Heythrop Journal 56 (5):818-835 (2015)

Julia Tanner
Durham University
The topic of cruelty features regularly in discussions concerning animals’ moral status. Further, condemnation of cruelty to animals is virtually unanimous. As Regan points out, ‘[i]t would be difficult to find anyone who is in favour of cruelty.’ What is to count as cruelty is therefore important. My aim here is to gain a clearer understanding of one aspect of our moral landscape: cruelty to animals. I will start by analyzing the concept of cruelty in section II. In section III I will examine some implications of this analysis. I will present two arguments for why we should reassess whether modern farming practices are cruel. First, farming practices have changed and our understanding of the concept of cruelty needs to change with them. Second, our application of the concept of cruelty is inconsistent: we would consider many routine practices involving farm animals to be cruel if they involved pets. This inconsistency presents a dilemma: either extending farming practices to pets would not be cruel, or continuing our current farming practices is cruel. In section IV I consider some objections.
Keywords Cruelty  Animals  Farming
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DOI 10.1111/heyj.12122
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References found in this work BETA

A Theory of Justice: Revised Edition.John Rawls - 1999 - Harvard University Press.
The Case for Animal Rights.Tom Regan - 2009 - In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Noûs. Oxford University Press. pp. 425-434.

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Citations of this work BETA

On a Failed Defense of Factory Farming.Stephen Puryear, Stijn Bruers & László Erdős - 2017 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 30 (2):311-323.
Varieties of the Cruelty-Based Objection to Factory Farming.Christopher Bobier - 2019 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 32 (3):377-390.

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