The Blind Hens' Challenge: Does It Undermine the View That Only Welfare Matters in Our Dealings with Animals?

Environmental Values 23 (6):727-742 (2014)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Animal ethicists have recently debated the ethical questions raised by disenhancing animals to improve their welfare. Here, we focus on the particular case of breeding hens for commercial egg-laying systems to become blind, in order to benefit their welfare. Many people find breeding blind hens intuitively repellent, yet ‘welfare-only’ positions appear to be committed to endorsing this possibility if it produces welfare gains. We call this the ‘Blind Hens’ Challenge’. In this paper, we argue that there are both empirical and theoretical reasons why even those adopting ‘welfare-only’ views should be concerned about breeding blind hens. But we also argue that alternative views, which (for example) claim that it is important to respect the telos or rights of an animal, do not offer a more convincing solution to questions raised by the possibility of disenhancing animals for their own benefit
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Revision history
Archival date: 2016-01-09
View upload history
References found in this work BETA
The Case for Animal Rights.Regan, Tom & Midgley, Mary
Perfectionism.Hurka, Thomas

View all 12 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
An Overview of Engineering Approaches to Improving Agricultural Animal Welfare.Croney, Candace; Muir, William; Ni, Ji-Qin; Widmar, Nicole Olynk & Varner, Gary

Add more citations

Added to PP index

Total views
435 ( #9,012 of 47,387 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
119 ( #4,605 of 47,387 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.