The Philosopher & The News

Lori Gruen & Animal Ethics in War and Peace

April 27, 2022 Episode 33
The Philosopher & The News
Lori Gruen & Animal Ethics in War and Peace
Show Notes

We don’t often think of animals as war casualties, but animals die in large numbers in every war. Sometimes as specific targets, to deprive the enemy of a food source, sometimes trapped in zoos and shelters, and other times as wildlife. But their deaths are never officially counted, and the senseless killing animals, unlike the killing of innocent civilians, is not considered a war crime. 

So do we have special moral duties towards animals in war, given that they have no conception of what war is, and it is something imposed on them by humans? 

 To what extent does our treatment of animals during war reflect our treatment of animals, particularly those raised for industrial farming, during peace time?  

And why, despite the clarity of the moral arguments against the mistreatment of animals in industrial farming and the mass consumption of their meat, do so many of us keep eating animals?

Lori Gruen is William Griffin Professor of Philosophy at Wesleyan University, and a leading scholar in Animal studies and feminist philosophy. She is the author and editor of over a dozen books, including Ethics and Animals: An Introduction, Entangled Empathy (Lantern, 2015) and the forthcoming Animal Crisis (Polity, 2022) co-authored with the philosopher Alice Crary.

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Artwork by Nick Halliday

Music by Rowan Mcilvride