Introduction to

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The philosopher Jeremy Bentham was one of the founding fathers of utilitarianism. He argued that animals should be considered from a moral point of view because they are able to feel pain and pleasure. contains introductory texts and academic papers in the research field of animal ethics. 

The papers, which are all authored or co-authored by researchers affiliated with the Department of Food and Resource Economics or the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, originate from:

  • Peer-reviewed journals
  • Conference proceedings
  • Books or reports

The site takes a pluralist approach to animal ethics and covers a broad understanding of the complexities in the study of values, moral concepts, controversies, principles and practices of animal ethics.

The academic material is thematically ordered in broad terms and new research papers will be posted on the site continually.

Animal ethics - a definition

The term 'animal ethics' denotes two rather different things. It refers to a social reality, i.e. describes how, in different contexts, human beings actually use and treat animals, and also how they think about their treatment of animals. But it refers as well to a branch of applied philosophy which, in the light of theories of good and bad, right and wrong, discusses how we ought to use and treat animals.

Applied philosophy

The main focus on is on animal ethics as a form of applied philosophy, even though it does contain some material taking a historical or a social science perspective on animal ethics.

Introductory texts about animal ethics