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The ethics of consumptionDignity of creature: beyond suffering and further

The ethics of consumption: Dignity of creature: beyond suffering and further [Based on considerations on the criterion excessive instrumentalisation, the following paper argues that the concept of dignity of animals, as stated in the Swiss Animal Protection Act, leads to a paradigmatic change in human-animal interaction. Establishing the term dignity of creature in the Swiss Federal Constitution in 1992 has triggered an enduring interdisciplinary discourse about its meaning, extension and implementation. After specification by the Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology (ECNH), the term dignity of animals was finally established in the Animal Protection Act in 2005. Its violation is prosecuted and causes legal effects. The concept of animals’ dignity goes beyond common welfare approaches based on sentientistic grounds because besides avoiding suffering and pain it states that animals should also be protected from unjustified interventions on their appearance, from humiliation and from excessive instrumentalisation. Switzerland represents a worldwide unique biocentrism (the term ‘creature’ refers to all living being), which consequences aren’t fully explored. The criterion disproportionate instrumentalisation has played a key role since the debate’s origins. Nevertheless, different authors state their meanings and the impact is still not elaborated well to date. Starting from the general agreement that the concept of dignity is based on an inherent worth of nonhuman organisms, which has to be taken in account, this paper focuses on the specification of the instrumentalisation criterion in the sense of the Swiss law. According to the Swiss Animal Protection Act, dignity of animals can be violated if an animal is used merely for human ends. In contrast to human dignity in the sense of Kant, dignity of animals can still be respected if its violation is justified on the basis of a careful evaluation of certain interests specified in the Swiss Act of Genetic Engineering. On the other side, the animal’s dignity is disregarded if the evaluation of interests shows that the animal’s interests outweigh human interests. Based on a concrete example in the field of meat consumption, it will be shown that a consistent implementation of this understanding of animal dignity affects our fundamental position towards animals. Furthermore, the paper raises questions about responsibility in case of structural violation of animal dignity, which hasn’t been discussed so far.] http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png

The ethics of consumptionDignity of creature: beyond suffering and further

Editors: Röcklinsberg, Helena; Sandin, Per
The ethics of consumption — Jan 1, 2013

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References (9)

Publisher
Wageningen Academic Publishers
Copyright
© Wageningen Academic Publishers 2013
Pages
279 –283
DOI
10.3920/978-90-8686-784-4_45
Publisher site
See Chapter on Publisher Site

Abstract

[Based on considerations on the criterion excessive instrumentalisation, the following paper argues that the concept of dignity of animals, as stated in the Swiss Animal Protection Act, leads to a paradigmatic change in human-animal interaction. Establishing the term dignity of creature in the Swiss Federal Constitution in 1992 has triggered an enduring interdisciplinary discourse about its meaning, extension and implementation. After specification by the Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology (ECNH), the term dignity of animals was finally established in the Animal Protection Act in 2005. Its violation is prosecuted and causes legal effects. The concept of animals’ dignity goes beyond common welfare approaches based on sentientistic grounds because besides avoiding suffering and pain it states that animals should also be protected from unjustified interventions on their appearance, from humiliation and from excessive instrumentalisation. Switzerland represents a worldwide unique biocentrism (the term ‘creature’ refers to all living being), which consequences aren’t fully explored. The criterion disproportionate instrumentalisation has played a key role since the debate’s origins. Nevertheless, different authors state their meanings and the impact is still not elaborated well to date. Starting from the general agreement that the concept of dignity is based on an inherent worth of nonhuman organisms, which has to be taken in account, this paper focuses on the specification of the instrumentalisation criterion in the sense of the Swiss law. According to the Swiss Animal Protection Act, dignity of animals can be violated if an animal is used merely for human ends. In contrast to human dignity in the sense of Kant, dignity of animals can still be respected if its violation is justified on the basis of a careful evaluation of certain interests specified in the Swiss Act of Genetic Engineering. On the other side, the animal’s dignity is disregarded if the evaluation of interests shows that the animal’s interests outweigh human interests. Based on a concrete example in the field of meat consumption, it will be shown that a consistent implementation of this understanding of animal dignity affects our fundamental position towards animals. Furthermore, the paper raises questions about responsibility in case of structural violation of animal dignity, which hasn’t been discussed so far.]

Published: Jan 1, 2013

Keywords: instrumentalisation; structural violation; animal dignity; Swiss Animal Protection Act

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