Kirchhoffer, D. (2012). Human dignity and the moral status of animals [accepted manuscript]. Southern African Public Law,27(1), 119-135. South Africa: UNISA Press.
The concept of human dignity is widely used in contemporary ethics and law as a foundational criterion for moral reasoning. Nonetheless, the concept has recently received criticism from various quarters. Some of this criticism has come from representatives of the animal liberation movement. The concept of human dignity is accused of underpinning an ethics that is anthropocentric and speciesist. That is, human dignity is said to be used as the basis of an ultimately unjustifiable attribution of intrinsic moral worth only to human beings and to lead, consequently, to a detrimental prejudice against other species.
School of Theology
Open Access Journal Article