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Philosophy & Religious Studies   >   Animal Ethics - Issues of Non-human Life and Death


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Animal Ethics - Issues of Non-human Life and Death

In this course Dr Angie Pepper (University of Roehampton) examines issues of life and death involving non-human animals. In this course we look at both the normative theories that govern our perspectives on the treatment of non-human animals, and apply these theories to a range of practices involving human use of non-human animals. In the first module, we look at the ways in which the utilitarian views the treatment of non-human animals. Then we examine natural law theory, and look at some responses to Aquinas’ views from contemporary animal rights theorists. In the third module, we look at virtue ethics and situation ethics, and the emphasis that both theories place on the moral character of the decision. In the fourth module, we come to applied issues, looking firstly at animals which are harmed for human entertainment. We then examine how ethicists might respond to eating animals, with special reference to the effects of the industry behind meat consumption. Finally, we consider whether it is ethical to harm non-human animals in order to save sick and diseased humans.


In this module, we locate issues of animal ethics in a utilitarian framework. We (i) revise the key tenets of the utilitarian view: its consequentialist outlook, and focus on general wellbeing (ii) examine how utilitarians view sentient non-human animals (iii) evaluate Jeremy Bentham’s notion of determining moral consideration on a creature’s capacity to experience pleasure and pain (iv) consider the reason why the utilitarian regards the interests of sentient beings equally.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Pepper, A. (2022, March 10). Animal Ethics - Issues of Non-human Life and Death - Utilitarianism [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Pepper, A. "Animal Ethics - Issues of Non-human Life and Death – Utilitarianism." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 10 Mar 2022,


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Dr Angie Pepper

Roehampton University