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World Poverty, Animal Minds and the Ethics of Veterinary Expenditure

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In this paper we make an argument for limiting veterinary expenditure on companion animals. The argument combines two principles: the obligation to give and the self-consciousness requirement. In line with the former, we ought to give money to organisations helping to alleviate preventable suffering and death in developing countries; the latter states that it is only intrinsically wrong to painlessly kill an individual that is self-conscious. Combined, the two principles inform an argument along the following lines: rather than spending inordinate amounts of money on veterinary care when a companion animal is sick or injured, it is better to give the money to an aid organisation and painlessly kill the animal.

Keywords: Shallow Pond; Singer; giving to charity; pet keeping; utilitarianism

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: August 1, 2009

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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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