Using The Notion of Sentience to Eradicate Unnecessary Harm to Domesticated Animals in Malawi
Japhet Bakuwa

This paper argues that the only plausible way to eliminate unnecessary harm to domesticated animals in Malawi is by adopting the sentience criterion for moral status of animals. All sentient beings have interests in not being suffering and these interests should be taken into consideration, hence, all animals (including domesticated animals) have moral status. Unlike in Western countries where the welfare of domesticated animals is to a large extent protected and promoted, in Malawi domesticated animals are regarded as property to be used by humans anyhow. Even the Malawian legal framework is silent on how these animals should be treated. It is therefore necessary that this ‘property status’ of domesticated animals must be eradicated so that unnecessary harm caused to these animals is also eradicated. This can only be done by providing an ethical justification that is simple and consistent in its explanation for the moral status of animals. And Peter Singer’s sentience criterion just does that.

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