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Humanities LibreTexts

4: Objections to Defenses of Animals and Defending Animal Use

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  • This Chapter we will survey the most influential general moral theories that have been appealed to argue in defense of animal use and/or to object to the theories developed in defense of animals. As we will see, these theories are often extensions or developments of the moral theories that have been developed to explain how humans ought to treat other human beings. These writers often argue that the moral theory (or theories) that best explain the nature and extent of our moral obligations to human beings (especially vulnerable ones, such as babies, children, the mentally challenged, the elderly, and so on) do not have positive implications for animals. Thus, they argue that there are relevant differences between the kinds of cases that justify protecting all human beings but allowing serious harms to animals.

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