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Violence and animals : Moral considerations cencerning injustice, the perception of hierarchy and EU law

Abstract The EU is seen as having one of the most progressive approaches to animals in the world by granting them the status of ‘sentient beings’ in law. This paper discusses this moral status and its prospects within the current legal system. Moral judgements, ideology and value-based assumptions permeate the law. By bringing these to light the debate may be broadened and roots to issues may be made more visible. The paper suggests that it is mainly the entrenched perception of a hierarchy that undermines attempts to progress the animal legal debate. The legislative acceptance of this hierarchy also seems to legitimize violence where ‘acceptable’ violence is seen as relative to an individual’s status in society. Chapter one presents the framework for EU laws pertaining to animals and how acceptable violence towards them is determined. Chapter two attempts to deconstruct the socially and legally accepted levels of violence towards animals used for food by criticizing and challenging the arguments given for using animals for this purpose. Chapter three presents some aspects of contradictory human moral behavior towards animals and how the construct of society might relate to this. Research in psychology and ideological inclinations in EU actions are presented as possible explanations for why the moral foundations of the laws remain amorphous. Chapter four presents some practical obstacles in the way of a fundamental shift in perception for society, followed by a discussion concerning an alternative ethical route that recognizes animals as a powerless group. The way forward is fraught with disagreement, but this paper suggests that the direction is clear.
Date January 2013
CreatorsHermanrud, Emilia
PublisherStockholms universitet, Juridiska institutionen
Source SetsDiVA Archive at Upsalla University
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeStudent thesis, info:eu-repo/semantics/bachelorThesis, text

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