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Dignity, Captivity, and an Ethics of Sight

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... Often, animal dignity is considered to be important, but independently of welfare. Captivity may violate dignity through removing freedom to make autonomous choices, even where it does not harm welfare (70). We might also hold an aesthetic preference for wild over captive animals, an appreciation or awe for nature. ...
... This can be overcome in large part by appropriate environmental design and suitable conditioning programs. Animals that are unable to escape the gaze of the public may also experience stress (70). Some captive animals may show ongoing health problems as a result of chronic stress (84). ...
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The keeping of captive animals in zoos and aquariums has long been controversial. Many take freedom to be a crucial part of animal welfare and on these grounds criticise all forms of animal captivity as harmful to animal welfare, regardless of their provisions. Here, we analyse what it might mean for freedom to matter to welfare, distinguishing between the role of freedom as an intrinsic good, valued for its own sake and an instrumental good, its value arising from the increased ability to provide other important resources. Too often this debate is conducted through trading intuitions about what matters for animals. We argue for the need for collection of comparative welfare data about wild and captive animals in order to settle the issue. Discovering more about the links between freedom and animal welfare will then allow for more empirically-informed ethical decisions regarding captive animals.
... This is less clear. While there are compelling accounts of how we routinely violate the dignity of animals (Cataldi 2002;Gruen 2014;Humphreys 2016;Loder 2016), they tend to focus on specific contexts of public/visible degradation (such as circuses and zoos), 19 rather than the often invisible structures of exploitation on farms or labs that are the heart of animal oppression in our society. While some defenders of animal rights argue that dignity can operate as the general grounding for animal Downloaded by ["Queen's University Libraries, Kingston"] at 05:18 14 October 2017 rights (Bilchitz 2009), others argue that it is not a helpful register for grounding basic animal rights (Zuolo 2016), if only because dignity talk is saturated with the idea that dignity involves not being treated as an animal. ...
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Early defenders of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights invoked species hierarchy: human beings are owed rights because of our discontinuity with and superiority to animals. Subsequent defenders avoided species supremacism, appealing instead to conditions of embodied subjectivity and corporeal vulnerability we share with animals. In the past decade, however, supremacism has returned in work of the new ‘dignitarians’ who argue that human rights are grounded in dignity, and that human dignity requires according humans a higher status than animals. Against the dignitarians, I argue that defending human rights on the backs of animals is philosophically suspect and politically self-defeating.
... On the contrary, broadening the moral vocabulary can do justice to the complex nature of the ethical issues at stake (cf. Donaldson and Kymlicka 2016;Feinberg 1974;Gruen 2014;Millar and Morton 2009). ...
... Note that the argument presented does not exclude the possibility that there may be other valid reasons, unrelated to respect and unjustified discrimination, why we owe it directly to a particular animal to refrain from such action. For example, one could claim that such treatment is at odds with animals' dignity (Cataldi 2002;Gavrell Ortiz 2004;Nussbaum 2007;Gruen 2014). However, dignity is a notoriously unclear and well-criticised notion both in the case of humans (Macklin 2003;Cochrane 2010), and animals (Zuolo 2016;Schultz-Bergin 2017), and does not always lead to the conclusion that some harmless actions are morally problematic. ...
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There is broad agreement that humans can be wronged independently of their incurring any harm, that is, when their welfare is not affected. Examples include unnoticed infringements of privacy, ridiculing unaware individuals, or disregarding individuals’ autonomous decision-making in their best interest. However, it is less clear whether the same is true of animals—that is, whether moral agents can wrong animals in situations that do not involve any harm to the animals concerned. In order to answer this question, I concentrate on the illustrative case of treating animals in a demeaning yet harmless way that would be disrespectful if humans were concerned. I discuss whether such actions are permissible or unjustifiably discriminatory from a moral point of view. I conclude that moral agents cannot directly wrong animals without harming them and thus do not owe it to a particular animal to refrain from such actions. However, if the actions increase the likelihood that animal abuse will occur, this presents a strong indirect reason against performing them. Thus, the reasons for refraining from such actions are merely indirect rather than direct.
... Captivity is expressed and experienced differently by different beings, and as with many species that have been, or are in the process of being, 'brought in from the wild' , there are problems with return to the wild (Gruen, 2014b). Those who survive capture often cannot be returned to the wild because they have developed biological and social characteristics that are different from their wild conspecifics (Cochrane, 2014). ...
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Scholarship recognizes the co-construction of space by humans and non-human animals (hence, animals), but the complex geographies of some animals whose lives depend upon human care remain under-studied. This article explores human–dolphin relations within the context of Dolphin-Assisted Therapy (DAT), a practice in which most dolphins are in human care. We trace a genealogy of dolphin–human relations in built environments, and draw on a DAT case study in Curacao, to understand how the entangled agencies of humans, dolphins and other actants have co-constructed spaces of mutual therapy and care. Our research highlights the circumstances of ‘legacy dolphins’ in DAT, dolphins whose lives depend on human care. We suggest that, while the services of dolphins are recommodified through DAT, the legacy dolphin is de-commodified through ‘relations of obligation’ built on mutual ‘caring for’ as both companion species and work colleague.
... In defending this alternative approach to animal ethics, Crary writes of the case, recounted in Gruen [38], of a chimp who was raised in the entertainment industry and trained to pull a ridiculous and presumably funny face when in the presence of humans. Nowadays, even though the chimp lives safely in a sanctuary, he still pulls that same face whenever he meets a human, automatically and unknowingly making a spectacle of himself. ...
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In this paper, we analyse the Wittgensteinian critique of the orthodoxy in animal ethics that has been championed by Cora Diamond and Alice Crary. While Crary frames it as a critique of “moral individualism”, we show that their criticism applies most prominently to certain forms of moral individualism (namely, those that follow hedonistic or preference-satisfaction axiologies), and not to moral individualism in itself. Indeed, there is a concrete sense in which the moral individualistic stance cannot be escaped, and we believe that it is this particular limitation that justified Crary’s later move to a qualified version of moral individualism. At the same time, we also argue that there are significant merits to the Wittgensteinian critique of moral individualism, which pertain to its attack on the rationalism, naturalism, and reductionism that characterise orthodox approaches to animal ethics. We show that there is much of value in the Wittgensteinians’ call for an ethics that is more human; an ethics that fully embraces the capacities we are endowed with and one that pays heed to the richness and complexity of our moral lives.
... These critiques led to a posthumanist movement that reacts to anthropocentrism and human primacy and seeks mediation and reconciliation of existence from a non-hierarchical standpoint with other beings (See Ferrando, 2019). 3. Most academic works focus on human dignity, but dignity has also been applied to posthuman beings (Bostrom, 2005), non-human beings (Gruen, 2014), and the living environment (Huber, 1991). 4. Nussbaum recognizes the dignity of animals and other non-human beings, but unlike Kant, she sees our obligation to protect as not deriving from duties to ourselves. ...
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Indigenous groups continue to experience injustices in relation to tourism development, management, and marketing despite calls for equity, justice, and fairness in sustainable tourism. Economic interests continue to dominate and, consequently, the social, environmental, and cultural wellbeing of minority and Indigenous groups tend to take a secondary position in tourism development plans. Progress has been made in developing frameworks to examine justice for Indigenous groups, but they do not take into account the concepts of dignity, which we argue is a core principle in a humanistic approach that seeks fairer outcomes for Indigenous and minorities groups. Drawing upon humanism and humanistic management theory, we examine the Mayan Train megaproject in southern Mexico, propose guiding principles and identify responsibilities for key actors that prioritize the restoration, protection, and promotion of the dignity of groups and prevent potential injustices resulting from tourism projects. We also suggest transformative actions that revalue the cultural identity and status of Indigenous groups, increase their capabilities and self-esteem, and promote their autonomy and wellbeing.
... It's less clear, however, whether pervasive captivity runs afoul of dignity. For a discussion of the relation between dignity and captivity, including of Nussbaum's account, see Gruen (2014bGruen ( , 2018. 13. ...
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Animals who live in cities must coexist with us. They are, as a result, entitled to the conditions of their flourishing. This article argues that, as the boundaries of cities and urban areas expand, the boundaries of our conception of captivity should expand too. Urbanisation can undermine animals’ freedoms, hence their ability to live good lives. I draw the implications of an account of ‘pervasive captivity’ against the background of the Capabilities Approach. I construe captivity, including that of urban animals, as affecting a range of animal capabilities, understood as freedoms, and I address some tensions within Nussbaum’s treatment of human-animal conflicts. Using the Capabilities Approach as a guide, I will attempt to motivate a convergence between habitat preservation in urbanised environments, urban design guided by justice, and the individual freedoms of animals.
... These critiques led to a posthumanist movement that reacts to anthropocentrism and human primacy and seeks mediation and reconciliation of existence from a non-hierarchical standpoint with other beings (See Ferrando, 2019). 3. Most academic works focus on human dignity, but dignity has also been applied to posthuman beings (Bostrom, 2005), non-human beings (Gruen, 2014), and the living environment (Huber, 1991). 4. Nussbaum recognizes the dignity of animals and other non-human beings, but unlike Kant, she sees our obligation to protect as not deriving from duties to ourselves. ...
Chapter
ABSTRACT Indigenous groups continue to experience injustices in relation to tourism development, management, and marketing despite calls for equity, justice, and fairness in sustainable tourism. Economic interests continue to dominate and, consequently, the social, environmental, and cultural wellbeing of minority and Indigenous groups tend to take a secondary position in tourism development plans. Progress has been made in developing frameworks to examine justice for Indigenous groups, but they do not take into account the concepts of dignity, which we argue is a core principle in a humanistic approach that seeks fairer outcomes for Indigenous and minorities groups. Drawing upon humanism and humanistic management theory, we examine the Mayan Train megaproject in southern Mexico, propose guiding principles and identify responsibilities for key actors that prioritize the restoration, protection, and promotion of the dignity of groups and prevent potential injustices resulting from tourism projects. We also suggest transformative actions that revalue the cultural identity and status of Indigenous groups, increase their capabilities and self-esteem, and promote their autonomy and wellbeing.
... On the contrary, broadening the moral vocabulary can do justice to the complex nature of the ethical issues at stake (cf. Donaldson and Kymlicka 2016;Feinberg 1974;Gruen 2014;Millar and Morton 2009). ...
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As the need for animal sanctuaries continues to grow, and the numbers of species being housed increases, there is a desire from both current and future sanctuaries for guidance. Guidance from those with experience in the sanctuary, ethics, and animal welfare communities is important and helpful to the founders of new sanctuaries as well as current sanctuaries that may struggle with their identity. I will discuss some of the many definitions of sanctuary, and encourage organizations to consider which definition is the best fit for them. The ethos and philosophy a sanctuary embraces are likely to guide best practices, and sanctuaries are encouraged to consider how this affects their daily operations. More broadly, there are many individuals concerned with the best way to care for animals in need of sanctuary and the information contained in the article will highlight some of these issues. I provide examples from Chimp Haven, a large chimpanzee sanctuary in the United States, as to how we approach and struggle with some of these issues as well as considering them in a broader context. Abstract: As the need for animal sanctuaries continues to grow, and the numbers of species being housed increases, there is a desire from both current and future sanctuaries for guidance. Guidance from those with experience in the sanctuary, ethics, and animal welfare communities is important and helpful to the founders of new sanctuaries as well as current sanctuaries that may struggle with their identity. I will discuss some of the many definitions of sanctuary, and encourage organizations to consider which definition is the best fit for them. The ethos and philosophy a sanctuary embraces are likely to guide best practices, and sanctuaries are encouraged to consider how this affects their daily operations. More broadly, there are many individuals concerned with the best way to care for animals in need of sanctuary and the information contained in the article will highlight some of these issues. I provide examples from Chimp Haven, a large chimpanzee sanctuary in the United States, as to how we approach and struggle with some of these issues as well as considering them in a broader context.
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