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Animal LabourA New Frontier of Interspecies Justice?$
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Charlotte E. Blattner, Kendra Coulter, and Will Kymlicka

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198846192

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198846192.001.0001

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Animal Labour in a Post-Work Society

Animal Labour in a Post-Work Society

(p.207) 10 Animal Labour in a Post-Work Society
Animal Labour

Sue Donaldson

Will Kymlicka

Oxford University Press

Labour has been associated historically with a cluster of values, including individual security, self-development and freedom, social standing and recognition, and meaning. Insofar as these values are also relevant to animals, this suggests that we should seek to include animals into the world of labour. We should recognize that animals, as well as humans, are workers, and deserve access to the security, self-development, status, community, and purpose wrapped up in the role of being a worker. The reality, however, is that work life fails to deliver many of these goods, much of the time, for many people. Moreover, given technological development, there is no necessity for everyone to be a producer, and indeed the cultural expectation that everyone should be ‘productive’ is culturally pernicious and environmentally unsustainable. As a result, we see increasing discussion of a ‘post-work’ society. This chapter explores how animals fit into the emerging debate about the post-work society. It argues that animals can in fact be major beneficiaries of, and indeed exemplars of, this shift, engaging in socially beneficial activities that do not fit standard models of wage labour and economic production. Instead of bringing animals into our current work society, this chapter explores the possibility that animals could exemplify the ethics of a post-work world—one in which the values traditionally tied to ‘productive’ work are instead realized through new conceptions of community—being, doing, and taking care together.

Keywords:   animal labour, animal rights, post-work society, work ethic, universal basic income, citizenship

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