Need For A New Ethic

This change from a fair-contract-with-animals agriculture to far more exploitative agriculture took place between World War II and the 1970s. And, as society became cognizant of the change, beginning in Britain in the 1960s with the publication of Ruth Harrison's Animal Ma chines}2 and spreading throughout Western Europe, it needed a way to express its moral concern about the precipitous change. The traditional anticruelty ethic did not fit, for confinement agriculturalists were not sadistic or cruel, but rather were simply attempting to produce cheap and plentiful food. Similarly, social reservations about toxicological use of animals and research on animals wherein, unlike the situation in husbandry, animals were harmed but received no compensatory benefit also drove the demand for a new ethic for animals.

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