Individual Interests

In Marc Bekoff & Carron A. Meaney (eds.), Encyclopedia of Animal Rights and Animal Welfare. Greenwood Press. pp. 311--313 (1998)
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Abstract
Having positive experience is, by defintion, in the interest of every subject. Whether being alive per se, in addition to having positive experiences, is in a subject's interest depends of her/his cognitive development. Only a reflectively self-conscious subject can take and thus have an interest in one's own individual existence and may not want to die regardless of the expected experience. Since most non-human subjects (except for a few mammalian and avian species) are not aware of their subjective existence they cannot take and thus have interest in their lives per se. However, they do have interest in maximizing rewarding experience and minimizing suffering.
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