Animal ethics

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Animal ethics is a term used in academia to describe human–animal relationships and how animals ought to be treated. The subject matter includes animal rights, animal welfare, animal law, speciesism, animal cognition, wildlife conservation, the moral status of nonhuman animals, the concept of nonhuman personhood, human exceptionalism, the history of animal use, and theories of justice.[1] Animal ethics can be traced back as far as the 6th century BCE to the teachings of Pythagoras who believed that the souls of humans reincarnated into animals. European countries have taken a leading role in animal ethics with the first animal welfare group the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, (SPCA) beginning in Great Britain in 1824. America’s first organization, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, (ASPCA) began in New York in 1866. [2]

Ethics in animal testing[edit]

It is often stated that animal testing violates an animal’s dignity and is ethically wrong.[3] Most scientists take a utilitarian approach saying that the benefits to humans from animal testing outweigh the harm to animals,[4] a weak human priority position.[5] Others argue that from a moral stance, Neo-Rawlsian contractarianism is the only rational and pragmatic approach to guide contemporary ethical decision-making regarding animal experiments.[5]

See also[edit]

Caribou from Wagon Trails.jpg Animals portal


  1. ^ Beauchamp, Tom L. "Introduction," in Tom L. Beauchamp and R. G. Frey. The Oxford Handbook of Animal Ethics. Oxford University Press, 2011.
    • Schaffner, Joan E. An Introduction to Animals and the Law. Palgrave MacMillan, 2011, p. xvii
  2. ^ Animal Ethics | Learning to Give. (n.d.). Retrieved April 7, 2018, from
  3. ^ Dignity and Its Violation Examined within the Context of Animal Ethics. (2016). Ethics & the Environment, 21(2), 143–162.
  4. ^ Shaun Yon-Seng Khoo. (2018). Justifiability and Animal Research in Health: Can Democratisation Help Resolve Difficulties? Animals (2076-2615), 8(2), 1–12.
  5. ^ a b Liguori, G.; et al. (2017). "Ethical Issues in the Use of Animal Models for Tissue Engineering: Reflections on Legal Aspects, Moral Theory, 3Rs Strategies, and Harm-Benefit Analysis". Tissue Engineering Part C Methods. 23 (12): 850–862. doi:10.1089/ten.TEC.2017.0189.

Further reading[edit]

  • Frasch, Pamela D. et al. Animal Law in a Nutshell. West, 2010.
  • Gruen, Lori. Ethics and Animals: An Introduction. Cambridge University Press, 2011.
  • Rowlands, Mark. Animals Like Us. Verso, 2002.
  • Sunstein, Cass R. and Nussbaum, Martha (eds). Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions. Oxford University Press, 2005.
  • Wagman, Bruce A.; Waisman, Sonia S.; Frasch, Pamela D. Animal Law: Cases and Materials. Carolina Academic Press, 2009.
  • Waldau, Paul. "Animal Rights: What Everyone Needs to Know". Oxford University Press, 2011.
  • Yunt, Jeremy D. 2004. "Shock the Monkey: Confessions of a Rational Animal Liberationist," Philosophy Now, Issue 44 (Jan./Feb.).
  • Yunt, Jeremy D. 2017. Faithful to Nature: Paul Tillich and the Spiritual Roots of Environmental Ethics. Barred Owl Books.