Companion and Assistance Animals

Jean Harvey

in Pets and People

Published in print April 2017 | ISBN: 9780190456085
Published online February 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780190456108 | DOI:
Companion and Assistance Animals

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This chapter examines one approach to the ethics of companion animals: the “utilization with welfare-safeguards” model. Some of the “benefits” are complex (like guiding the sight impaired) and others simpler (like reducing stress or providing affection). Several problems in this approach are explored, and an alternative account is put forward: the primary moral obligation toward companion animals is to develop, nurture, respect, and protect the loving relationship between them and their human companions, since thriving in such a relationship has become part of their evolved telos or nature. This priority naturally leads to ensuring welfare, but the highly proactive approach involved takes the obligation beyond standard welfare provision and “TLC” (“tender loving care”). Some implications of this position are explored.

Keywords: welfare; telos; evolved nature; companion animal; assistance animal; utilization with safeguards

Chapter.  8140 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy ; Philosophy

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