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I THE NATURE OF THE HUMAN / COMPANION ANIMAL RELATIONSHIP AND ITS ETHICAL FOUNDATIONS

COMPANION AND ASSISTANCE ANIMALS: BENEFITS, WELFARE SAFEGUARDS, AND RELATIONSHIPS

Jean Harvey

This chapter has to do with our moral responsibilities toward companion animals, although because of space and my own background, I focus on dogs and cats in Western societies.1 My main goal is to assess one approach to the ethics of companion animals (which I call the “utilization with welfare safeguards” model) that emerges from the dominant historical tradition, and to point to an alternative account. Given space restrictions, I have separated out work on other recent positions2 and selected for examination a view that is familiar in everyday thinking and the most prominent in institutional thinking (in scientific and medical research, and veterinary training, for example). Given the work that this appraisal involves, a full development of arguments in favor of the alternative position (which I believe is far more morally sound) would be the subject of another paper. I do, however, explain how it differs from the “utilization with welfare safeguards” model and how some of the moral dangers of that approach are avoided.

 
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