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Pets and PeopleThe Ethics of Companion Animals$
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Christine Overall

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190456085

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190456085.001.0001

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“I Don’t Want the Responsibility”

“I Don’t Want the Responsibility”

The Moral Implications of Avoiding Dependency Relations with Companion Animals

(p.80) 6 “I Don’t Want the Responsibility”
Pets and People

Kathryn J. Norlock

Oxford University Press

Building on Eva Feder Kittay’s account of human-human dependency relations and secondary dependence, this chapter extends her account to cover human-companion animal relationships. It argues that humans have moral relationships with dogs and cats that they could adopt, but do not. The obligations of those who refrain from incurring particular relationships with dogs and cats are correlative with the power of persons with what Jean Harvey calls “interactive power,” the power to take the initiative in and direct the course of a relationship. Harvey’s points about interactive power are connected to Kittay’s dependency critique, to show that those who refrain from incurring particular relationships of dependency rely on caregivers in our communities and regions to fulfill the moral and social demands that an abundance of unowned companionable animals makes on the community.

Keywords:   dependency relation, dependency critique, caregiver, Jean Harvey, Eva Feder Kittay, dog, cat, interactive power

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