Animal ethics

Animal ethics is the branch of philosophy devoted to the moral responsibilities of human beings toward animals of other species. Since the publication of Peter Singer’s flagship book Animal Liberation in 1975, researchers typically adopt a pathocentric perspective, according to which individuals have non-instrumental value because they are sentient, that is, because they are capable of conscious experiences and have prudential interests.

Especially since the publication of the book Zoopolis by Sue Donaldson and Will Kymlicka, researchers who are interested in our moral duties towards other animals have begun to approach these issues from the perspective of political philosophy. This work draws attention to theoretical and practical questions around animal and inter-species justice, such as which rights (not only negative but also positive) should be granted to non-human animals, and which legal status might be most appropriate to secure these rights.

CRÉ members who work on the topic of animal ethics do so from their respective disciplines. Several of them are also members of the Research Group on Environmental and Animal Ethics (GRÉEA).