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Directly Valuing Animal Welfare in (Environmental) Economics

Author

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  • Alexis Carlier

    (TSE - Toulouse School of Economics - UT1 - Université Toulouse 1 Capitole - Université Fédérale Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)

  • Nicolas Treich

    (TSE - Toulouse School of Economics - UT1 - Université Toulouse 1 Capitole - Université Fédérale Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)

Abstract

Research in economics is anthropocentric. It only cares about the welfare of humans, and usually does not concern itself with animals. When it does, animals are treated as resources, biodiversity, or food. That is, animals only have instrumental value for humans. Yet unlike water, trees or vegetables, and like humans, most animals have a brain and a nervous system. They can feel pain and pleasure, and many argue that their welfare should matter. Some economic studies value animal welfare, but only indirectly through humans' altruistic valuation. This overall position of economics is inconsistent with the utilitarian tradition and can be qualified as speciesist. We suggest that economics should directly value the welfare of sentient animals, at least sometimes. We briefly discuss some possible implications and challenges for (environmental) economics.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexis Carlier & Nicolas Treich, 2020. "Directly Valuing Animal Welfare in (Environmental) Economics," Post-Print hal-02929260, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-02929260
    DOI: 10.1561/101.00000115
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02929260
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    Cited by:

    1. Romain Espinosa & Damian Tago & Nicolas Treich, 2020. "Infectious Diseases and Meat Production," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 76(4), pages 1019-1044, August.
    2. Bonnet, Céline & Bouamra-Mechemache, Zohra & Réquillart, Vincent & Treich, Nicolas, 2020. "Viewpoint: Regulating meat consumption to improve health, the environment and animal welfare," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 97(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Animal welfare; Environmental economics; Agricultural economics; Economic valuation; Speciesism; Ethics; Sentience; Effective altruism;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy
    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General
    • Z00 - Other Special Topics - - General - - - General

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