The Ethics of Confining Animals

David DeGrazia

in The Oxford Handbook of Animal Ethics

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780195371963
Published online May 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

The Ethics of Confining Animals

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Philosophy
  • Moral Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Science



This article examines basic interests that animals have in liberty—the absence of external constraints on movement. It takes liberty to be a benefit for sentient animals that permits them to pursue what they want and need. Obviously farms, zoos, pets in homes, animals for sale in stores, circuses, and laboratories all involve forms of confinement that restrict liberty. The discussion aims to know the conditions, if there are any, under which such liberty-limitation is morally justified. It first lays out the harms caused by confinement. It then examines and evaluates five possible standards for the justification of confinement: a basic-needs requirement; a comparable-life requirement; a no-unnecessary-harm standard; a worthwhile-life criterion; and an appeal to respect.

Keywords: free animals; animal liberty; animal confinement; liberty-limitation

Article.  15928 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Moral Philosophy ; Philosophy of Science

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribeRecommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »