Animal Studies Journal

Abstract

I argue that humans have a duty to socialise with domesticated animals, especially members of farmed animal species: to make efforts to include them in our social lives in circumstances that make friendships possible. Put another way, domesticated animals have a claim to opportunities to befriend humans, in addition to (and constrained by) a basic welfare-related right to socialise with members of their own and other species. This is because i) domesticated animals are in a currently unjust scheme of social cooperation with, and dependence upon, humans; and ii) ongoing human moral attention and ‘social capital’, of which personal friendships are an indispensable source, is critical if their interests are to be represented robustly and their agency enabled in a just interspecies community. I then argue that participation in farmed animal sanctuaries is a promising way to fulfil this duty, lending support to conceptions of sanctuary as just interspecies community.