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Review of Beating Hearts: Abortion and Animal Rights

By Mylan Engel Jr.

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In their recent book, Sherry Colb and Michael Dorf defend the following ethical theses: (1) sentience is sufficient for possessing the right not to be harmed and the right not to be killed; (2) killing sentient animals for food is almost always seriously wrong; (3) aborting pre-sentient fetuses raises no moral concerns at all; and (4) aborting sentient fetuses is wrong absent a reason weighty enough to justify killing the fetus. They also discuss strategies and tactics for activists: They oppose the use of graphic images by activists on tactical grounds, and they categorically oppose the use of violence by activists in either movement. In the present review article, I provide additional support for theses (1) and (2); I raise concerns for their defense of thesis (3); and I argue that their discussion of thesis (4) is incomplete in important ways. Finally, I defend the judicious use of graphic images and videos on epistemic, psychological, and pedagogical grounds.


Katie Osborn

Date 2017
Publication Title Between The Species
Volume 20
Issue 1
ISBN/ISSN 1945-8487
Publisher Philosophy Department and Digital Commons at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
Location of Publication San Luis Obispo, CA 93407
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Activism
  2. Animal consciousness
  3. Animal welfare
  4. Ethics
  5. photography
  6. sentience
  7. Violence