Ethics and Animals (ANST-UA 400)

This course examines the morality of our treatment of nonhuman animals. We start by asking about the nature of moral rights and duties. What are rights, and where do they come from? How do we resolve conflicts among rights? Do animals have rights? Next, what are obligations, and where do they come from? What makes right actions right? Do we have special obligations to members of our own family, nation, or species? Is there a moral difference between killing and letting die? Do we have group obligations as well as individual obligations? We then ask how these issues apply to our treatment of nonhuman animals. Are we justified in treating animals as property under the law? Are we justified in using animals for food, clothing, entertainment, research, or companionship? Finally, what are the ethics of animal advocacy? Here we consider abolition vs. regulation, incrementalism vs. absolutism, and legal reform vs. direct action.

Animal Studies (Undergraduate)
4 credits – 15 Weeks