The organization that I’m focusing on for my paper is PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. What I already know is that PETA is one of the most controversial animal rights groups in the world. They are very aggressive in their protesting as shown in the featured image above. The animal rights space usually involves employing a deontological ethical analysis because those involved believe that they have a duty to extend equal rights to animals because they have inherent value.

Some early finds on research are a few papers that I’ve found that discuss PETA among a group of other organizations that focus on their duty to protect the world. This paper is the most relevant right now. On the informational side this paper will be a good way to gain greater context about how the world views PETA and the things that they stand for. From the ethical theory side of the research component, I will be focusing on several thinkers and ethicists who have written on ethical extensionism. Tom Regan has a paper called “The Radical Egalitarian Case for Animal Rights,” and I plan to start with that as a way of cracking into the mindset that drives PETA as an organization. To create the type of back and forth dialogue that will make the paper more interesting, I will also be referencing a utilitarian ethical approach to animal rights. Peter Singer has a paper called “A Utilitarian Defense of Animal Rights” that I will use to access information on this thread.

The main way that I’ve been doing my search for sources is through google scholar. I’m also taking an Environmental Ethics class at the moment, so I have a great resource for ethical theorists and their papers there.

I think an interesting policy area to approach with PETA and animal rights could be again going back and addressing the food industry. In light of the deontological ethics employed by PETA, what do they have to say about company practices by McDonald’s or other huge companies? What are the laws that surround animal rights and treatment of animals. I have yet to look but can almost guarantee that they are super vague in the US when it comes to the production of food. This is the policy area that interests me most in the area of animal rights.

Regan, Tom. “The radical egalitarian case for animal rights.” Food Ethics(2011): 31.

Regan, Tom, and Peter Singer. “Animal rights and human obligations.” (1989).


One thought on “PETA

  1. Good topic. PETA is the focus of paper 2. The focus is not so much the issue of animal rights or utilitarianism, but something about how PETA operates. Do you want to focus on the ethics of their protest tactics? Maybe, even if one does not agree with their positions, that PETA as a civil society organization is ethical?

    Some of what you have here is perhaps mroe for the background of this paper or for white paper. You do not need to argue in the white paper for the ethicality of veganism or some form of animal deontology. You could simply work within the framework that Singer or Regan establish- whatever that is- that animals have some rights. If we accept this, what would be policy options for realizing this? Banning animal consumption is a policy option. Seems hard to enforce, though. But are there other options for improving the treatment of animals? So, in the white paper, you could look at options for doing so.

    This reminds me of a point that may be useful. We didn’t get to do this reading due to my schedule, but the piece by Richard Rorty about campaigns and movements is interesting in terms of PETA. Rorty, from a philosophically pragamatist perspective, argues AGAINST movements and for campaigns In this case, the ethically or politically flawed approach of PETA, that all animal usage by humans is evil or abhorrent (I am assuming this is PETA’s belief)is a movement that can never end (and maybe it is problematic for other reasons. I would need to revisit). However, a campaign for universal pasture access for chickens is achievable. But PETA might consider any such accommodation to be a betrayal.


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