web site hit counter Why Animal Suffering Matters: Philosophy, Theology, and Practical Ethics - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

Why Animal Suffering Matters: Philosophy, Theology, and Practical Ethics

Availability: Ready to download

How we treat animals arouses strong emotions. Many people are repulsed by photographs of cruelty to animals and respond passionately to how we make animals suffer for food, commerce, and sport. But is this, as some argue, a purely emotional issue? Are there really no rational grounds for opposing our current treatment of animals? In Why Animal Suffering Matters, Andrew Linz How we treat animals arouses strong emotions. Many people are repulsed by photographs of cruelty to animals and respond passionately to how we make animals suffer for food, commerce, and sport. But is this, as some argue, a purely emotional issue? Are there really no rational grounds for opposing our current treatment of animals? In Why Animal Suffering Matters, Andrew Linzey argues that when analyzed impartially the rational case for extending moral solicitude to all sentient beings is much stronger than many suppose. Indeed, Linzey shows that many of the justifications for inflicting animal suffering in fact provide grounds for protecting them. Because animals, the argument goes, lack reason or souls or language, harming them is not an offense. Linzey suggests that just the opposite is true, that the inability of animals to give or withhold consent, their inability to represent their interests, their moral innocence, and their relative defenselessness all compel us not to harm them. Andrew Linzey further shows that the arguments in favor of three controversial practices--hunting with dogs, fur farming, and commercial sealing--cannot withstand rational critique. He considers the economic, legal, and political issues surrounding each of these practices, appealing not to our emotions but to our reason, and shows that they are rationally unsupportable and morally repugnant. In this superbly argued and deeply engaging book, Linzey pioneers a new theory about why animal suffering matters, maintaining that sentient animals, like infants and young children, should be accorded a special moral status.


Compare

How we treat animals arouses strong emotions. Many people are repulsed by photographs of cruelty to animals and respond passionately to how we make animals suffer for food, commerce, and sport. But is this, as some argue, a purely emotional issue? Are there really no rational grounds for opposing our current treatment of animals? In Why Animal Suffering Matters, Andrew Linz How we treat animals arouses strong emotions. Many people are repulsed by photographs of cruelty to animals and respond passionately to how we make animals suffer for food, commerce, and sport. But is this, as some argue, a purely emotional issue? Are there really no rational grounds for opposing our current treatment of animals? In Why Animal Suffering Matters, Andrew Linzey argues that when analyzed impartially the rational case for extending moral solicitude to all sentient beings is much stronger than many suppose. Indeed, Linzey shows that many of the justifications for inflicting animal suffering in fact provide grounds for protecting them. Because animals, the argument goes, lack reason or souls or language, harming them is not an offense. Linzey suggests that just the opposite is true, that the inability of animals to give or withhold consent, their inability to represent their interests, their moral innocence, and their relative defenselessness all compel us not to harm them. Andrew Linzey further shows that the arguments in favor of three controversial practices--hunting with dogs, fur farming, and commercial sealing--cannot withstand rational critique. He considers the economic, legal, and political issues surrounding each of these practices, appealing not to our emotions but to our reason, and shows that they are rationally unsupportable and morally repugnant. In this superbly argued and deeply engaging book, Linzey pioneers a new theory about why animal suffering matters, maintaining that sentient animals, like infants and young children, should be accorded a special moral status.

30 review for Why Animal Suffering Matters: Philosophy, Theology, and Practical Ethics

  1. 4 out of 5

    Vegantrav

    One thing that I have found quite interesting on my journey as a vegan and supporter of animal rights is that the vast majority of those of us in the animal compassion community are secular. I am utterly baffled that the religious, in general, are so callous and so uncaring about the plight of animal suffering; in this regard, most religious communities seem extremely selfish and seem, to me, to betray the values of love and selflessness that most religions espouse. Religious voices opposing ani One thing that I have found quite interesting on my journey as a vegan and supporter of animal rights is that the vast majority of those of us in the animal compassion community are secular. I am utterly baffled that the religious, in general, are so callous and so uncaring about the plight of animal suffering; in this regard, most religious communities seem extremely selfish and seem, to me, to betray the values of love and selflessness that most religions espouse. Religious voices opposing animal abuse and supporting animal rights and veganism are quite rare; thus, it was with great pleasure that I read this book by Andrew Linzey, who is an Anglican priest and theologian. Now, while Linzey is a Christian, the arguments that he advances against our society's general mistreatment of animals are not, except in one instance, based on any specifically Christian or religious grounds. Linzey's main argument is that animals are morally blameless and innocent and are in a position such that we can exercise power over them; thus, in their relation to us (to human adults, that is), animals are deserving of the same moral consideration that we grant to another important group that is morally innocent and powerless before us: infants and children. If, Linzey argues, it is wrong for us to abuse and exploit infants and children for our own benefit, so too it is wrong for for us to abuse and exploit animals in scientific and medical research, in using them for their meat and fur, and in hunting them. Of course, some will argue that animals and human children should not be given equal moral consideration: children, many will assert, deserve greater moral consideration than do animals. Of course, this is rank speciesism, but Linzey does not spend much time condemning speciesism; rather, he makes the argument, first made by the utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham, that what is important in our treatment of animals is the issue of whether animals can suffer. Clearly, animals can and do suffer. Certainly, our actions in using them for our own ends (research, food, clothing, etc.) causes animals great pain and suffering, and the ends for which we use these animals are not in any way necessary for our own well being and survival; ergo, argues Linzey, we are acting immorally in so using these animals. Linzey also makes a Kantian argument in asserting that we are not to treat animals as mere means for obtaining our own ends, but rather they should be treated as ends in and of themselves: that is, animals should not be treated simply as instruments for serving us (for example, in providing us with food and clothing); thus, unlike Singer, Linzey is arguing here (and elsewhere throughout the book), for a more deontological approach to animal ethics over against Singer's consequentialist approach. What is most refreshing in this book is not so much Linzey's arguments, many of which have been made elsewhere by others, but the fact that the arguments are made by a representative of organized religion: would that his sisters and brothers within his and various other religious communities would exhibit similar moral courage in presenting the ethical and even religious case for ending humanity's torture and genocide of innocent animals.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Duffy

    Instead of arguing that animals deserve moral consideration because of how alike they are to us, in this book Andrew Linzey argues that they deserve moral consideration because of how different they are. A unique perspective that is solidly argues. This is a great book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    G. Lawrence

    A wonderful book. Highly recommended.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bobby

    Linzey's book is one of the most purely philosophical books I've read on animal suffering, at least at the outset and at the conclusion. He begins by presenting the case that humans, because of being moral agents, are therefore more responsible for their actions in regards the "lesser beings" (as some think of animals), not less. Linzey also ties animals and human infants together, in terms of how we think about their treatment: neither are able to present a case in their own defense and in both Linzey's book is one of the most purely philosophical books I've read on animal suffering, at least at the outset and at the conclusion. He begins by presenting the case that humans, because of being moral agents, are therefore more responsible for their actions in regards the "lesser beings" (as some think of animals), not less. Linzey also ties animals and human infants together, in terms of how we think about their treatment: neither are able to present a case in their own defense and in both cases human adults must take the moral high ground in terms of how they are treated. The book also has a theological aspect that I didn't find obtrusive in any way. Basically it comes down to the view that God values his creation and all its inhabitants and that God takes suffering seriously as evidenced by the suffering of Jesus. Finally, as the book moves more firmly into the "practical ethics" part of the subtitle, Linzey goes into great detail on the ethics of hunting, fur farming, and commercial sealing. I read the first two of these sections but could not read all of the third: the details were a bit too much for me. But then, I'm already convinced of the evil inherent in these acts, especially commercial sealing. In the end, I found Linzey's book to be a challenging and worthwhile read and recommend it to anyone wanting to think about animal suffering from a philosophical point of view.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Brandon

    "Why Animal Suffering Matters" by Andrew Linzey presents clear and compelling arguments against animal suffering. Linzey describes the moral history of animals in a number of philosophical works and traditions; deconstructs major arguments made it favor of animal cruelty and mistreatment by pointing out the logical and moral flaws with each; and uses three case studies (fox hunting, fur framing, and commercial sealing) to demonstrate the practical limitations and inconsistencies of current philo "Why Animal Suffering Matters" by Andrew Linzey presents clear and compelling arguments against animal suffering. Linzey describes the moral history of animals in a number of philosophical works and traditions; deconstructs major arguments made it favor of animal cruelty and mistreatment by pointing out the logical and moral flaws with each; and uses three case studies (fox hunting, fur framing, and commercial sealing) to demonstrate the practical limitations and inconsistencies of current philosophical and political thought to adequately address the issue of animal suffering. One of the major themes is that of moral solicitude: "In (fur farming) we keep essentially wild animals captive and make them subservient to our purposes; we frustrate their basic behavioural needs; and we kill them in a frequently inhumane way which makes them liable to suffering. We do all this even though they have not harmed us, and even though they do not pose any threat to our life or well-being. They cannot "ascent" to their maltreatment or even vocalise their own interests. Theirs is a state of moral blamelessness; they are without means of defense and are wholly vulnerable. In short, we have made them entirely dependent upon us; they deserve, as a matter of justice, special moral solicitude" (104). Linzey uses this argument as a touchstone throughout the book. Since animals are not moral agents, they are blameless and helpless and, being completely at the mercy of human whims, deserve "special moral solicitude". This argument counters the commonly-held belief that animals are outside the realm of moral consideration because they are inferior to humans and human interests. By arguing for special moral consideration, Linzey is effectively arguing for a fundamental change in the relationship between animals and humans, including how animals are perceived by humans. Another passage highlights the basic underlying problem of misperception that allows humans to inflict cruelty on animals while having little concern for the experience of animals: "...many people still do not see animals, They may have seen things moving, objects out there, even "pests" that invade "their" territory. But they have not yet seen other living, sentient beings. Our language, our philosophy, our science, our history, our theology, our culture, by and large, percent us from seeing...the change of perception-or insight- can be stated quite simply: it is the move away from ideas that animals are machines, tools, things, commodities, resources here for us to us, to the idea that animals have their own value- what we might call "intrinsic value". Animals are not just "objects" out there; they are-in the words of Tom Regan- "subjects of life," and they bring subjectivity into our world" (56). Some are able to see and be aware of the intrinsic value of animals, while some are not. Here, animal suffering is caused by a fundamental misperception. Linzey goes further with his argument in his case against commercial sealing: "Governments of all shapes are increasingly, it seems, making the mistake of thinking that concerns for animals are entirely met by considerations of sustainability and conservation, whereas in fact animal protection extends to concern for each individual animal and not just to the species as a collective or as a whole. This blind spot is part of a deeper failure of perception- to see that individuals within a species, and not just the species itself, deserves our moral solicitude...each and every individual within a mammalian species is unique- as unique as any individual human being with its own needs, preferences, and social affiliations. Language about seals as a "resource" is sub-ethical in this second sense: it utterly fails to see the value of each individual and to recognise the claim of each individual to moral consideration" (138). Here, Linzey seems to suggest that the only way animal suffering will truly be extinguished is for a radical re-imagining of animals. What is needed is a new phenomenology of animals (and, by extension, the environments in which they live). Judging by the current situation, in which billions of animals are slaughtered in factory farms each year, tens of millions are killed for their fur, countless others are subjected to testing, hunting, and abuse, and considering also that humans routinely slaughter each other in mass (refusing to offer moral consideration even to members of their own species), it seems this new understanding of animals is still not close. Lastly, Linzey draws on his theological roots to make an argument appealing to Christians: "If one believes that the crucified Christ is the most accurate picture of God that the world has ever seen (as I do), then it follows that those who are sensitive to the suffering of the crucified ought to be moved by the Christ-like suffering of innocent creatures" (164). This argument does not exempt Christians from discourse concerning the moral status of animals. In fact, Linzey makes a special case for Christians to give equal consideration to "innocent creatures" as they would to Christ. This is important because it is apparent that the majority of those who identify as Christians are just as complicit in animal cruelty as any other group. This is evident by the animals abuses that occur each year in the United States, a predominantly Christian nation. While Linzey doesn't elaborate on this argument much in the current work, the tone is present and can be useful when considering secular arguments. "Why Animal Suffering Matters" is an important core text for those who want to strengthen their own arguments in support of animals, and for those who would like to learn more about the moral status of animals from Aristotle to the present. The arguments are presented with a high level of clarity and attention to detail. The case studies are unusual and allow readers to see how the arguments can be better understood and applied. While it is uncertain how much books such as this will contribute to an overall shift in perception and treatment of animals, it is crucial that the very best arguments are put forward in support of animals everywhere. In this regard, Andrew Linzey is an exemplary teacher and guide.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Vroom

    Ontzettend goed boek en inmiddels ook in een Nederlandse vertaling verkrijgbaar.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sally

    Do we have an obligation to protect those who are weaker, more vulnerable, and unable to represent their own interests or give consent? Theologian Andrew Linzey, director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics and professor at Oxford University, maintains that this is very much the case. He argues that as sentient beings, animals lie on a continuum with small children, infants, and the disabled, pointing out that the similarities in these inarticulate groups' needs for protection from cruelty an Do we have an obligation to protect those who are weaker, more vulnerable, and unable to represent their own interests or give consent? Theologian Andrew Linzey, director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics and professor at Oxford University, maintains that this is very much the case. He argues that as sentient beings, animals lie on a continuum with small children, infants, and the disabled, pointing out that the similarities in these inarticulate groups' needs for protection from cruelty and abuse have long been recognized in humanitarian reform efforts. In making a rational case against cruelty toward animals, Dr Linzey addresses six of the differences often put forward in the West to justify or trivialize their exploitation and suffering: that they are naturally slaves; non-rational beings; linguistically deficient; not moral agents; soulless; and devoid of the divine image. Some of these points are philosophical, others theological, and most are of long standing, some going back to the ancient Greeks and Hebrews. Although not accepting these views, he doesn't argue against them. Rather he shows that these differences in themselves should make us more protective of animals and cause us to take their suffering more seriously, not less. He states his purpose this way: the appeal (perhaps even the originality) of this book is the way in which it takes the usual differences (still widely accepted) about animals, and shows that they cannot bear the weight of the usual negative interpretations. It is an attempt to meet people where they are – and take them further. ... It doesn't ask people to begin with a concept of rights, nor does it ask people to revise the commonly held differences between animals and humans, nor does it depend upon some privileged access to new scientific findings. I fully accept that the case for animals may, and probably will, be buttressed by the further questioning of at least some of the differences that are now widely accepted. Be that as it may, accepting the existence of sentience ..., a robust case for animals can now be made even within the confines of our existing mental furniture. The case, even and especially dependent only on traditional formulations, is strong enough to deserve a hearing now, and should result in major changes to the way we treat animals. – p. 165 After making the case that our treatment of animals is a rational rather than solely an emotional issue and dealing with these widely-held points one by one, he examines three specific examples of animal cruelty that are now beginning to be regulated: hunting with dogs, fur farming, and commercial sealing. In the concluding chapter he argues for re-establishing animals and children as a common cause and addresses several possible objections to his approach. Through this book Linzey is seeking to bring about a change of perception – or insight – [that:] can be stated quite simply: it is the move away from ideas that animals are machines, tools, things, commodities, resources here for us, to the idea that animals have their own value – what we may call an "intrinsic value." . . .  It is when we make the moral discovery that animals matter in themselves, that they have value in themselves, and that their suffering is as important to them as ours is to us.  We need to recognize that there are still human beings out there who just have not had this insight.  They do not think that animals matter, or that there are other creatures of value in the world.  They think that human beings matter, but that the rest is just "the environment," a theatrical backdrop to what really matters, namely, themselves. – p. 56This insight into animals' innate worth is resisted because acknowledging it would mean changes in lifestyle direct and profound enough that most people, let alone many commercial enterprises, would rather not have to make them. Cruelty to animals is deeply institutionalized and backed by many habits and vested interests. This book makes a strong case for our responsibility to protect animals just as we now in the West protect children, the infirm, and those people physically or mentally unable to represent their own interests.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dave Courtney

    One of the most comprehensive and in depth studies on animal suffering that I found to date. It spans a number of different perspectives, including philosophical and theological approaches. It looks to argue that for as obvious as the place of animals in the created order is to some, history has been ingrained in a heirarchal approach for so long that many simply can not see it from a rational perspective. And that is really what this author sets out to do, is to show that it is both rational an One of the most comprehensive and in depth studies on animal suffering that I found to date. It spans a number of different perspectives, including philosophical and theological approaches. It looks to argue that for as obvious as the place of animals in the created order is to some, history has been ingrained in a heirarchal approach for so long that many simply can not see it from a rational perspective. And that is really what this author sets out to do, is to show that it is both rational and theologically necessary to see animals as emotional, sentient beings whom suffer and can feel pain, and for whom we have a responsibility towards. It would be hard for anyone to read this book and walk away unchanged in their perspective I think, and his arguments are rock solid, and his motivations are pure. Highly recommended read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    WaferBiscuits

    An excellent introduction into what I've seen as one of the strongest arguments for equal considerations of other animals. The author cleverly chooses industries that are universally regarded as some of the grosser consequences of animal commodification. It creates a perfect introductory piece that is ideal for any beginning readers and those on the brink of veganism. The theological aspects of the text were extremely interesting, and an aspect of the ethics that I admittedly have little knowled An excellent introduction into what I've seen as one of the strongest arguments for equal considerations of other animals. The author cleverly chooses industries that are universally regarded as some of the grosser consequences of animal commodification. It creates a perfect introductory piece that is ideal for any beginning readers and those on the brink of veganism. The theological aspects of the text were extremely interesting, and an aspect of the ethics that I admittedly have little knowledge of. Thankfully the book is written relatively in layman's language, all the more reason to recommend this before other pro-animal books to friends and colleagues.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kayako

  11. 4 out of 5

    Karolina

  12. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

  13. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

  14. 4 out of 5

    Brandon

  15. 5 out of 5

    Allen

  16. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Thickett

  17. 5 out of 5

    Holly DeJesus

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kim Rubish

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ben Thorne

  20. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

  21. 4 out of 5

    Noone And

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nikki

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mark Gstohl

  24. 5 out of 5

    Hanne

  25. 5 out of 5

    Megan

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nandita Kalra

  27. 5 out of 5

    Nienke

  28. 5 out of 5

    Leanne

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lane

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ramon Salazar

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.