Nonhuman animals are among the most vulnerable in our society and their treatment and use are pressing issues for many people globally. Yet animal ethics, the discipline dedicated to providing normative guidance about how humans ought to treat other animals, has arguably failed to deliver the kind of transformative change hoped for by advocates. Although feminists have made contributions to animal ethics since the 1970s, these contributions have largely been ignored in a discipline dominated by approaches which have their origins in the work of Peter Singer and Tom Regan.

This chapter seeks to address this deficit by articulating the contribution of feminists to animal ethics both in terms of their critique of the status quo, as well as the new approaches to thinking about animals they have facilitated. The chapter will also suggest how insights into animal ethics offered up by feminism can be further developed and incorporated into mainstream animal ethics, particularly around vulnerability, relationality and care and dependency.