Companion and Assistance Animals

International Journal of Applied Philosophy 22 (2):161-176 (2008)
  Copy   BIBTEX


This paper examines one approach to the ethics of companion animals, which emerges from the dominant historical tradition and is increasingly familiar in everyday life as well as in work on companion animals in the social sciences. I label it the “utilization with welfare-safeguards” model, or, more gently worded, “seeking benefits while ensuring welfare.” Some of the “benefits” considered are complex ones (like guiding the sight impaired) and others simpler (like reducing stress or providing affection). I explore several problems involved in this approach (including the sometimes jarring inappropriateness of “benefit” terminology). I then offer an alternative account where the primary moral obligation toward companion animals is to develop, nurture, respect, and protect the loving relationship between them and their human companions, since thriving in such a relationship, I claim, has become part of their evolved telos (to use Bernard Rollin’s term)or evolved nature. This priority naturally leads to ensuring welfare, but the highly pro-active approach involved takes the obligation beyond standard welfare provision and “TLC” (“tender loving care”). Some implications of this position are explored.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,088

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

The Euthanasia of Companion Animals.Michael Cholbi - 2017 - In Christine Overall (ed.), Pets and People: The Ethics of our Relationships with Companion Animals. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 264-278.
Duties to Companion Animals.Steve Cooke - 2011 - Res Publica 17 (3):261-274.
Filling the ark: animal welfare in disasters.Leslie Irvine - 2009 - Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Fat Companions: understanding canine and feline obesity and its effects on welfare.Peter Sandoe, Sandra Cprr & Clare Palmer - 2014 - In Michael C. Appleby, Daniel M. Weary & Peter Sandøe (eds.), Dilemmas in Animal Welfare. Wallingford, Oxfordshire: CABI International. pp. 28-45.
A History of Animal Welfare Science.Donald M. Broom - 2011 - Acta Biotheoretica 59 (2):121-137.
Animals as Friends.Cynthia Townley - 2010 - Between the Species 13 (10):3.
Attitudes to animals: views in animal welfare.Francine L. Dolins (ed.) - 1999 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Veterinarian, Heal Thy Profession!Joel Marks - 2011 - Philosophy Now 85 (85):47.
Without a tear: our tragic relationship with animals.Mark H. Bernstein - 2004 - Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
Animals matter: a biologist explains why we should treat animals with compassion and respect.Marc Bekoff - 2007 - [New York]: Distributed in the United States by Random House. Edited by Marc Bekoff.


Added to PP

65 (#231,396)

6 months
5 (#311,051)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references