Against the moral standing of animals
Carruthers (Peter)
Source: C. Morris (ed.), Practical Ethics: questions of life and death. OUP, 2011
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. I shall argue in this essay that the lives and sufferings of non-human animals (hereafter “animals”) make no direct moral claims on us. At the same time I shall argue that the lives and sufferings of human infants and senile old people do make such claims on us. In short: I shall argue that no animals possess moral standing, while arguing all human beings possess such standing.
  2. I shall allow, however, that some of the things that one might do (or fail to do) to an animal might attract justified moral criticism. But this will be criticism of an indirect (and perhaps culturally local) sort, not deriving from any violations of the rights that the animal might possess. On the contrary, because animals lack standing, they have no rights.


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