At the beginning of 1995, amidst unprecedented government unpopularity, accusations of widespread corruption, high levels of unemployment, commercialisation of health care, and threats to valued public services, the UK political system was suddenly rocked by an explosion of protest action — over the export of calves. The Financial Times took the threat so seriously that it devoted an editorial to a careful consideration of the philosophy of animal rights before concluding that protesters ‘should not be allowed to prevent others from pursuing a legal trade’ (30 January 1995). Why should this be happening now? Why should people seem to care more about animal than human suffering? One recent philosophical critic of animal rights, Peter Carruthers, would take an unequivocal view on this: ‘I regard the present popular concern with animal rights in our culture as a reflection of moral decadence’ (Carruthers, 1992, p. xi).
KeywordsMoral Responsibility Moral Status Radical Critique Nonhuman Animal Moral Consideration
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