, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 607-624
Date: 08 May 2011

Quality Time: Temporal and Other Aspects of Ethical Principles Based on a “Life Worth Living”

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Abstract

The evaluation of whether an animal has a life worth living (LWL) has been suggested as a useful concept for farm animal policymaking. But there are a number of different ways in which the concept could be applied. This paper attempts to identify and evaluate candidate ethical principles based on the concept. It suggests that an appropriate principle by which to apply the concept is one that (1) is framed in terms of preventing an animal having a life worth avoiding (LWA), rather than ensuring they have LWL, (2) is based on a prospective, rather than retrospective, concept of a life’s worth, and (3) relates to both the perpetuation and creation of an animal at all times during its life. The paper concludes by endorsing an overarching principle that no animal should be unreasonably caused to be, or allowed to remain, in a position of having a prospective LWA.