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Harming (Respectfully) Some to Benefit Others: Animal Rights and the Moral Imperative of Trap-Neuter-Release Programs

By Cheryl E. Abbate

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Abstract

Because spaying/neutering animals involves the harming of some animals in order to prevent harm to others, some ethicists, like David Boonin, argue that the philosophy of animal rights is committed to the view that spaying/neutering animals violates the respect principle and that Trap Neuter Release (TNR) programs are thus impermissible. In response, I demonstrate that the philosophy of animal rights holds that, under certain conditions, it is justified, and sometimes even obligatory, to cause harm to some animals (human or nonhuman) in order to prevent greater harm to others. As I will argue, causing lesser harm to some animals in order to prevent greater harm to others, as TNR programs do, is compatible with the recognition of the inherent value of the ones who are harmed. Indeed, we can, and do, spay/neuter cats while acknowledging that they have value in their own right.

Submitter

Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Publication Title Between the Species
Volume 21
Issue 1
Pages 34
URL https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/bts/vol21/iss1/4/
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Cheryl E. Abbate (2019), "Harming (Respectfully) Some to Benefit Others: Animal Rights and the Moral Imperative of Trap-Neuter-Release Programs," http://habricentral.org/resources/64681.

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Tags
  1. Animal rights
  2. Animal welfare
  3. Ethics
  4. open access
  5. trap-neuter-release
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  1. open access