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Animal confinement and use

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2020

Robert Streiffer
Medical History and Bioethics, Philosophy, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA
David Killoren
Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, Australia


We distinguish two conceptions of confinement – the agential conception and the comparative conception – and show that the former is intimately related to use in a way that the latter is not. Specifically, in certain conditions, agential confinement constitutes use and creates a special relationship that makes neglect or abuse especially egregious. This allows us to develop and defend an account of one important way in which agential confinement can be morally wrong. We then discuss some of the account’s practical implications, including its usefulness for decision-making in real-world contexts in which animals are confined.

Copyright © Canadian Journal of Philosophy 2018

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