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Animal Disenhancement for Animal Welfare: The Apparent Philosophical Conundrums and the Real Exploitation of Animals. A Response to Thompson and Palmer


By csep - Posted on 22 February 2013

TitleAnimal Disenhancement for Animal Welfare: The Apparent Philosophical Conundrums and the Real Exploitation of Animals. A Response to Thompson and Palmer
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsFerrari, Arianna
JournalNanoEthics
Volume6
Issue1
Pagination65 - 76
Date Published4/2012
ISSN Number1871-4765
KeywordsEthical Discourse
Abstract

In his paper 'The Opposite of Human Enhancement: Nanotechnology and the Blind Chicken problem' ( Nanoethics 2: 305-36, 2008) Thompson argued that technological attempts to reduce or eliminate selected non-human animals' capabilities (animal disenhancements) in order to solve or mitigate animal welfare problems in animals' use pose a philosophical conundrum, because there is a contradiction between rational arguments in favor of these technological interventions and intuitions against them. In her response 'Animal Disenhancement and the Non-Identity Problem: A Response to Thompson' ( Nanoethics 5:43-48, 2011), Palmer maintained that the philosophical conundrum is even deeper if we introduce the non-identity problem into the discussion. In my brief response, I claim that in order to avoid the pitfalls of speculative ethics, empirical facts related to the technologies involved as well as costs for the non-human animals have to be taken into account. Depending on which changes we are referring to, ethical problems can be seen very differently. Widening the consideration to the socio-economic context in which non-human animals are currently used by humans, I challenge the idea of genuine philosophical conundrums from an antispeciesist and abolitionist perspective. Only in a context of exploitation, in which non-human animals are deprived of basic rights and their existence is totally dependent on human exploitation, the contradictions between improvement of welfare and disenhancement of capabilities make sense.

DOI10.1007/s11569-012-0139-1
Short TitleNanoethics

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