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.

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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 13 of 13

Animal Ethics

For an explanation of this feature, click on “Moral Vegetarianism” at the bottom of this post. CONCLUSION There is no doubt that moral vegetarianism will continue to be a position that attracts people concerned with the plight of animals and with humanitarian goals. Although I have found no compelling moral arguments for vegetarianism, there still may be reasons why morally sensitive people would wish to become vegetarians. Tags: Moral Vegetarianism

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. People who do not eat meat for moral reasons tend to be less brutal than people who do eat meat. People who eat meat after reflection on the morality of eating meat are less brutal than people who eat meat without such reflection. The bulk of the population has given no reflection at all to the morality of eating meat. Tags: Moral Vegetarianism

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. Here is a New York Times op-ed column about free-range pigs. The author is confused. In other words, people want to eat not wild pigs but domestic pigs raised in humane conditions

Moral Vegetarianism, Part 6 of 13

Animal Ethics

For an explanation of this feature, click on “Moral Vegetarianism” at the bottom of this post. One might assume—although again this assumption may not be jusitified [sic]—that Mr. Morse was using this consideration as a moral argument for vegetarianism. But what exactly does the argument construed as a moral argument amount to? Even granted the premises, the moral conclusion does not follow from the factual premises. Tags: Moral Vegetarianism

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 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 9 of 13

Animal Ethics

For an explanation of this feature, click on “Moral Vegetarianism” at the bottom of this post. Consequently, the killing of some animals for food, if done painlessly, is not morally objectionable. But far from supporting moral vegetarianism, these alternative analyses seem to make moral vegetarianism even more difficult to support in terms of animal rights. According to Benn, only moral agents have rights. Only moral agents have autonomy rights.

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. This argument also differs from traditional ones in its selective and restrictive moral prohibitions against eating flesh.

Moral Vegetarianism

Animal Ethics

If you'd like to read Andrew Tardiff's 1996 essay "Simplifying the Case for Vegetarianism," write to me (by clicking "Contact" in the sidebar) and I'll send a copy. The essay is fabulous

Moral Vegetarianism, Part 8 of 13

Animal Ethics

For an explanation of this feature, click on “Moral Vegetarianism” at the bottom of this post. It can be argued instead that by eating meat one is giving one’s tacit consent or approval to the present situation, that the only way to be true to one’s moral conviction that the present treatment of animals is inhumane is not to eat meat. The question arises: Why should such indirect causal influence have any moral import? Tags: Moral Vegetarianism

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. But then we can say this because we can say that all those are bad moralities, whereas we cannot look at our own moralities and declare them bad. This is not arrogance: it is obviously incoherent for someone to declare the system of moral principles that he accepts to be bad, just as one cannot coherently say of anything that one believes it but it is false.

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

Animal Ethics

Jan Narveson on Moral Vegetarianism

Animal Ethics

It would remain true, of course, that the vegetarian diet is more limited, since every pleasure available to the vegetarian is also available to the carnivore (not counting the moral satisfactions involved, of course—which would be question-begging), plus more which are not available to the vegetarian so long as he remains one.

Henry Sidgwick (1838-1900) on Received Morality

Animal Ethics

Again, all or most men in whom the moral consciousness is strongly developed find themselves from time to time in conflict with the commonly received morality of the society to which they belong: and thus—as was before said—have a crucial experience proving that duty does not mean to them what other men will disapprove of them for not doing.

Henry S. Salt (1851-1939) on Beefy Morals

Animal Ethics

A nice moral bond of union, truly, between colonies and motherland! We come back, then, to the point that though it is not absolutely true that "Man is what he eats," there is, nevertheless, a large element of truth in the saying, and the Vegetarian has just ground for suspecting that beefy meals are not infrequently the precursors of beefy morals.

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'.

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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. Smart , "Utilitarianism and Generalized Benevolence," Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 61 [January-April 1980]: 115-21, at 115 [italics in original; endnote omitted]) Note from KBJ: Smart is mistaken if he thinks that only utilitarianism accords moral status to animals.

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.

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Peter Singer on the Moral Significance of Self-Consciousness

Animal Ethics

Self-consciousness is morally significant; species, like race or sex, is not Preference utilitarians count the killing of a being with a preference for continued life as worse than the killing of a being without any such preference. Self-conscious beings therefore are not mere receptacles for containing a certain quantity of pleasure, and are not replaceable. To take the view that non-self-conscious beings are replaceable is not to say that their interests do not count.

How to Plan a Vegan Wedding

Creature Talk

But when it comes down to it, I don’t see why I should spend $10,000 on meat, dairy & eggs for one day for my guests when I am morally opposed to buying it for myself or having it in my house. I’m sorry for my incredible inactivity these past several months.

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Meat with No Feet!?

Creature Talk

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

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

Animal Person

He is an unabashed speciesist, putting humans on “a different moral plane from that of other animals” (11) due to various reasons, such as our “vastly greater capacity for symbolic language, culture, and ethical judgment” (11). The campaign to moralize meat has largely been a failure.

2011 167

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.

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H. J. McCloskey on Animal Rights

Animal Ethics

If an animal has the relevant moral capacities, actually or potentially, then it can be a possessor of rights. It may for this reason be morally appropriate for us meanwhile to act towards the former animals as if they are possessors of rights. (H.

On "EATING ANIMALS" by Jonathan Safran Foer

Animal Person

There's not enough evidence for an accusation of moral relativism, but for me the message is a mixed one. I immensely enjoyed "EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED" (even on the big screen) and eagerly anticipated "EATING ANIMALS" by Jonathan Safran Foer.

2009 206


Animal Ethics

Morally serious people ignore them PETA is the worst thing ever to happen to animals.



Animal Ethics

Prince Fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers is a moral vegetarian

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

For Your Health, the Planet & the Animals: VBM

Animal Person

I mean, where do they get their morals from? I recently watched Earthlings and cried the whole way through. There has to be something I can do to reduce all of the suffering of the animals we use as food, I thought. And then I read THE CHINA STUDY and was shocked to learn how unhealthy the Standard American Diet is--even cow's milk, which I thought I should be having three servings of per day! And you know how concerned I am about water on Planet Earth.

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On The Goode Family and Infiltration

Animal Person

The Morality Of Food ( Image via Wikipedia I found The Goode Family disappointing on the vegan side. Yeah, lots of mockery, but I didn't laugh. I didn't think the show was all that funny, like, say, The Simpsons.

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On "The Wild"

Animal Person

Finally, people who object to our moral stance jump species and say we should object to the lion killing the gazelle. I don't know if these people are serious or not, but though we are not unique in the animal world in demonstrating morality, we vegans and animal rights advocates do not concern ourselves with the moral codes of other species.

W. D. Ross (1877-1971) on the Right and the Good

Animal Ethics

Now when we ask what is the general nature of morally good actions, it seems quite clear that it is in virtue of the motives that they proceed from that actions are morally good. The drawing of a rigid distinction between the right and the morally good frees us from such confusion. (W.

2011 56

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

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Online Survey on Ethics and Animals

Animal Person

Covering both moral and strategic issues, the "Ethics and Animals" survey will provide a snapshot of our movement as of the present moment. A new survey is getting the attention of many within the global animal protection community. Everyone is invited to participate and share their views on what's best for animals. The survey is at , and its closing date has been extended to Monday, July 13, 2009.

Ethics 101

On ANIMAL EQUALITY, by Joan Dunayer

Animal Person

I'd rather extend moral consideration to something that can't suffer than fail to extend it to someone who can" (154). A handful Animal Person readers since May of 2006, when I started this then-daily blog, have asked me if I've read Joan Dunayer.

2010 136