Animal Rights Encyclopedia

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Animal Rights Encyclopedia entries
  1. Absolutism
  2. Altruism
  3. Animal Ethics
  4. Animal Rights - see 'Rights'
  5. Animal Rights History
  6. Animal Rights Motto
  7. Animal Rights vs Animal Ethics
  8. Animal Rights vs Animal Welfare
  9. Animal Rights vs Conservation
  10. Anthropocentrism
  11. Anthropocentrism, Enlightened
  12. Anthropomorphism
  13. Aquinas, Thomas
  14. Aristotle

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  1. Bearskin Hats
  2. Beef Cattle Statistics
  3. Bestiality - see 'Zoophilia'
  4. Behaviourism
  5. Bentham, Jeremy
  6. Brain, Milestones of Understanding
  7. Bushmeat

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  1. Cat Traffic Training
  2. Chickens - Broiler Hens
  3. Chickens - Egg-laying Hens
  4. Chickens Statistics
  5. Clever Hans the Counting Horse
  6. Consciousness
  7. Consequence Ethics (Consequentialism)
  8. Consideration, Equal
  9. Contractarianism
  10. Copernicus, Nicolaus
  11. Creature Harmony
  12. Cruelty

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  1. Darwin, Charles
  2. Deep Ecology
  3. Descartes
  4. Dogs - Communication & Control
  5. Duty Ethics (Deontology)

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  1. Emotivism
  2. Environmental Ethics / Environmentalism
  3. Ethical Egoism
  4. Ethical Theories & Animal Rights
  5. Euphemisms
  6. Expanding the Circle
  7. Experimental Animals - see 'Laboratory-Experimental Animals'

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  1. Factory Farming
  2. Fish Statistics
  3. Five Freedoms
  4. Foxhunting with Hounds
  5. Fur Animal Statistics
  6. Fur Brushes & Bows
  7. Fur Farming
  8. Fur Marketing
  9. Fur Morality
  10. Fur Species
  11. Fur Trapping

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  1. Golden Rule
  2. Goldfish Bowls
  3. Great Apes

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  1. Han means He or She
  2. Human Overpopulation
  3. Human Superiority

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  1. Interests
  2. Interests - see Consideration, Equal
  3. Intrinsic Value
  4. Is Ought Fallacy
  5. It - Stop Calling Animals It

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  1. Laboratory-Experimental Animals
  2. Legalism

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  1. Meat Statistics
  2. Mirror Test of Animal Consciousness
  3. Moral Agents & Patients
  4. Moral Autonomy
  5. Moral Status or Standing
  6. Moral Theory Choice
  7. Moral Values & Judgements
  8. Mutilation of Farm Animals

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  1. Naturalistic Fallacy
  2. Natural Selection
  3. New Welfarism - see 'Welfarism, New'
  4. Number Fallacy

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  1. Painism
  2. Passenger Pigeon
  3. Pigs / Hogs Statistics
  4. Predation

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  1. Reciprocal Morality
  2. Religious Tradition
  3. Rights

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  1. Sheep & Goats Statistics
  2. Soul
  3. Subjectivism
  4. Subject of a Life

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  1. Terrorism
  2. Therianthropy

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  1. Universal Declaration on Animals
  2. Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare
  3. Utilitarianism

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  1. Vegetarianism
  2. Vermin
  3. Virtue Ethics

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  1. Welfarism, New
  2. Wolf Ethics

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  1. Zoophilia
  2. Zoos


Animal Rights vs Animal Welfare

animal rights versus animal welfareAnimal rights overlaps with animal welfare. But although both outlooks share similarities they have important differences that set them apart and make them conflicting philosophies, as this table shows.

Comparison of Animal Rights & Animal Welfare
The Rights Position
The Animal Welfare Position
Morality Using animals is morally wrong. Using animals is morally right.
Benefits We should not use animals to benefit ourselves. We can use animals to benefit ourselves.
Interests We should not invariably overrule the interests of animals with human interests. Our interests are always more important than the interests of animals.
Pain We should not inflict pain or death on animals. We should not cause animals 'unnecessary' pain or death.
Humane Treatment We should always treat animals humanely and eliminate the human-made causes of animal suffering.

We should treat animals as humanely as convenient to us.

Animal rightists often disparage of animal welfare because the two philosophies are worlds apart in important respects. As the radical animal rights academic and activist Stephen Best says:
"Animal 'welfare' laws do little but regulate the details of exploitation."
The Epiphanies of Dr Steven Best, Claudette Vaughn. Vegan Voice. 2004. (Accessed online February 2007.)
An important difference in the practice of animal rights and animal welfare is that one is subjective and the other is objective. We cannot measure animal rights impartially or scientifically. It is a concept and a personal moral choice. It resembles the conviction of the German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724 - 1804) that we should not harm humans even in the interests of the majority. Animal rights takes Kant's view a step further and applies it to animals. As an ethical concept animal rights is close to duty ethics (deontology) which Kant advocated.

Animal welfare, on the other hand, has the advantage that we can measure it objectively and manipulate it scientifically. To find which kind of bedding chickens prefer, we can count the number of chickens who seek to live on a straw floor or a wire mesh floor. Then we might provide the chickens with their choice, economic and other constraints permitting the animals' welfare. In terms of ethics we can see animal welfare as part of consequence ethics (consequentialism) that is conceptually underpinned by utilitarianism.

The animal welfare - animal rights antagonism has given rise to an amalgam called 'new welfarism'. New welfarism is allied to animal rights but in appearance is in the animal welfare camp. See Welfarism, New.



Page revised November 2011.
Web site established Nov 2009.