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Virtue Ethics and Animal Law

Taimie L. Bryant

Abstract:  This essay explores virtue ethical concepts in the context of animal law theory and practice. For reasons discussed in the essay, virtue ethics may not, on its own, serve as an adequate foundation for general anticruelty statutes, but it may have application in those contexts in which sufficient sharing of values enables participants in legal reform to work through differences in moral commitments to generate at least temporarily acceptable laws. The article considers a detailed example of that type of application, based on the actual and realistic situation of legislator-requested feral cat colony caretakers’ participation in the development of ordinances that regulate the management of such colonies.

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