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The Idea of the Domesticated Animal Contract

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Abstract:

Some recent works have suggested that the relationship between human beings and domesticated animals might be described as contractual. This paper explores how the idea of such an animal contract might relate to key characteristics of social contract theory, in particular to issues of the change in state from 'nature' to 'culture'; to free consent and irrevocability; and to the benefits and losses to animals which might follow from such a contract. The paper concludes that there are important dissimilarities between a domesticated animal contract and other theories of social contract; and that contract language may be used to legitimate relationships of domination over domesticated animals.

Keywords: Budiansky; animal contract; animals; social contract theory

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3197/096327197776679004

Publication date: November 1, 1997

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  • Environmental Values is an international peer-reviewed journal that brings together contributions from philosophy, economics, politics, sociology, geography, anthropology, ecology and other disciplines, which relate to the present and future environment of human beings and other species. In doing so we aim to clarify the relationship between practical policy issues and more fundamental underlying principles or assumptions.

    Environmental Values has an impact factor (2014) of 1.056.
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