- Times have changed. Twenty years ago discussing the moral status of animals probably would have qualified one as a kook. Today no moral philosopher can evade the subject.
- But despite increased attention to ethical issues involving animals, nothing approaching a societal consensus on their moral status has emerged. Opinions currently range from the view that the lives and welfare of animals are as important as those of humans, to the view that animals have no moral status. Thus, while ethical discussions concerning human subjects of research, for example, are quite refined — resting on substantial agreement about matters such as the importance of informed consent — academic debates about animals are at a more rudimentary stage.
- In this article I offer a philosophical review of:-
- Leading theories of the moral status of animals,
- Pivotal theoretical issues on which more progress needs to be made, and
- Applications to the setting of animal research.
- Such an examination demonstrates, I believe, that the practical implications of leading theories converge far more than might be expected. In addition, I hope this review helps to clarify particularly troubling issues that remain so they can be treated adequately.
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- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2019
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