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Humanities LibreTexts

6.7: “Painless” and “Humane” Killing, Again

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  • In the context of experimentation, we also hear the “if the animals are killed painlessly, then that’s morally OK” assumption. Again, we should notice that we reject it about ourselves. In most cases, if we were killed, even “painlessly,” we would be deprived of our (hopefully valuable) futures: everything we would have experienced is taken from us. Insofar as animals have futures, and killing them prevents them from experiencing those futures (and any of the good experiences they would have had), it seems that the same basic reasons why it is wrong to kill us apply to many animals. So the assumption that “painless killing is automatically morally permissible” should be, at least, strongly doubted: good reasons would need to be given its favor.

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