Encyclopedia of Business and Professional Ethics

Living Edition
| Editors: Deborah C Poff, Alex C. Michalos

Animal Ethics

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-23514-1_68-1



Animal ethics deals with the question how nonhuman animals should be treated. This implies a discussion about whether animals are morally important for their own sakes and, if so, what consequences follow for human action. Traditionally, animal ethics is concerned with individual animals and their inherent value, their interests, and their preferences.


As in business ethics and many other ethics disciplines, the most common approaches of animal ethics are consequentialism, deontology, and virtue ethics. What these approaches have in common is that they include sentient animals in the sphere of the morally relevant. This means we should take them into account for their own sakes when deciding about the rightness or wrongness of our actions.

Consequentialism and Utilitarianism

In 1780, the father of utilitarianism, Jeremy Bentham, wrote down a short but famous fragment on what we would...


Animal Ethics Animal Welfare NGOs Responsibility Toward Restaurant Company Direct Moral Duties 
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rotterdam School of ManagementErasmus University RotterdamRotterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Ethisch BedrijfUtrechtThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Ethisch Institute, Utrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands

Section editors and affiliations

  • Muel Kaptein
    • 1
  1. 1.Erasmus UniversityRotterdamThe Netherlands