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Animals Rights and Capitalism

April 15, 2024

12:15 pm - 1:15 pm

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WCC; 1019 Classroom

Tom Regan’s important articulation of animal rights expressed the inherent value of all beings who are “subjects-of-a-life” (1983). However, as speaker Dinesh Wadiwel (Associate Professor in human rights and socio-legal studies, School of Social and Political Sciences, The University of Sydney) will argue, this ethical commitment is completely at odds with capitalism as an economic system, where use values and exchange values replace every other form of value. Capitalism’s quest for the overproduction of commodities in order to generate profits has had horrifying consequences for animal life on the planet. The animal rights movements have sought solutions to this contradiction by seeking legal protections for animals and encouraging consumers to make decisions that recognize the inherent value of animal life. However, these strategies arguably do not go far enough in dealing with the structural causes of mass exploitation of animals. Wadiwel will argue that we need a broader conception of animal rights that encompasses economic and social rights which are able to imagine the kind of societies that might enable flourishing for both human and non human life. Here, Wadiwel will highlight an important trajectory of the animal rights project, one that was arguably envisaged by Regan, for societal transformation.

Lori Gruen, Professor of Philosophy, Wesleyan University, will be the respondent.

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April 15, 2024, 12:15 pm - 1:15 pm

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