Animal Ethics

The interaction of man and animals and the ethics associated with these activities

A report by Julia Hughes
May 2011

Table of Contents

Interaction of man and animal

Different Roles of Animals and the Ethics Involved

  • Farming
  • Nature Conservations and Animals in Captivity
  • Social Support ans Health Care
  • Pet Ownership
  • Sport and Hunting
  • Medical Research
  • Breeding and Genetic Mutilation
  • Religion
  • Mythology and Legends
  • Advertising

Animal Welfare Acts

  • England and Wales
  • Scotland
  • United States of America




The inter-species relationship that animals have enjoyed with man over time has contributed greatly to humans development, from early hunter-gathering communication with wild wolves to the genetic mutilation and domestication of these canines that has made them humans most faithful companion.
Animals have many functions in today modern society, from being used for food and clothing to sport, religious deities, betting, warfare, hunting, guarding and protecting, breeding, recreation, assisting the disabled, shepherding, scientific research, conservation to social companionship and there are different types of laws in place throughout the world that set out how man should treat an animal in their care.
Animal and man have different perspectives while interacting with each other. As man is at the top of the food chain and therefore the more dominant, he is able to gain pleasure and satisfaction from the contact he has with animals, however, this pleasure may not be reciprocated by that animal, not only where the animal may come to harm or dies because of that contact but also because most animals prefer same species relationships over human closeness.
Interaction of man and animal
The relationship between man and animal is constantly changing. Early man used wolves to help them hunt down and kill prey for food, clothing and tools. As man developed and enjoyed the taste and benefits of eating meat, animal farming began to expand. While man maintained a detached attitude towards farmed animals, they increased their anthropomorphic attitude to the ones they domesticated which can be quite complex when some species of farm animal could also be considered as a companion animal. (Bokkers, 2006)
Not all animal contact is beneficial to man. Potential hazards include:-

  • zoonoses, possible infection from direct contact with the faeces, skin, urine, saliva or infectious water from injured or sick animals;

  • immunologic responsiveness where a person could develop an allergy from an animal where symptoms could vary from a mild reaction to a fatal one; and

  • physical harm or death from animal interaction, including tissue damage from a bite or a scratch to loss of limb or vital organs. Such injuries are also likely to lead to infection of the affected area. (Bokkers, 2006)

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