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Hume and Our Treatment of Animals

1 June 2004


This paper is concerned with the bias in favor of the interests of the members of some species of non- human animals and against the interests of the members of other species of non-human animals. This view, which I call modified speciesism, is perhaps related to Singer’s speciesism, but neither entails nor is entailed by it. The argument takes the following form: given that exploited animals are morally equivalent to non-exploited animals and given that non-exploited animals are morally entitled to the way that we treat them, exploited animals are entitled to such treatment as well. I will give a descriptive account of how modified speciesism is prevalent in our world today which serves as at least a partial defense of the first premise. I will then give a Humean defense of the second premise based on the notion that it is wrong to inflict unnecessary pain and suffering on animals.


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