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Animals have a right to life

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Martin Balluch
Verein gegen Tierfabriken, Vienna, Austria
Summary

State and church must be separated; therefore the legal and the judicial system may not be based on religious dogmas but instead must be grounded on empirical-rational ethics, which are amenable to consensus. To achieve this, consciousness must be described in scientific terms and the anthropocentric view of animals as fundamentally different to humans must be criticised on a factual basis. It turns out that consciousness determines autonomy. And consciousness is an evolutionary continuity, meaning that there is no basic difference in consciousness between humans and animals. Life is of the utmost instrumental value to autonomous beings, as it enables them to realise their autonomy and is thus in their highest interests. In contrast, killing is the greatest harm that can be done to such beings. As I, being an autonomous being, want to act autonomously, I demand a right to life from society to do so. The principle of universality compels me to demand the same right for every other autonomous being.


ALTEX 23(4), 281-293

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