Accounting for animal rights

Authored by: Eija Vinnari , Markus Vinnari

Routledge Handbook of Environmental Accounting

Print publication date:  March  2021
Online publication date:  March  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367152338
eBook ISBN: 9780367152369
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter explores how to account for animal rights. We begin by reviewing seminal contributions to the debate on the moral value of non-human animals and the political implications thereof. These issues have mainly been debated in the field of animal ethics, but also to some extent in political philosophy. In reviewing this literature, we point out the different ways in which animal rights has been theorised and how these result in different normative views regarding the extent to which animal use is considered acceptable. Subsequently, building on the goals presented in the animal ethics/political philosophy literature, we develop a hierarchical framework for conceptualising a step-wise process towards the achievement of animal rights. The framework begins from acknowledging the existence of non-human animals and ends up with them being completely liberated in the sense intended by the abolitionist animal rights scholars, who argue that non-human animals should not be considered property. We also provide examples of qualitative and quantitative indicators that could be utilised for reporting and monitoring progress at each step of the hierarchy. Finally, we discuss questions related to the operationalisation of the framework and associated accounting measures.

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