The Moderate Veiw on Animal Ethics

Between the Species: A Journal of Ethics 7 (4):194-200 (1991)
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Animal rights advocates reject the use of animals for commercial or scientific purposes. According to some, who are often branded as extremists, it would be wrong to kill or otherwise harm animals even if this were necessary for human health or survival. This, of course, contrasts sharply with the predominate attitude that animals are mere resources for human use and consumption. In this paper, I explore a view on animal ethics that is intermediate between these two extremes. According to this view, while it is wrong to exploit animals for trivial purposes, it is morally acceptable to use animals for legitimate human needs. This permits subsistence hunting, for example, as well as certain types of animal research. This moderate view may seem like a reasonable position, but I argue against it. If other animals do have basic moral rights, then the moderate view is indefensible and the “extremism” of some animal rights advocates is unavoidable.

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Charles K. Fink
Miami Dade College


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