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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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Does Preventing Reproduction Make for Bad Care?

Does Preventing Reproduction Make for Bad Care?

(p.127) 9 Does Preventing Reproduction Make for Bad Care?
Pets and People

Katherine Wayne

Oxford University Press

It is often assumed that a strong drive to reproduce is a basic feature of animal life. It is also often assumed—by animal rights defenders, veterinarians, and the general public—that companion animals ought to be prohibited from reproducing through routine sterilization. The tension between these assumptions has received little attention in the animal ethics literature, and this neglect has stymied understanding of human obligations to companion animals within an animal rights framework. In response, this chapter submits a proposal for how to interpret the duty of care to companion animals in regards to reproduction. This proposal is informed by an examination of the relationship between reproduction and flourishing, and centers on the question of whether preventing reproduction in companion animals compromises their flourishing and is inconsistent with good care. The chapter concludes that fulfilling the duty of care to animal companions may be compatible with preventing their reproduction.

Keywords:   animal ethics, sterilization, animal rights, reproduction, sterilization, flourishing, duty of care

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