Animal Welfare and Environmental Ethics

In: Journal of Applied Animal Ethics Research
Holmes Rolston III Department of Philosophy, Colorado State University Fort Collins, CO 80523-1781 USA

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Bernard Rollin’s main concerns are domestic and research animals. Such animals have endured less suffering as a result of Rollin’s seminal work. Animals are of moral concern because they have conscious interests, or telos. Rollin’s use of telos is plausible though more specialized than usual. Rollin has theoretical or in-principle ideals that are unlikely to be accepted as current practice. In result he adopts more moderate moral principles. In the fair-contract, husbandry dimension of agriculture, the farmer takes care of the cows and pigs, recognizing their rights, and then eats them, or sells them to be eaten. He reaches a strange combination of kinship and chasm separating human and animal minds. Rollin’s account of any deeper environmental ethics for a biospheric Earth is unsatisfactory, any respect for life beyond sentience, especially his concepts of global ecosystems.

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