Collective dimensions in animal ethics

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Due to its emphasis on experiential interests, animal ethics tends to focus on individuals as the sole unit of moral concern. Many issues in animal ethics can be fruitfully analysed in terms of obligations towards individual animals, but some problems require reflection about collective dimensions of animal life in ways that individualist approaches can’t offer. Criticism of the individualist focus in animal ethics is not new; it has been put forward in particular by environmental ethics approaches. However, the latter tend to be so far removed from the concerns of animal ethicists that both groups talk at cross purposes. We think the gap between environmental and animal ethics could be bridged by focusing more on the collective dimensions of our concerns with animals. In our paper we explore various (novel) ways of conceptualising the moral relevance of collectiveness in animal life. We draw on insights from public health ethics, as this field of inquiry has also developed – at least partly – in response to individualist approaches in human bioethics, creating more room for recognizing the value of population health, interpersonal relations, solidarity, and ways in which a collective is constituted.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationKnow your Food
EditorsDiana Elena Dumitras, Ionel Mugurel Jitea, Stef Aerts
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers
ISBN (Electronic)9789086868131
ISBN (Print)9789086862641
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Publication series

NameFood ethics and Innovation

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