Empirical knowledge concerning nonhuman animals is essential for any ethical inquiry of interspecific relations: knowledge of the animals' traits, of their experience under human control, and of the characteristics of that control. Yet such knowledge is persistently insufficient in ethical inquiries, as a result of the power gap between nonhuman animals and humans, the exploitation of many animals, and the deep bias that unavoidably marks this reality. Scientific records are the major source of information about most animals, yet science is unsatisfactory as a sole source of morally relevant knowledge, and scientific approaches to nonhuman animals tend to be especially inadequate. Hence seeking knowledge concerning nonhuman animals' interests should be acknowledged as the primary and most important task of any interspecific ethical quest. However, scientific data should be subjected to moral scrutiny, acknowledging the effect of human/nonhuman relations on knowledge, while constantly looking for alternative methods of acquiring knowledge, based on empathic familiarity.
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