Farming Out Our Responsibilities for Animal Welfare: Does the New Zealand Animal Welfare Act Meet Our Obligations to Animals?
King, Michael Robert
What, if any, moral obligations we have to animals is a matter of intense debate. Views in moral and political philosophy vary from those that give animals no moral status in themselves, to those that give animals a fundamental moral status equal to humans. These theories are reviewed and critiqued. Despite the disagreement among these theories, common moral judgments concerning animals are found. These are that: animals have direct moral status (or should be treated as if they do); and animal suffering is a moral concern. These lead to two obligations: a negative prima facie duty to avoid harming animals; and a positive prima facie duty to improve the welfare of animals that are suffering. The New Zealand Animal Welfare Act (1999) is reviewed and critiqued in light of these moral judgments. It is found that the provisions in the Act and related policy are insufficient to satisfy both duties in significant respects. In particular, monitoring and enforcement of the Act is largely funded through public charity, which is unsatisfactory. The duties are developed further, their normative implications are examined, and objections are addressed.
Degree Name: Postgraduate Diploma in Arts
Degree Discipline: Politics
Keywords: Ethics; Law; Animals; Welfare; Politics
Research Type: Dissertation