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Animal Welfare and the Moral Value of Nonhuman Animals

2010.05.26

Animal Welfare and the Moral Value of Nonhuman Animals
AUTHOR: Gary L. Francione
TITLE: Animal Welfare and the Moral of Nonhuman Animals
PUBLICATION DATE: February 2010
PUBLICATION PLACE: Law, Culture and the Humanities, Feb. 2010, vol. 6 p.24-36
Reproduced with express authorization of the author in: dA web Center, May 2010

ABSTRACT
The animal welfare position, which represents the prevailing paradigm for thinking about our moral and legal obligations to nonhuman animals, maintains that animal life has a lesser value than human life and, therefore, it is morally acceptable to use animals as human ressources as long as we treat them ‘humanely’ and do not inflict ‘unnecessary’ suffering on them. According to this position, animals are not self-aware and live in an eternal present; they do not have an interest in continuing to live as distinguished from an interest in not suffering. The use and killing of animals does not per se involve inflicting harm of them. The view that animal life has a lesser moral value cannot be justified in that all sentient beings are self-aware and have an interest in continuing to live. Although we do not treat all humans equally, we accord all humans the right not to be treated as property. We cannot justify not according this one right to all sentient nonhumans.

KEYWORDS
Animal cognition; animal as property; animal rights; animal welfare; rights theory; sentience; utilitarianism


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