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Killing animals as a matter of collateral damage

Boekbijdrage - Hoofdstuk

Not only meat producing animals are killed in agriculture. Also in the dairy and egg industry enormous numbers of animals are killed, although their deaths are not strictly necessary to produce milk or eggs. These deaths are a side effect of current economic realities and are considered unavoidable collateral damage. We will discuss other cases such as culling during disease control, and euthanasia of aged sports animals and animals in shelters. Other examples are fishing discards, dying animals in nature reserves, culled hobby animals. All these examples are characterised by a systematic killing of animals. These animals are not or no longer needed and the killing appears as an unavoidable side effect of a particular production type or husbandry system. It is therefore distinct from accidental killings or killing for meat production. A second important distinctive criterion is the feeling of meaninglessness or disproportionality connected to these practices. Killing as collateral damage is a non-issue from an animal rights ethics viewpoint because from this perspective any kind of killing is considered unethical. On the other hand, in utilitarian and hybrid anthropocentric-zoocentric approaches that integrate proportionality in their reasoning, it is considered a moral problem. In many cases, an analysis of the different (moral) costs and benefits is difficult because killing these animals is considered to be a side effect of other activities rather than an activity with its own value. There seem to be two alternatives: either the benefits are divided between the intended killings and the collateral killings, or only the secondary goal is allocated to the collateral killings. In either case, the ratio is heavily skewed to the negative side. Except in extreme anthropocentric theories killing animals as collateral damage seems at least problematic, if not extremely problematic.
Boek: The end of animal life: a start for ethical debate
Pagina's: 167 - 186
Jaar van publicatie:2015