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Animal Studies Journal

Abstract

In the 40 years since Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation, philosophers have developed a rich and sophisticated literature on the ethics of how we treat animals. Much of this literature has implicitly assumed that our ethical duties to animals are a matter of public responsibility, not merely personal ethics. While modern societies operate with a division of moral labour – leaving some ethical responsibilities to individuals while others fall upon the state – animal ethicists have typically assumed that our most important ethical responsibilities to animals are indeed a legitimate matter for public regulation and state law.