The meaning of animal labour

In Charlotte Blattner, Kendra Coulter & Will Kymlicka (eds.), Animal Labour: A New Frontier of Interspecies Justice? Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 160-180 (2020)
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Proponents of humane or traditional husbandry, in contrast to factory farming, often argue that maintaining meaningful relationships with animals entails working with them. Accordingly, they argue that animal liberation is misguided, since it appears to entail erasing our relationships to animals and depriving both us and them of valuable opportunities to live together. This chapter offers a critical examination of defense of animal husbandry based on the value of labour, in particular the view that farm animals could be seen as workers, and what it entails. It then considers ways in which our relationships to domesticated species could be made meaningful, including through work, without entailing the premature killing of animals raised for food. Meaningful animal lives depend on a proper analysis of the meaning, and value, of labour, which this chapter argues is missing from labour-based defenses of humane husbandry.
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