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WSU Animal Ethics Lecture 1

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Samantha Noll

on 1 March 2018

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Transcript of WSU Animal Ethics Lecture 1

Animal Ethics
Before embarking on our discussion
of animal ethics, let's review
fundamental features of ethics.
Ethics in an Eggshell*
Now what does this have to do with
animal ethics?
Animal ethics were historically
a hybrid of the two.
Important for understanding
animal ethics today.
Rollin's Historical Picture
of Animal Ethics
*From Bernard Rollin's Farm Animal Welfare.
A minimal was already dictated by self interest.
What's changed? Why do we need a new animal
Rollins Animal Ethics
Class Overview
Brief description of individual & social ethics
History of animal ethics
Review Rollins Position
Class Discussion
Thus we historically had a minimal social consensus animal ethic.

This ethic was reinforced by both human and animal interests (personal ethic) and religious mandates.

Harm to the animal meant harm to the farmer.

Thus issues concerning animals were largely put on the philosophical "back burner," so to speak.
Bernard Rollin's "Respect for
" position.

Rollin proposes that we should follow the “Maxim to Respect
” when deciding how to treat animals. This maxim is, roughly, that if we have dealings with animals, we need to respect their needs and desires.

Roughly, the
of an animal is the needs and desires that stem from its nature.

" is greek for "purpose," "end," or "goal."
A New Individual Position:
Rollin's Animal Telos Position
Case Study: Animals as Food
Apply Bernie Rollin's animal ethic to industrial agriculture. What would animal agriculture look like, if Rollin's
ethic was widely adopted?

Rollin's provides a specific definition of "animal rights" here. Would other philosophers agree with this definition? Do you?
Do you agree or disagree with Rollin's argument that a new social ethic is being developed?
What (if anything) is problematic with his approach?
A series of significant social changes occurred after WWII that made the historical social ethic obsolete.

First, the numbers of animals used for biomedical research increased dramatically.

Researchers are not being intentionally "cruel." They are motivated by decent intentions such as to cure disease, ensure product safety,
and to advance knowledge.
Historical Ethic Short Circuited
Second, Agriculture, including animal agriculture, was industrialized after WWII.
Historical Ethic Short Circuited
This greatly increased productivity.
This means that the numbers of farm workers decreased while the number of animals raised has greatly increased.

It also means that animal environments have been altered to improve productivity. (battery cages, gestation crates etc...)

Also behavior previously seen as "bad husbandry" such as animal overcrowding was made possible by advances in antibiotics and vaccines.
Historical Ethic Short Circuited
Historical Social Consensus Ethic
This traditional ethic was an ethic forbidding cruelty.

It forbids the deliberate, unnecessary infliction of suffering and pain on animals.
"For as long as humans have domesticated
animals and had a social consensus ethic,
it has included an ethic concerning the treatment
of animals" (Rollin 1995, p.45).
Historical Animal Ethic Overview
For Example:

The Bible and Other Religious Texts often condemn animal cruelty.

Do not yolk an ox and mule together...

A sharp knife must be used when slaughtering an animal...
Historical Social Consensus Ethic
Also Aquinas and Kant both condemned animal cruelty because it may lead to the abuse of humans.
Historical Personal Ethic
Finally, prior to the 1950s, animals were mostly used in farming contexts where they lived in a "symbiotic" relationship with humans.
Good husbandry
If the animals thrived, then the farmers thrived.
All of these changes in the way we raise animals
led to:
Unintentional animal suffering
The reduction of negative consequences for previously bad animal husbandry.

Thus the old ethic built on the punishment of
cruelty and on self interest no longer worked in this new environment.

Also, the rise of environmental ethics during the 1970s brought animal communities and ecosystems
into the ethical purview.
An ethic is a set of rules, beliefs, and principles about right and wrong, justice and injustice, and good and bad that guide people's behavior.
Ethics is taught by teachers, parents, peers, and clergy, for example.
Ethics in a Nutshell
Different Types of Ethics
Personal Ethic:

A personal ethic is made up of your personal values, principles, or rules of thumb that guide your individual decision making.
Different Types of Ethics
Social Ethics:

Social ethics are those views of right and wrong that are encoded in laws and policies. These are also called "social consensus ethics."
Now you may think that ethics are subjective....
In reality, very few ethics are left to one's personal opinion.
Different Types of Ethics
Let's look at the example of the bank robber.
It may be the robber's personal ethical
opinion that bank robbery is acceptable if you need the money...
However, this will clearly not stand up in court when s/he's convicted and punished.
Ethics in an Eggshell
Social ethics, encoded in laws, are universally binding on members of society and not a matter of personal opinion.

If this were not the case, then we would have chaos. (Imagine life without traffic laws.)
Also, it is important to note that areas of conduct can move from one sphere to the other over time. (Hiring practices, for example.)
Animal Ethics:
What ethical duties do humans have towards non-human animals?

Most Common Approach:
Apply Ethical Theories to animal questions.
Animal Ethics?
Quick Review
Social Ethic
Personal Ethic
Historical Ethic Short Circuited
1) What changes in agriculture short circuited the historical ethic?
Animal Rights vs. Animal Welfare
1) How is animal welfare defined? What about animal rights? How are they different?
2) What are the pros and cons of each?
3) What would Rollin argue in the case of the cub?
4) What would Rollin argue in the case of the elephants?
5) What are some of the problems the could occur when an ethic is frozen in law and policies?
6) Which position do you support (Telos, rights, or welfare)? Why?
(The ends)
(Intentions: Prior to Conduct)
Social Ethic
(Rights and Duties)
Calls for New Laws & Policies Sometimes Denote the Creation of a New Social Ethic.
Liberty & Freedom
Laws that Limit Liberty
When we live in a
We have a duty to follow those rule.
A New Social Ethic
Focus on
Track Closely
Rise of
Animal Rights
A Texas A&M University Survey Found:
36% of consumers said that
animal welfare
was somewhat important to them,
22% said it was very important,
11% said extremely important*

*Grimshaw K et al, Consumer Perception of Beef, Pork, Lamb, Chicken, and Fish, Meat Science, Vol 96 (Jan 2014), pp. 443-444.
*Natural Food Labels Survey, Consumer Reports National Research Center, Jan 2016. http://www.consumerreports.org/content/dam/cro/magazinearticles/2016/March/Consumer_Reports_Natural_Food_Labels_Survey_2015.pdf.
Consumer Reports’ Dec. 2015 Natural Food Labels Survey,
Better living conditions for farm animals is viewed as “very important” to 52% of consumers.*
"It looks to the ethical machinery it has developed to deal with our treatment of people and extends it to cover the treatment of animals.
This does not mean treating animals the same as or equal to people."
Rollin's Conception of Rights
It is not that they are saying that animals should have the same rights as humans;

Rather, they are saying that animals, too, have natures—the pigness of the pig, the cowness of the cow, “fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly”
Veterinary Health
Indicators (Body)
Typical Behaviors
Affective States (Mind)
Three Pillars or Domains of Animal Welfare:
Full transcript