able to converse in the language of the people around them and generally (...)
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  30. Animal Subjects and Animal Rights.Paul A. Macdonald Jr - 2022 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 96 (3):499-504.
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  31. Expanding the Domain of Justice to Include Animals and Animal Rights.Paul A. Macdonald Jr - 2022 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 96 (3):473-484.
  32. Kantianism for Animals.Nico Dario Müller - 2022 - New York City, New York, USA: Palgrave Macmillan.
    This open access book revises Kant’s ethical thought in one of its most notorious respects: its exclusion of animals from moral consideration. The book gives readers in animal ethics an accessible introduction to Kant’s views on our duties to others, and his view that we have only ‘indirect’ duties regarding animals. It then investigates how one would have to depart from Kant in order to recognise that animals matter morally for their own sake. Particular attention is paid to Kant’s ‘Formula (...)
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  33. The Reification of Non-Human Animals.Silvia Caprioglio Panizza - 2022 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 32 (1):1-15.
    This paper takes up Axel Honneth’s suggestion that we, in the 21st century Western world, should revisit the Marxian idea of reification; unlike Honneth, however, this paper applies reification to the ways in which humans relate to non-human animals, particularly in the context of scientific experiments. Thinking about these practices through the lens of reification, the paper argues, yields a more helpful understanding of what is regarded as problematic in those practices than the standard animal rights approaches. The second part (...)
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  34. Rethinking the American Animal Rights Movement.Emily Patterson-Kane & Michael P. Allen - 2022 - Routledge.
    This book critically reviews all principal contributions to the American animal rights debate by activists, campaigners, academics, and lawyers, while placing animal rights in context with other related and competing movements.
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  35. A Brief in Support of Happy’s Appeal.Peter Singer, Gary Comstock & Adam Lerner - 2022 - Nonhuman Rights Project.
    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.
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  36. Should the animal rights movement make use of deliberative activism?Friderike Spang - 2022 - Politics and Animals 8:1-12.
    This paper addresses the question of whether the animal rights movement should make use of what I call “deliberative activism”, i.e., activism based on deliberative processes. To date, animal rights activists rely primarily on non-deliberative activism, such as strikes, protests, boycotts, demonstrations, leafleting, rescue actions, etc. In contrast to such non-deliberative forms of protest, recent work by Robert Garner and Lucy Parry emphasizes the potential benefits of deliberative democratic structures for the animal rights movement. This paper aims to contribute to (...)
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  37. CHANGING THE LEGAL STATUS OF ANIMALS: LEGISLATION AND LITIGATION.Zorana Todorovic - 2022 - Teme 46 (3):835−849.
    This paper addresses the issue of the legal status of non-human animals and the possibility of changing it from the status of things or property to the status of non-things, or better, sentient beings. Key arguments for the change of their status are discussed, including the argument from marginal cases, as well as scientific evidence indicating that many animals are sentient beings. Two ways of initiating such changes seem most promising: legislation, i.e. modification of the civil codes, and litigation, i.e. (...)
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  38. Rejoinder to Huemer on Animal Rights.Walter E. Block - 2021 - Studia Humana 10 (4):66-77.
    Heumer and I debate animal rights, utilitarianism, libertarianism, morality and philosophy. We agree that suffering is a problem, and diverge, widely, on how to deal with it. I maintain that this author’s reputation as a libertarian, let alone an intellectual leader of this movement, is problematic. Why? That is because libertarianism, properly understood, is a theory of intra-human rights; this philosophy says nothing about right from an extra-human perspective, Heumer to the contrary notwithstanding. That is to say, he is improperly (...)
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  39. Animal Rights Education.Cini Bretzlaff-Holstein - 2021 - Journal of Animal Ethics 11 (2):112-113.
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  40. Freedom and animal welfare.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2021 - Animals 4 (11):1148.
    The keeping of captive animals in zoos and aquariums has long been controversial. Many take freedom to be a crucial part of animal welfare and, on these grounds, criticise all forms of animal captivity as harmful to animal welfare, regardless of their provisions. Here, we analyse what it might mean for freedom to matter to welfare, distinguishing between the role of freedom as an intrinsic good, valued for its own sake and an instrumental good, its value arising from the increased (...)
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  41. Reconciling the Irreconcilable: A Property Rights Approach to Resolving the Animal Rights Debate.Anthony J. Cesario - 2021 - Studia Humana 10 (4):36-65.
    Libertarianism is understood to be a “deontological theory of law” that purportedly applies exclusively to humans. According to some libertarians, however, “one of the greatest weaknesses of libertarian theory” is that there are no provisions outlawing the abuse and torture of animals even though this seems to be one of “the most heinous acts it is possible to do”. Moreover, a few of these libertarians go even further and claim that this legal philosophy of non-aggression should actually be extended to (...)
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  42. The Philosophers' Brief in Support of Happy's Appeal.Gary Comstock, Sue Donaldson, Andrew Fenton, Tyler M. John, L. Syd M. Johnson, Robert C. Jones, Will Kymlicka, Letitia M. Meynell, Nathan Nobis, David M. Peña-Guzmán, James Rocha, Bernard Rollin, Jeff Sebo & Adam Shriver - 2021 - New York State Appellate Court.
    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.
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  43. Humanitarian Assistance for Wild Animals.Kyle Johannsen - 2021 - The Philosophers' Magazine 93:33-37.
    I argue that most wild animals live bad lives, and that we should intervene in nature to improve their wellbeing.
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  44. Lowering the consumption of animal products without sacrificing consumer freedom – a pragmatic proposal.Matthias Kiesselbach & Eugen Pissarskoi - 2021 - Ethics, Policy and Environment.
    It is well-established that policy aiming to change individual consumption patterns for environmental or other ethical reasons faces a trade-off between effectiveness and public acceptance. The more ambitious a policy intervention is, the higher the likelihood of reactionary backlash; the higher the intervention’s public acceptance, the less bite it is likely to have. This paper proposes a package of interventions aiming for a substantial reduction of animal product consumption while circumventing the diagnosed trade-off. It couples stringent industry regulation, which lowers (...)
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  45. Moral Status, Luck, and Modal Capacities: Debating Shelly Kagan.Harry R. Lloyd - 2021 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 38 (2):273-287.
    Shelly Kagan has recently defended the view that it is morally worse for a human being to suffer some harm than it is for a lower animal (such as a dog or a cow) to suffer a harm that is equally severe (ceteris paribus). In this paper, I argue that this view receives rather less support from our intuitions than one might at first suppose. According to Kagan, moreover, an individual’s moral status depends partly upon her ‘modal capacities.’ In this (...)
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  46. Animal rights.Virginia Loh-Hagan - 2021 - Ann Arbor, Michigan: Cherry Lake Publishing.
    Learn all about animal rights activism, from ending animal testing to veganism. Get a global look at the history of the movement, meet the activists involved, and celebrate some of the legal victories! Each chapters end with a call to action, so kids can feel inspired to get involved in their own communities. This high-interest book is written at a lower reading level for struggling readers. Considerate text and engaging art and photographs are sure to grab even the most reluctant (...)
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  47. Animal Law and Animal Rights.Lydia Lundstedt (ed.) - 2021
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  48. Andy Lamey, Duty and the Beast: Should We Eat Meat in the Name of Animal Rights?Markku Oksanen - 2021 - Environmental Values 30 (4):530-532.
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  49. Animal Law : Human Duties or Animal Rights?Torben Spaak - 2021 - In Lydia Lundstedt (ed.), Animal Law and Animal Rights.
    In my view, the moral case for giving animals legal protection is strong. This is so whether or not we think of animals as having moral rights, such as a right to be cared for, or at least a right not to be harmed, because even if animals do not have moral rights, humans have moral duties toward animals, such as a general duty not to harm animals, say, by performing experiments on them, or raising them for food, or having (...)
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  50. Intersectionality—An Alternative to Redrawing The Line in the Pursuit Of Animal Rights.Robyn Trigg - 2021 - Ethics and the Environment 26 (2):73-118.
1 — 50 / 1056