Bernard E. Rollin on the Moral Status of Animals

Animal Ethics

Philosophers have shown that the standard reasons offered to exclude animals from the moral circle, and to justify not assessing our treatment of them by the same moral categories and machinery we use for assessing the treatment of humans, do not meet the test of moral relevance. Rollin , "The Moral Status of Animals and Their Use as Experimental Subjects," chap.

2016 43

Moral Vegetarianism, Part 3 of 13

Animal Ethics

For an explanation of this feature, click on “Moral Vegetarianism” at the bottom of this post. Most moral vegetarians list fish and fowl as animals one should not eat. The ability to feel pain is not an obviously plausible way of morally distinguishing microorganisms from other organisms. What is the moral difference between killing a microorganism in the digesting of other food and killing a hog, e.g., in order to eat and digest it. Tags: Moral Vegetarianism

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Moral Vegetarianism, Part 1 of 13

Animal Ethics

A third of a century ago, when the modern animal-liberation movement was in its infancy, Martin published an essay entitled “A Critique of Moral Vegetarianism,” Reason Papers (fall 1976): 13-43. This was two years after Robert Nozick discussed the moral status of nonhuman animals in Anarchy, State, and Utopia (New York: Basic Books, 1974) and one year after Peter Singer published Animal Liberation (New York: Avon Books, 1975). Another reason is moral.

Moral Vegetarianism, Part 12 of 13

Animal Ethics

For an explanation of this feature, click on “Moral Vegetarianism” at the bottom of this post. The Argument from Brutalization The previous argument was based on an alleged indirect effect on human beings of not eating meat. Conversely, vegetarianism, it is argued, tends to humanize people. This argument can have a strong or weak form depending on what is meant by “brutalize” and “humanize.” But in any case (5) is not terribly relevant to moral vegetarianism.

Moral Vegetarianism, Part 10 of 13

Animal Ethics

For an explanation of this feature, click on “Moral Vegetarianism” at the bottom of this post. The implication is certainly that it would be inconsistent for us to think that it is morally permissible for us to eat nonhuman animals but wrong for superior aliens to eat us. But it is not clear that it is inconsistent if there is a relevant moral difference between animals and humans not found between humans and superior aliens. Tags: Moral Vegetarianism

Moral Vegetarianism, Part 7 of 13

Animal Ethics

For an explanation of this feature, click on “Moral Vegetarianism” at the bottom of this post. The Argument from Speciesism If there is some doubt whether the arguments from monkeys and from glass walls should be considered moral arguments, there can be no doubt about the moral import of the argument from speciesism. Just as racism and sexism are to be morally condemned, so is speciesism. KBJ: Martin is right that this is a moral argument.

Health and Morals

Animal Ethics

He seems to think that the demand for free-range pork is a demand for wild pork, when in fact it's a demand for morally acceptable conditions for the pigs. In other words, people want to eat not wild pigs but domestic pigs raised in humane conditions Here is a New York Times op-ed column about free-range pigs. The author is confused.

Moral Vegetarianism, Part 2 of 13

Animal Ethics

For an explanation of this feature, click on “Moral Vegetarianism” at the bottom of this post. SOME PROBLEMS OF MORAL VEGETARIANISM With respect to traditional moral vegetarianism some problems immediately come to the fore. What animals is it morally wrong to eat? If animals could be created by genetic engineering, could they be created so that there were no moral objections to eating them? But what is the extent of the universal moral principle?

Moral Vegetarianism, Part 6 of 13

Animal Ethics

For an explanation of this feature, click on “Moral Vegetarianism” at the bottom of this post. The Argument from Glass-Walled Slaughter Houses Mel Morse, former president of the Humane Society of the United States, once remarked: “If every one of our slaughter houses were constructed of glass this would be a nation of vegetarians.” But what exactly does the argument construed as a moral argument amount to? But again this is hardly moral grounds for not eating peanut butter.

Moral Vegetarianism, Part 9 of 13

Animal Ethics

For an explanation of this feature, click on “Moral Vegetarianism” at the bottom of this post. So, even if animals are killed painlessly and raised for food in humane ways, it is wrong to kill them. It is also probable that very subnormal adult human beings do not. On this analysis of right, then, many animals and some human beings may well not have the right to life although most human beings and some animals do have such a right.

Moral Vegetarianism, Part 5 of 13

Animal Ethics

For an explanation of this feature, click on “Moral Vegetarianism” at the bottom of this post. ARGUMENTS FOR MORAL VEGETARIANISM A variety of arguments have been given for vegetarianism. Sometimes they take such a sketchy form that it is not completely clear they are moral arguments. I outline two arguments of this sort in what follows in order to illustrate some of the difficulties in evaluating moral vegetarianism. Tags: Moral Vegetarianism

Moral Vegetarianism, Part 4 of 13

Animal Ethics

For an explanation of this feature, click on “Moral Vegetarianism” at the bottom of this post. For example, if one could pick up shed animal legs in a pasture in which animals roam freely among their own kind, there might be no moral objection to eating the legs. If, on the other hand, the legs are produced in factory conditions, there is a moral objection. They suggest that any simple moral vegetarianism is impossible. Tags: Moral Vegetarianism

Moral Vegetarianism, Part 11 of 13

Animal Ethics

For an explanation of this feature, click on “Moral Vegetarianism” at the bottom of this post. The Argument from Human Grain Shortage All of the clearly moral arguments for vegetarianism given so far have been in terms of animal rights and suffering. New moral vegetarianism, however, rests on moral arguments couched in terms of human welfare. The eating of non-grain-eating animals, e.g., fish and wild game, is morally permissible on this view.

Moral Vegetarianism, Part 8 of 13

Animal Ethics

For an explanation of this feature, click on “Moral Vegetarianism” at the bottom of this post. Becoming a vegetarian is the most practical and effective step one can take towards [sic; kbj] ending both the killing of non-human [sic; kbj] animals and the infliction of suffering upon them. More important, it might be a much more efficient means of changing practice to stage protests at meat-packing companies, put pressure on congressmen, and work through existing humane organizations.

J. J. C. Smart on the Moral Elite

Animal Ethics

Let us think of the more moral members of society as a moral elite, much as the generality of scientists form a scientific elite. I hope I do not need to stress that such a moral elite must not be confused with a social or intellectual elite.

Jonathan Bennett on Revisable Morality

Animal Ethics

There is a difficulty about drawing from all this a moral for ourselves. I imagine that we agree in our rejection of slavery, eternal damnation, genocide, and uncritical patriotic self-abnegation; so we shall agree that Huck Finn , Jonathan Edwards , Heinrich Himmler , and the poet Horace would all have done well to bring certain of their principles under severe pressure from ordinary human sympathies.

Henry S. Salt (1851-1939) on Moral Blindness

Animal Ethics

NYT Opens the Door to the Humane Myth

Animal Person

In this morning's New York Times editorial " There Is No 'Humane' Execution ," we have an imperfect yet nevertheless baby step toward acknowledgment of the HumaneMyth. The most recent execution, of Kenneth Biros, involved 30 minutes to find a vein for the single-drug and "the execution only reinforced that any form of capital punishment is legally suspect and morally wrong.". Where's the moral objection on behalf of cows?

Jan Narveson on Moral Vegetarianism

Animal Ethics

What the utilitarian who defends human carnivorousness must say, then, is something like this: that the amount of pleasure which humans derive per pound of animal flesh exceeds the amount of discomfort and pain per pound which are inflicted on the animals in the process, all things taken into account. Human ingenuity is great, and undoubtedly a skilful vegetarian cook can come up with quite a panoply of delicious dishes.

W. D. Ross (1877-1971) on the Moral Significance of Pleasure and Pain

Animal Ethics

But when a moral being is feeling a pleasure or pain that is deserved or undeserved, or a pleasure or pain that implies a good or a bad disposition, the total fact is quite inadequately described if we say 'a sentient being is feeling pleasure, or pain'.

2011 52

J. J. C. Smart on the Moral Status of Animals

Animal Ethics

I assumed that Hume was right in thinking that ultimately morality depends on how we feel about things. It is a merit of utilitarianism, with its stress on happiness and unhappiness, that lower animals must be considered along with human beings, so that they are not debarred from full or direct consideration because they are not "rational." In the past I have been concerned to advocate a normative utilitarian theory from the point of view of a non-cognitivist meta-ethics.

John Passmore (1914-2004) on the Moral Status of Animals

Animal Ethics

One restriction on the absolutism of man's rule over Nature is now generally accepted: moral philosophers and public opinion agree that it is morally impermissible to be cruel to animals. And by this they mean not only that it is wrong to enjoy torturing animals—which few moralists would ever have wished explicitly to deny, however little emphasis they might have placed on cruelty to animals in their moral teaching—but that it is wrong to cause them to suffer unnecessarily.

Bears 40

Peter Singer on the Moral Significance of Self-Consciousness

Animal Ethics

Peter Singer , "Killing Humans and Killing Animals," Inquiry 22 [summer 1979]: 145-56, at 152 [endnote omitted]) Note from KBJ: Singer is making a distinction within the class of sentient beings. Suppose humans are self-conscious. Then painlessly killing a human (specifically: one who desires to continue living) while replacing it with another, equally happy human is wrong. Self-consciousness is morally significant; species, like race or sex, is not

Henry S. Salt (1851-1939) on "Humane Slaughter"

Animal Ethics

The plea that animals might be killed painlessly is a very common one with flesh-eaters, but it must be pointed out that what-might-be can afford no exemption from moral responsibility for what-is.

Thomas E. Hill Jr on the Basis of Human Dignity

Animal Ethics

It was, I suggest, to a large extent because he felt that the noblest feature of humanity is the capacity to be self-governing, to adopt principles without being influenced by sensuous motives and then to live by them whatever the contingencies. First, if my explanation of the importance of moral conduct is correct, then Kant should not be viewed as a man obsessed with duty for duty's sake. Only acts in category 1 are morally worthy.

Hal Herzog's "Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat"

Animal Person

The bottom line is that there are many reasons why human-animal interactions are so often inconsistent and paradoxical. Thousands of studies have demonstrated that human thinking about nearly everything is surprisingly irrational” (65). .

2011 224

On a New Level of Absurdity in the Slaughter Business

Animal Person

Bea sent me a link to an article in Gourmet called " Humane Slaughterhouses ," by Rebecca Marx, that is absurd. They believe you can take a life that doesn't want to be taken in a humane way, and I don't agree. And when that happens, you know what direction you're headed: the justification of taking the lives of sentient nonhumans to please the palates of humans. It’s how we treat humans, too.

Meat with No Feet!?

Creature Talk

If we could produce cloned meat in controlled environments, it could mean amazing things for our environment, human health, and for the animals that people currently eat. I mean, I’d prefer if humans just stopped eating animals out of their own morality, but second best would be if they ate meat that didn’t come from a tormented soul, but rather from a petri dish!

Meat 40

On "Wild Justice"

Animal Person

" Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals ," By Marc Bekoff and Jessica Pierce, is the most recent (for me) book that debunks myths about the differences between human and nonhuman animals. Also, Bekoff and Pierce present a descriptive view, not a normative view of morality.

Morals 130

Looking for Books about Animal Experimentation

Critter News

But I want to be able to argue about it intelligently, citing science, not just morals. Apparently, there is a lot of argument out there than animal experimentation is even good for humans. A drug may work on an animal, but fail miserably on a human. Drugs are not always predictable from human to human even. And how can one expect an animal with a human disease to react the way the human body does?

2012 116

Tom Regan on Utilitarianism

Animal Ethics

The initial attractiveness of utilitarianism as a moral theory on which to rest the call for the better treatment of animals was noted in an earlier context.

2012 83

Quote of the Week

Critter News

If only we can overcome cruelty, to human and animal, with love and compassion we shall stand at the threshold of a new era in human moral and spiritual evolution - and realize, at last, our most unique quality: humanity. Jane Goodall.

2008 100

On Cannibalism

Animal Person

If you eat meat you cannot logically find it morally or ethically repugnant to eat a particular meat (I’m setting cannibalism aside here.). It's a bit difficult to take on the soul question for human or nonhuman animals, particularly for an atheist. But the other issues--sentience, suffering, being part of the "mysterious unity of life"--Cohen's own criteria for lumping anyone into one category, are all equally true for humans.

2010 103

Animal Ethics - Untitled Article

Animal Ethics

Forty years ago, the suggestion that nonhuman animals have moral rights—indeed, many of the same rights as human beings—would have been met with incredulous stares, if not outright ridicule. If you are among the growing number of Americans who think that animals deserve the same moral rights as people, you can help promote their rights by refusing to purchase products from industries that harm and exploit animals

2015 57

SPECIESISM, by Joan Dunayer, Part Deux

Animal Person

Here are some of the my favorite quotes: In reality, species don't evolve toward greater humanness but toward greater adaptiveness in their ecological niche (105). No living group of nonhuman animals--no existing species of invertebrate, fish, amphibian, reptile, bird or nonhuman mammal--is ancestral to humans. No nonhuman alive today belongs to the same species as some ancestor of humans. Today's nonhuman apes don't represent earlier stages in human development.

Steve Best on The Left's Ignorance of Cognitive Ethology

Animal Person

But " Minding the Animals: Ethology and the Obsolescence of Left Humanism " is a great look back at how we humans have managed to always find a way to consider ourselves unique, despite what the reality of the nonhuman world tells us. S]ince the opening of modernity five centuries ago, human beings have had to confront (for starters) four major discontinuities which problematized their alleged radical uniqueness and special status in the universe.

ALA 100

On "The Wild"

Animal Person

The animals on farms are created for the sole purpose of human consumption. And animal rights isn't focused on what happens in the world outside of us that we aren't directly profiting from and that isn't happening because of us (that last one is nearly impossible, as you can trace many problems other animals experience back to something human animals have done to them or their habitat or their food).

On ANIMAL EQUALITY, by Joan Dunayer

Animal Person

Minus that role, the term implies, such an animal has no place; if they aren't some human's companion, or their companionship fails to please, they can be abandoned or killed" (8). With equal validity, we could say that a human locked inside a room has 'freedom' from muggers" (75).

2010 136

For Your Health, the Planet & the Animals: VBM

Animal Person

I mean, where do they get their morals from? This means that between mealtimes I will not consume animal products, use products tested on animals, attend a rodeo or polo match, go to Seaworld, wear leather, silk or wool, or drop any toxic substances into the eyes of rabbits who are clamped down (or even not clamped down, which is far more humane and acceptable). I recently watched Earthlings and cried the whole way through.

Vegan 148

Roger Cohen Realizes Dogs=Pigs, Sort Of

Animal Person

If you eat meat you cannot logically find it morally or ethically repugnant to eat a particular meat (I’m setting cannibalism aside here.). I repeat: If you eat meat (I'd say: products that come from animals) , you cannot logically find it morally or ethically repugnant to eat a particular meat (i.e., But as Cohen experiences, humans don't live "in theory." The theory that the mind finds inescapably well-formulated is often overwhelmed and overturned by human emotions.

Pigs 100

As long as it's legal, who am I to judge?

Animal Person

It might reflect the values of the majority in some ways (and in other ways not), but its function is not as a moral statement, said that professor. As if humans don't assess and judge things, people and experiences all day long and use those judgments to form a future course of action or decide which relationships they do and don't wish to pursue. And as if there are humans who don't judge.

Laws 108

How Pets Can Improve Your Health

4 The Love Of Animals

But, pets also become bona fide family members with which we establish genuine relationships—incomparable emotional bonds that can have extraordinarily positive physical and psychological impacts on humans. Caring for a pet can bring pleasure and help boost your morale and optimism.

2014 280

On Dolphins as a Gateway to Animal Rights

Animal Person

I did tweet about " Scientists Say Dolphins Should Be Treated As 'Non-human Persons' " yesterday, as I think this is a Gray Matter for a lot of people and might be interesting to explore. Dolphins are so smart that scientists think they should be treated as "non-human persons" and as such it is "morally unacceptable" to use or kill them. Many dolphin brains are larger than our own and second in mass only to the human brain when corrected for body size."