Animal rights and captivity in a non-ideal world

Publication Type:
Book Section
Year of Publication:
Robert Garner
Neuroethics and Nonhuman Animals
, , , ,

This chapter explores what animal ethics has to say about the issue of captivity. The best-known version of animal rights morally prohibits all use of animals, including confinement. One obvious response is to reject animal rights in favor of a traditional animal welfare ethic. It is argued in this chapter, however, that there are two ways it is possible to justify animal captivity from an animal rights perspective. The first involves the adoption of a more nuanced, interest-based, rights theory. This allows us to claim that animals do not have a strong enough interest in liberty to be accorded a right not to be kept in captivity. The second involves the adoption of a non-ideal theory of animal rights. This allows us to bracket liberty, and therefore the issue of captivity, as a component of an ideal theory and therefore not of immediate ethical concern.


Back to Resources