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Abbate, Cheryl. Meat Eating and Responsibility: Exploring the Moral Distinctions between Meat Eaters and Puppy Torturers
2020, Utilitas, 2020: 1-8
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Cheryl Abbate
Abstract: In his influential article on the ethics of eating animals, Alastair Norcross argues that consumers of factory raised meat and puppy torturers are equally condemnable because both knowingly cause serious harm to sentient creatures just for trivial pleasures. Against this claim, I argue that those who buy and consume factory raised meat, even those who do so knowing that they cause harm, have a partial excuse for their wrongdoings. Meat eaters act under social duress, which causes volitional impairment, and they often act from deeply ingrained habits, which causes epistemic impairment. But puppy torturers act against cultural norms and habits, consciously choosing to perform wrongful acts. Consequently, the average consumer of factory raised meat has, while puppy torturers lack, a cultural excuse. But although consumers of factory raised meat aren't blameworthy, they are partially morally responsible for their harmful behavior – and for this, they should feel regret, remorse, and shame.

Comment: This essay would be best taught alongside Alastair Norcross's widely taught paper "Puppies, Pigs, and People" (https://spot.colorado.edu/~heathwoo/readings/norcross.pdf), as Cheryl Abbate's paper is a direct response to Norcross's.

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Attfield, Robin, Rebekah Humphreys. Justice and Non-Human Animals – Part I
2017, Bangladesh Journal of Bioethics 7:(3): 1-11.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Rebekah Humphreys

Abstract: It is widely held that moral obligations to non-human beings do not involve considerations of justice. For such a view, nonhuman interests are always prone to be trumped by human interests. Rawlsian contractarianism comprises an example of such a view. Through analysis of such theories, this essay highlights the problem of reconciling the claim that humans have obligations to non-humans with the claim that our treatment of the latter is not a matter of justice. We argue that if it is granted that the basic interests of non-human beings sometimes count for more than the peripheral interests of humans, then our understandings of obligation and of justice must be aligned, so that what we say about obligation is not countered by assumptions about the invariable priority of humans in matters of justice. We further consider whether such a conclusion can be endorsed by those who adopt certain alternative theories to contractarianism. We conclude that adherents of a range of theories including sentientism and biocentrism must accept that human interests can sometimes be superseded by animal interests, and that this applies not least in matters of justice.

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Attfield, Robin, Rebekah Humphreys. Justice and Non-Human Animals – Part II
2017, Bangladesh Journal of Bioethics 8(1): 44-57.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Rebekah Humphreys

Abstract: It is widely held that moral obligations to non-human beings do not involve considerations of justice. For such a view, nonhuman interests are always prone to be trumped by human interests. Rawlsian contractarianism comprises an example of such a view. Through analysis of such theories, this essay highlights the problem of reconciling the claim that humans have obligations to non-humans with the claim that our treatment of the latter is not a matter of justice. We argue that if it is granted that the basic interests of non-human beings sometimes count for more than the peripheral interests of humans, then our understandings of obligation and of justice must be aligned, so that what we say about obligation is not countered by assumptions about the invariable priority of humans in matters of justice. We further consider whether such a conclusion can be endorsed by those who adopt certain alternative theories to contractarianism. We conclude that adherents of a range of theories including sentientism and biocentrism must accept that human interests can sometimes be superseded by animal interests, and that this applies not least in matters of justice.

Comment:

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Figdor, Carrie. The Psychological Speciesism of Humanism
2020, Philosophical Studies 178: 1545–1569
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Carrie Figdor
Abstract: Humanists argue for assigning the highest moral status to all humans over any non-humans directly or indirectly on the basis of uniquely superior human cognitive abilities. They may also claim that humanism is the strongest position from which to combat racism, sexism, and other forms of within-species discrimination. I argue that changing conceptual foundations in comparative research and discoveries of advanced cognition in many non-human species reveal humanism’s psychological speciesism and its similarity with common justifications of within-species discrimination.

Comment: This paper argues against the idea that human cognitive capacities justify higher moral status for humans over nonhuman animals. It also argues that this justification for human moral superiority is structurally the same as a common justification for the superiority (moral and otherwise) of some human groups over others (such as in sexism or racism).

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Galgut, Elisa. A Critique of the Cultural Defense of Animal Cruelty
2019, Journal of Animal Ethics 9 (2):184
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Anonymous
Abstract: I argue that cultural practices that harm animals are not morally defensible: Tradition cannot justify cruelty. My conclusion applies to all such practices, including ones that are long-standing, firmly entrenched, or held sacred by their practitioners. Following Mary Midgley, I argue that cultural practices are open to moral scrutiny, even from outsiders. Because animals have moral status, they may not be harmed without good reason. I argue that the importance of religious or cultural rituals to adherents does not count as a sufficiently good reason to harm or kill animals, since rituals are inherently symbolic, and cultures are able to adapt and change, making adherence to cruel traditions unnecessary.

Comment: This paper can be used in a class on animal ethics / rights. It argues that rituals involving harm or cruelty to animals are not justifiable. The paper can be used in a discussion on animal rights issues and multi-culturalism.

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Galgut, Elisa. Raising the Bar in the Justification of Animal Research
2015, Journal of Animal Ethics 5 (1):5-19
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Anonymous
Abstract: Animal ethics committees (AECs) appeal to utilitarian principles in their justification of animal experiments. Although AECs do not grant rights to animals, they do accept that animals have moral standing and should not be unnecessarily harmed. Although many appeal to utilitarian arguments in the justification of animal experiments, I argue that AECs routinely fall short of the requirements needed for such justification in a variety of ways. I argue that taking the moral status of animals seriously—even if this falls short of granting rights to animals—should lead to a thorough revision or complete elimination of many of the current practices in animal experimentation.

Comment: This paper can be used in a course on animal research ethics.

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Gruen, Lori. Ethics and Animals: An Introduction
2011, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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Added by: Rochelle DuFord
Back Matter: In this fresh and comprehensive introduction to animal ethics, Lori Gruen weaves together poignant and provocative case studies with discussions of ethical theory, urging readers to engage critically and empathetically reflect on our treatment of other animals. In clear and accessible language, Gruen provides a survey of the issues central to human-animal relations and a reasoned new perspective on current key debates in the field. She analyses and explains a range of theoretical positions and poses challenging questions that directly encourage readers to hone their ethical reasoning skills and to develop a defensible position about their own practices. Her book will be an invaluable resource for students in a wide range of disciplines including ethics, environmental studies, veterinary science, women's studies, and the emerging field of animal studies and is an engaging account of the subject for general readers with no prior background in philosophy.

Comment: This book is a comprehensive introduction to ethical problems involving non-human animals. It could be the main text for a course on animal ethics, but would also make a nice addition to a unit of a course on environmental ethics or contemporary ethical problems.

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Humpherys, Rebekah. Contractarianism: On the Incoherence of the Exclusion of Non-Human Beings
2008, Percipi 2, 28-38
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Rebekah Humphreys

Abstract: Although the practices of animal experimentation and intensive rearing involve a considerable amount of animal suffering they continue to be supported. Why is the suffering of animals in these practices so often accepted? This paper will explore some of the reasons given in support of the use of animals for such practices. In particular I will focus on contractarianism as one of the many positions that argues that morally relevant differences between species justify animal experimentation and factory farming. These differences include rationality and moral agency. On this position non-humans are excluded from direct moral concern on the basis that they lack such qualities. I will argue that in order for contractarianism to be coherent it necessarily has to include non-humans in the contract. This has implications for the application of contractarianism to the ethics of factory farming and animal experimentation.

Comment: Critically discusses Rawls' theory of justice in relation to issues in animal ethics.

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Humphreys. Animal Thoughts on Factory Farms: Michael Leahy, Language and Awareness of Death
2008, Between the Species 13 (8): 1-16
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Rebekah Humphreys
Abstract:

Abstract: The idea that language is necessary for thought and emotion is a dominant one in philosophy. Animals have taken the brunt of this idea, since it is widely held that language is exclusively human. Michael Leahy makes a case against the moral standing of factory-farmed animals based on such ideas. His approach is Wittgensteinian: understanding is a thought process that requires language, which animals do not possess. But he goes further than this and argues that certain factory farming methods do not cause certain sufferings to the animals used, since animals lack full awareness of their circumstances. In particular he argues that animals do not experience certain sufferings at the slaughterhouse since, lacking language, they are unaware of their fate . Through an analysis of Leahy’s claims this paper aims to explore and challenge both the idea that thought and emotion require language and that only humans possess language

Comment: Good for teaching issues in animal ethics as they relate to the cognitive capacities of animals.

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Humphreys. Dignity and its violation examined within the context of animal ethics
2016, Ethics and the Environment 21 (2):143-162
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Rebekah Humphreys

Abstract: The word ‘dignity’ may be used in a presentational sense, for example, one might say “she presents herself with dignity”, or in a social sense, for example, one might say “she fulfilled her duty with dignity, or honour.” However, in this paper I will not be using ‘dignity’ in either of these senses. Rather, the sense of dignity I will be concerned with is one that is related to ideas about the value or worth of a being. This latter sense of dignity has a long history, and tends to be a concept that is thought to be applicable to human animals only, and more specifically to human persons—moral agents, capable of rationality, of directing their own lives, and of formulating...

Comment: Critically analyses the concept of dignity and provide argumentation as to why the concept, contrary to traditional understandings, is applicable to animals and their lives.

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Humphreys, Rebekah. Game Birds: The Ethics of Shooting Birds for Sport
2010, Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 4 (1): 52-65
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Rebekah Humphreys

Abstract: This paper aims to provide an ethical assessment of the shooting of animals for sport. In particular, it discusses the use of partridges and pheasants for shooting. While opposition to hunting and shooting large wild mammals is strong, game birds have often taken a back seat in everyday animal welfare concerns. However, the practice of raising game birds for sport poses significant ethical issues. Most birds shot are raised in factory-farming conditions, and there is a considerable amount of evidence to show that these birds endure extensive suffering on these farms. Considering the fact that birds do have interests, including interests in life and not suffering, what are the ethical implications of using them for blood sports? Indeed, in the light of the suffering that game birds endure in factory farms, it may be that shooting such birds for sport is more morally problematic than other types of hunting and shooting which many people are often fiercely opposed to, for while it seems plausible to say that some animals may be harmed more by death than others (due to, say, their greater capacities), there may be harms that are worse than death (such as a life of intolerable suffering). The objective of this paper is to assess the ethics of shooting animals for sport, and in particular the practice of raising game birds for use in blood sports, by applying principles commonly used in ethics; specifically the principle of non-maleficence and equal consideration of (like) interests

Comment: In the light of evidence of the appalling suffering of birds bred for bloodsports in the UK, this paper provide an ethical analysis of bloodsports by drawing on key principles in medical ethics and ethics more generally.

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Humphreys, Rebekah. Games, Fair-Play and a Sporting-Chance: A Conceptual Analysis of Blood-Sports
2020, Yearbook of the Irish Philosophical Society, 2017/18: Special Edition: Humans and Other Animals, 96-114
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Rebekah Humphreys

Abstract: The killing of Cecil the lion in 2015 by a trophy hunter sparked a global debate regarding the killing of lions for ‘sport’. While many were outraged by Cecil’s killing, Cecil was just one of the millions of animals that have been used in the sports-shooting industry. Cecil’s killing brings with it the question of whether so-called ‘blood sports’ (whether these involve killing big game or smaller animals) are actually ‘sports’ at all, in the ordinary sense. As such, this paper aims to provide an analysis of blood-sport as a concept. The objective will be to examine whether blood-sports are games and to analyse to what extent, if any, blood-sports can be called ‘sports’ properly. Such an analysis will be presented through employing a generalised notion of sport and through a discussion of fair-play. Pace S. P. Morris (2014) who argues that hunting which incorporates a fair-chase code is a game and a sport, this current paper concludes that it is doubtful that blood-sport is a game, and that even if one assumes that it is a game, it cannot be classed as sport, and further that any fair-chase code undermines itself in the context of so-called ‘blood-sports’.

Comment: Basis for a good debate on issues surrounding the ethics of bloodsport and 'bloodsport' as a concept. Is' bloodsport' actually 'sport', for example, in the ordinary sense of the term?

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Humphreys, Rebekah. Philosophy, ecology and elephant equality
2020, Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling, 28 (11), 2020, 1-4
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Rebekah Humphreys

Abstract: The considerable conservation research on environmental problems and climate change tends to focus on species “biodiversity” rather than individuals. Individuals of the same species get categorized as “wild” or “captive”, with the latter often omitted from conservationists’ concerns. But wild and captive animals, although they may require different treatment, have comparable interests as individuals. Equity requires taking this into account in conservation efforts.

Comment: Good for teaching issues concerning animal sentience, equality, conservation, preservation (particularly in relation to elephants), and environmental ethics and animal ethics issues more generally.

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Humphreys, Rebekah. Rights, Interests and Moral Standing: A Critical Examination of Dialogue between Regan and Frey
2011, Issues in Ethics and Animal Rights, Manish Vyas (ed.), Regency Publications
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Rebekah Humphreys

Abstract: This paper aims to assess R. G. Frey’s analysis of Leonard Nelson’s argument (that links interests to rights). Frey argues that claims that animals have rights or interests have not been established. Frey’s contentions that animals have not been shown to have rights nor interests will be discussed in turn, but the main focus will be on Frey’s claim that animals have not been shown to have interests. One way Frey analyses this latter claim is by considering H. J. McCloskey’s denial of the claim and Tom Regan’s criticism of this denial. While Frey’s position on animal interests does not depend on McCloskey’s views, he believes that a consideration of McCloskey’s views will reveal that Nelson’s argument (linking interests to rights) has not been established as sound. My discussion (of Frey’s scrutiny of Nelson’s argument) will centre on the dialogue between Regan and Frey in respect of McCloskey’s argument. I will endeavor to update the dialogue by providing a re-interpretation of ‘rights’ in Nelson’s argument.

Comment: Discusses key arguments in debates in animal ethics through the dialogue of Regan and Frey.

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Humphreys, Rebekah, Watson, Kate. The Killing Floor and Crime Narratives: Marking Women and Nonhuman Animals
2019, Kate Watson, Katharine Cox (eds.), Tattoos in crime and detective narratives, Manchester University Press, 170-196
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Rebekah Humphreys
Abstract:

This interdisciplinary chapter provides a literary reading and philosophical analyses of issues surrounding the depiction of women and of nonhuman animals in a subgenre of contemporary crime narratives – what this chapter terms ‘killing floor’ crime fiction. This is achieved through a focus on the function of the tattoo, ‘markings’ in a broad sense (both metaphorically and physically) and the gendered elements of animal representations in crime fiction. Through an analysis of the significance of marking skin, the chapter links the exploitation and objectification of the bodies of women and of nonhuman animals. In doing so, it compares the use of animals in modern-day killing floor practices and the position of women in contemporary crime fiction. Through forcible marking and scarification, this chapter raises pertinent interrelated ethical issues concerning the perceptions of women, their societal status and the commercial use of nonhuman animals.

Comment: Discusses links between the portrayal of animals of women in detective crime fiction, and relates to the work of Carol Adams and applies to modern-day practices that exploit animals.

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