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In: Anthropocentrism


This article considers Bernard Rollin’s justification of the genetic modification of the telos of livestock animals for welfare purposes. While agreeing that a pragmatic approach to animal welfare might well reach this far, the claim is that Rollin’s approach leaves some important harms out of the picture. Section (1) will outline the rationale for a pragmatic approach towards animal rights. Section (2) will outline Rollin’s telos-based argument for allowing modification. Sections (3) and (4) will draw upon analogies that (respectively) lend support to and problematize Rollin’s telos-based argument: the production of anencephalic ‘Chicken Little’ lumps of animal tissue as a way to avoid suffering; and the manipulation of preferences by ‘hypnopaedia’ in Huxley’s Brave New World. Section (5) will suggest that this does not rule out modification, but it does require us to recognize that modification involves harms, even if they are sometimes outweighed by benefits.

Open Access
In: Journal of Applied Animal Ethics Research