PHIL 224, Week 3
Animal ethics, continued.
If you do topic 2 on animal extinction, the assignment MUST be handed in by Sept. 29.
Recommended: include a node for the topic, e.g. MEDICAL EXPERIMENTATION, ANIMAL EXTINCTION, GMO. The map should be like the vegetarian map, not like the right-wing and left-wing maps.
Please volunteer for debates in November concerning:
- Alberta oil sands and planned pipeline
Doubts about animal rights
- Non-human animals lack characteristics that support the attribution of rights to a species:
- complex beliefs and desires
- needs of relatedness, autonomy, competence
- sense of self (8 species only)
- Extending rights to animals diminishes human rights.
- Welfare of animals can be protected for other reasons: pain is bad.
- Similarly, rights should not be attributed to trees, islands, planets.
From Week 2: Native Hunters
Why environmental ethics is especially important for aboriginal issues
- Aboriginals are particularly vulnerable in Canadian society.
- Many aboriginals live in fragile environments.
Arguments against native hunting
- Non-human animals have rights to life.
- Non-human animals suffer if hunted.
Arguments for native hunting
- Aboriginals have needs for food and subsistence.
- Aboriginals have rights to their traditional cultures.
- Are their cultural rights?
- How can we adjudicate conflicts between cultures and/or species?
Cattle and Prairie Ecology
Arguments against raising cattle
- Health disadvantages: cholesterol, antibiotics, hormones, E. coli contamination, etc.
- Environmental disadvantages: water, manure, methane, etc.
- Pain and suffering of cows.
Arguments for raising cattle
- Nutritional value for humans
- Pleasure of eating meat
- Prairie ecology benefits: grazing is better than cultivation
Arguments for protecting endangered species
- All species have a right to existence.
- All species have intrinsic value.
- Diverse species have health value for humans.
- Diverse species have aesthetic value for humans.
Arguments against protecting endangered species.
- Extinction is natural: 99% of species have gone extinct.
- Most species are of no foreseeable value to humans.
- Legal protection of endangered species infringes human rights, e.g. property.
Review Questions for Week 3
- Why does Cohen think that raising cattle is environmentally beneficial?
- Are the arguments for not eating beef different from the general arguments for being vegetarian?
- What reasons does Wellington consider for attributing intrinsic value to species?
- What reasons does Wellington consider for attributing indirect utility to species?
- What legal steps does Wellington think should be taken to protect species?
- Essay: Considering arguments for and against, should endangered species be protected?
This page updated Sept. 26, 2011