ANIMAL RIGHTS AND SOCIAL RELATIONS
DOI link for ANIMAL RIGHTS AND SOCIAL RELATIONS
ANIMAL RIGHTS AND SOCIAL RELATIONS book
Alongside, and to some extent intertwined with, the rise of environmental politics has emerged a new and increasingly politicized concern about human mistreatment of other animals. In both cases there is an evident concern to extend-or, properly, restore-the scope of moral responsibility to include the non-human world. However, there are also interesting points of tension between the moral discourses of environmental concern and the most influential voices in the debate about the moral status of (non-human) animals. For example, radical environmentalism (‘deep ecology’) claims to reject anthropocentric approaches to morality, whilst the advocates of animal rights argue for an extension of moral concepts to non-human animals only on the basis, and to the extent that, the latter share certain favoured psychological abilities with humans. Also, the discourse of animal rights preserves the abstract individualism of liberal moral thinking, in sharp contrast to the ‘holistic’ thinking of deep ecology. In general, radical environmentalists have seen a need for profound changes in human ways of social living and have tended therefore to be sceptical about the prevailing (liberalist-individualist) moral vocabulary. By contrast, the most influential advocates of an improved moral status for animals have taken their stand with the prevailing moral discourses, and attempted to show that they cannot consistently be confined within the species boundary.