From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

213 Group Duties[edit]

Chris researched and wrote two of the three sections under "Welfare Practices."

Matt researched and expanded the intro and researched and wrote the middle section under "Welfare Practices."

Gerald researched and wrote most of the "Views" section. He also figured out how to reference things and was our go-to citation guy.

I researched and wrote the chunk of the "Views" section referenced to Guither. I also organized the article.

John contributed the timeline and the chunk of the "Views" section referenced to Peter Singer.

Everyone put in the references to the sections they wrote.


I'm impressed with the content this group has researched and written--it's by and large quite well sourced and encyclopedic. There remains a lot to be done regarding the citing of sources, however, as I'm sure you are aware. You'll need to make real progress on this before coming to class on Thursday since there won't be time to finish it all then. Also, some other comments regarding revisions:

  • The introduction seems to need citations. Two are given in the existing stub and only one is used in the current intro. It's not clear how many sources are involved in the Introduction as revised.
  • I would put the "General Welfare practices" as the umbrella category after the "Views..." and use "Ethical practices in the Entertainment Industry" as a sub-category before the timeline.
  • Where did the timeline come from? I don't find any citations

All in all this is a solid contribution to the encyclopedia! -Webster Newbold (talk) 04:07, 26 March 2013 (UTC)


Animal ethics is a term used in academia to describe the study of human-nonhuman relations. The subject matter includes animal rights, animal welfare, animal law, speciesism, animal cognition, 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 have been evolving steadily since the 19th century. It wasn't until later in the 20th century that there was a substantial amount of literature on the subject, and so it did not receive much scholarly attention until then.[2] Many of these opinions or beliefs are centered around anthropocentric views or the theory of human exceptionalism. The ethics in question are not just about the food, fur and test animals, but also pets and show animals. Including how the animals are treated on set and off set, even down to how the animals are loaded for transportation purposes.

Views of Human-Animal Relations[edit]

Views of human-animal relations exist on a continuum, with animal exploitation at one end and animal liberation at the other.

Many of the opinions and beliefs associated with animal ethics are influenced by the theory of human exceptionalism, which is the anthropocentric view that humans are the most significant species on the planet or that humans are, in some way, more valuable than other species. Commonly, views stemming from a conviction of human exceptionalism are derivative of religious concepts or texts such as the Bible’s Genesis 1:26, which states “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”[3]

Subscribing to a human exceptionalist viewpoint does not necessarily equate to advocacy of animal exploitation, which is the view that humans are not morally responsible to animals in any way, and may use them for any purpose. Many people who believe that humans are apart from animals, and have some right to use them to fulfill humanity’s needs, also acknowledge some variety of human responsibility to treat animals humanely, or at least not to needlessly harm them. Wesley J. Smith, an associate of the Discovery Institute and an active voice on human exceptionalism in light of animal ethics, is at the forefront of the debate over humanity's responsibilities as they relate to animal ethics. Smith believes that humans have a duty to each other, to the natural world, and to treat animals ethically.[4] In his book, A Rat is a Pig is a Dog is a Boy, he writes that “Because we are unquestionably a unique species—the only species capable of even contemplating ethical issues and assuming responsibilities—we uniquely are capable of apprehending the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, proper and improper conduct toward animals. Or to put it more succinctly if being human isn't what requires us to treat animals humanely, what in the world does?"[5]

Biocentrism is arguably the opposite end of the spectrum from anthropocentrism, and encompasses ideas and practices that “extend the status of moral object from human beings to all living things in nature.”[6] Concern for animal suffering can be found in Hindu thought, and the Buddhist idea of compassion extends to both humans and animals. However, these ways of thinking have not been dominant in Western tradition for a very long time. “There are a few laws indicating some awareness of animal welfare in the Old Testament, but nothing at all in the New, nor in mainstream Christianity for its first eighteen hundred years.” Peter Singer Thomas Aquinas stated that there was nothing inherently wrong with making animals suffer, which became the official view of the Roman Catholic Church. The first efforts to obtain legal protection for members of other species were made only in the 19th century in England. Peter Singer

Animal liberation, the extreme opposite of animal exploitation, is a philosophy contending that human use of animals is equivalent to slavery, and practitioners seek to end all use of animals for the benefit of humans. In 1970 the term speciesism was coined to highlight the idea that considering a member of one species as having different inherent value than a member of another is a kind of prejudice. This concept applies both to human exceptionalism and to humans placing more value on certain animals, such as dogs or dolphins, than on others due to reasons of preference. Advocates of anticruelty laws argue for the humane treatment of animals, but generally do not argue against using animals as resources for human consumption.[7]

Welfare Practices[edit]

According to Major C. W. Hume of the Universities Federation of Animal Welfare (UFAW), founded in 1926, “animal problems must be tackled on a scientific basis, with a maximum of sympathy but a minimum of sentimentality.”[8] Taking this into account, the general welfare of animals is achieved through practices consistent with many professional institutions’ guidelines. One such institution is the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Their mission, as stated by founder Henry Bergh, is “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.” In short, the ASPCA makes sure that people don’t mistreat animals through distribution of information about the consequences of mistreatment. [9] Many states have past certain laws in order to protect the welfare of animals in general as well. Recently, the governor of Ohio signed one such act into law. The Dangerous Wild Animal Act will ban new ownership of dangerous wild animals, including big cats, some smaller exotic cats, bears, hyenas, gray wolves, non-human primate species, alligators and crocodiles in Ohio. The law will also require owners of existing exotic animals to pass criminal background checks to qualify for a permit. This is one general practice that would insure that owners of exotic animals would be specialized in handling the animal in question. This prevents anyone coming in from off of the street and purchasing an animal which needs care that they can neither comprehend nor provide.

Animal Liberation Groups[edit]

In 1980, Alex Pacheco and Ingrid Newkirk founded People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals. According to Newkirk "[h]umans possess enough innovation and compassion to switch away from animal experimentation—whether to test drain cleaner, weapons, or cures for human diseases." PETA's goals not only include ceasing the consumption of meat and the wearing of fur but also more extremes, like retiring circus animals and closing down zoos.[10]

PETA is not the only animal rights groups to go to extremes for their beliefs. When it became clear that "normal, legal channels" could not stop the abuses done to the baboons at the laboratory of Thomas Genneralli at the University of Pennsylvania, ALF raiders stepped in, or rather, broke in and stole some 60 hours of video taped experiments. These experiments involved trying to differentiate between the types of blows to the head and their severity. It took over a year but eventually the lab was shut down. [11]

Ethical Practices in the Entertainment Industry[edit]

The American Humane Society is very explicit on what they deem to be ethical practices regarding the handling of animals in the entertainment industry. They have a written code of conduct expression the importance of ethical decision making in the process of handling animals.[12] Their comprehensive list of practices governs the handlers in every stage of entertainment from pre-production all the way through to marketing. Some self-identified roles of the Humane Society in this realm are expressed in the group’s publication entitled “No Animals Were Harmed; Guidelines for the Safe Use of Animals in Filmed Media.” The rules set forth by the AHS pertain to anyone even coming in contact with any animal during the process of creating a piece. These rules and guidelines are aimed at removing all danger of animals getting hurt or mistreated. They go so far as to even mandate that animals only be “cold loaded” onto aircraft. The process of cold loading, as defines by the AHS is only loading animals onto aircraft in which the engines are shut off and the propellers remain motionless. Another common practice that is utilized by the AHS is transparency. They advocate letting people know the practices they use to keep animals safe. In their eyes, if the public sees them exercising extreme caution and care with the handling of animals they will perceive them in a more positive light, in turn benefitting both customer and producer. Also transparency acts a system of checks and balances. Again, if a company cuts corners on the handling of their animals and they public understands what is right and what is wrong, the individual who is lacking in care will likely be reprimanded, forcing them to update their practices.


A timeline of events and turning points in the history of animal ethics. [13]

Date Key event
1975 “Animal Liberation” by philosopher Peter Singer is published.
1979 Animal Legal Defense Fund is established. National Anti-vivisection Society establishes World Lab Animal Day, on April 24. The day has evolved into World Laboratory Animal Week.
1980 People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is founded. Animal Factories by attorney Jim Mason and philosopher Peter Singer is published.
1981 Farm Animal Reform Movement is officially founded.
1983 Farm Animal Reform Movement establishes World Farm Animals Day on October 2. The Case for Animal Rights by philosopher Tom Regan is published.
1985 The first annual Great American Meatout is organized by Farm Animal Reform Movement.
1986 Fur Free Friday, an annual nation-wide fur protest on the day of Thanksgiving, begins. Farm Sanctuary is founded.
1987 California high school student Jennifer Graham makes national headlines when she refuses to dissect a frog. Diet for a New America by John Robbins is published.
1989 Avon stops testing their products on animals. In Defense of Animals launches their campaign against Proctor & Gamble’s animal testing.
1990 Revlon stops testing their products on animals.
1992 Animal Enterprise Protection Act is passed.
1993 General Motors stops using live animals in crash tests. The Great Ape Project is founded.
1994 Tyke the elephant goes on a rampage, killing her trainer and escaping from the circus before being gunned down by police.
1995 Compassion Over Killing is founded.
1996 Vegetarian activist and former cattle rancher Howard Lyman appears on Oprah Winfrey’s talk show, leading to a defamation suit filed by Texas Cattlemen.
1997 PETA releases an undercover video showing animal abuse by Huntington Life Sciences.
1998 A jury finds in favor of Lyman and Winfrey in the defamation lawsuit filed by Texas Cattlemen. An investigation by The Humane Society of the US reveals that Burlington Coat Factory is selling products made from dog and cat fur.
2001 Compassion Over Killing conducts and open rescue at a battery hen facility, documenting abuses and rescuing 8 hens.
2002 Dominion” by Matthew Scully is published. McDonald’s settles a class action lawsuit over their non-vegetarian French fries.
2004 Clothing chain Forever 21 promises to stop selling fur.
2005 The US Congress pulls funding for inspections of horse meat.
2006 The SHAC 7 are convicted under the Animal Enterprise Protection Act. Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act is passed. An investigation by The Humane Society of the US reveals that items labeled as “faux” fur at Burlington Coat Factory are made of real fur.
2007 Horse slaughter ends in the United States, but live horses continue to be exported for slaughter.

See also[edit]


  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. ^ 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
  3. ^ The Bible. New York, NY: American Bible Society. 1999. ISBN 1-58734-110-7. 
  4. ^ Smith, Wesley. "Human Exceptionalism". National Review Online. Retrieved 16 March 2013. 
  5. ^ Smith, Wesley (2010). A Rat is a Pig is a Dog is a Boy. New York: Encounter Books. p. 243-244. 
  6. ^ Yu, Lei, Mouchang, Yi (2009). "13. Biocentric Ethical Theories". Environment and Development - Vol. II (PDF). China. p. 422. ISBN 978-1-84826-721-3. 
  7. ^ Animal Rights: History and Scope of a Radical Social Movement. Carbondale and Edwardsville, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 1998. ISBN 0-8093-2158-0. 
  8. ^ Haynes, Richard (2011). "Competing Conceptions of Animal Welfare and Their Ethical Implications for the Treatment of Non-Human Animals". Acta Biotheoretica. 59 (2): 105–120. Retrieved 21 March 2013.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  9. ^ "Victory: Ohio Governor Signs Dangerous Wild Animal Act into Law!". ASPCA. ASPCA. Retrieved 21 March 2013. 
  10. ^ Sherry, Clifford J. Animal Rights: A Reference Handbook. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 1994. Print. 
  11. ^ Finsen, Lawrence, and Susan Finsen. The Animal Rights Movement in America: From Compassion to Respect. New York: Twayne, 1994. Print. 
  12. ^ "Guidelines for the Safe Use of Animals in Filmed Media" (PDF). American Humane Association. Retrieved 21 March 2013. 
  13. ^ Lin, Doris. "Historical Timeline of the Animal Rights Movement". Retrieved 27 March 2013.