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Theory of Environmental Ethics in the Fashion Industry

Discuss about the issue of use of animal fur for the fashion industry.

As discussed in Essay 1, it is not appreciable to kill the animals for fur and it has been opposed through various ethical theories. In this regard, Essay 2 is a continuation of Essay 1 in which additional theory apart from the above mentioned ethical theories and theory extension with recommendations to resolve the issue would be suggested.

One of the theories applicable to the issue of use of animal fur for the fashion industry is the theory of environmental ethics. It forms a part of the environmental philosophy which lay emphasis on extending the traditional boundaries of ethics. It states that the non-human elements shall also be considered in the context of rights and privileges. It  comprises of a wide range of ethical decisions which the human beings should make in the context of environment and its resources such as is it valid to kill animals for the sake of  fashion and luxury  or which environmental obligations should the humans are required  to keep for  future generations ?

It has been argued in the theory that animals like humans have rights and privileges. It has been stated that if human beings don’t express their compassion for the no human elements, how they will save the world for their future generations to come. They should widen their perceptions and use empathy instead of being judgmental in this regard. With the help of application of education and knowledge, humans should be more aware of using their actions for the wellbeing of animals (Comstock, 2017).


Through the sharing of knowledge of discriminatory behaviors and participation in the random acts of kindness for the animals, the humans should also encourage others to do the same. They should act as entrepreneurs for social justice and be volunteers for protecting the animal rights. They should organize groups to feed the hungry animals and protest against their killing for fur and other luxurious items. Furthermore, they should write letters to the local, state and federal governments to ban the killing of animals and try to make a difference.

It has been said that how we treat animals reflects how we treat others. Studies show that positive interaction with the animals can increase the compassion and empathy of the human beings. They should adopt certain measures to protect animals against the violence. They should develop more rescue centers for animals and try to put an end to the abuse done to the animals. The theory further states that humans should attempt to act as volunteers to ban animal cruelty (Jamieson, 2014).

Recommendations to Resolve the Issue

The humans should also in acts such as finding solutions to the environmental dilemmas and spreading awareness in the community regarding the issue. They should be careful about their decisions to use products derived from animals. They should raise donations for promotion of activities which safeguard the interests of animals. It states that eating animals, confining them in the cages, experimenting on them and hunting them for fur and hides are some of the activities that are condemned by most of the animal rescuers (Tuvel , 2015) .

According to this theory, most of animal rescuers   emphasize to extend the boundaries of moral considerations   for the animals along with doing well for the human beings. It not only give a more human ethic for safeguarding the interests of animals but also gives them an environmental ethic.

However, it also argues that the chickens eaten by humans are opposed then why not rabbits eaten fox are opposed by them. If the experiment on a mouse is a matter of moral issue then why not the hawk’s hunting of a field mouse is considered unethical. In this context, it has been stated that when the welfare of animals is taken into account then the humans have the obligation to interfere on the matters of   torturing of animals by the human communities .As the hunting of  the predators is considered as a process to balance the eco system.

So the theory of environmental ethics protects the interest of the animals by protecting them to be hunted by humans.

As per Rollin (2015) the concept of animal welfare is considered in the light of  five freedoms viz. freedom from  discomfort which implies  providing of a suitable environment to the animals  comprising of shelter and comfortable resting area. The second freedom pertains to freedom from hunger and thirst which means that there should be accessibility to fresh water and diet to maintain health and vigor.

The third freedom is freedom to express the normal behavior by providing ample space, amenities and company of the animals of own kind. The fourth freedom is freedom from fear and depression by providing conditions which avoid mental suffering. The fifth freedom is freedom from pain, injury and disease through the prevention or diagnosis and proper treatment.

It was being noted that everyday environmental conservation practitioners, policymakers and land managers formulate decisions which influence the lives of wild animals. They aim to resolve the conflicts of animals and humans so that the whole ecosystem remains balanced. Animals are killed for preventing them to move from their areas to the private lands occupied by the humans since they are considered as hostile. It often results in harm and death of the wild animals which is justified in the name of human benefits. The question arises that where it should stop and protection of the animals initiate. The killing of how many animals  is acceptable in the name of conservation So the problem does not lies in the conservation but in a way in which it is performed. It is because that the whole of the environmental legislation lies on the concept of measurement of species and ecosystem welfare and not on the individual welfare of animals (Ramp & Bekoff , 2015).

Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare

It was analyzed through a research that whether the consumers are interested in production of animals and if this impacts their buying habits if the information was mentioned. In this context, stakeholders throughout the supply chain are interested in knowing how the production parameters can be used to position the products. It gives a better insight of the preferences of the consumers regarding their concern for animal welfare and health and safety aspects (Grunert et al., 2018).

So the main goal of environmental ethics is to safeguard the naturally occurring bio diversity. In the modern times, due to the expanding human demands on land, sea and fresh water and influence of climate change has made the conservation of the animals a top priority. In this context, two use of wildlife management can be recognized in this context viz. the judicious use of nature and its preservation. Humans and animals share similarities in the context of being  able to feel pain (Broom, 2016).So, in the recent era, the focus on  the protection of wellbeing of  animals and their species  and about safeguarding the ecosystems in which they form a part  has increasingly gained importance. As a result of the response to protect the wild life and their habitats, the movements relating to nature and wild life have been increased in the last two decades (Keulartz, 2015).


So, the stakeholder analysis in the environmental ethics theory can be explained in the context of inclusions and exclusions from the environmental ethical theory. The main stakeholder in environmental ethics is the natural environment. Yet it is a silent stakeholder and it does not have  a voice in the protection of animals from  the cruelty of humans. The forest department officials play an important part in the protection of endangered species from hunting. According to Sinclair, Zito & Phillips (2017) the impact of culture on the attitudes towards animal welfare are the motivating factors which encourage the stakeholders in preserving the animals. Thus, the stakeholders included in the environmental ethics are the forest department officials, team leaders, government, business owners and managers, media, NGOs and the animal protectionists   working directly with the animals.

According to Bernacchi ,Ragland & Peterson (2015) the organizations adopting the consumerist approach who focus on discovering the needs of the consumers who crave for fur and hides of animals should be excluded from the process. Thus the business owners and managers who follow the consumerist approach    should be excluded and these stakeholders are replaced with those following the democratic approach. The impact on the overall application of environmental theory in the context of change would be the stakeholder influence on the environmental performance  of the authorities working  in the interest of animals(Abreu , Castro & Lazaroc ,2013).

Wildlife Management and Animal Protection

Conclusion

Hence, to conclude, it can be said that Utilitarianism states that happiness should be maximized. So, the act which brings misery, sadness and pain should be avoided because it is an immoral act. So, in the context of protection of animals from being killed for their skin, hides, fur and other luxury items is an utilitarian act as it brings happiness to the animals. The   good of every individual is considered in utilitarianism. If there is a failure in considering the interests of someone because of some negative experiences, then it is a total failure to consider the overall happiness. It implies that discrimination against animals because of some negative experiences is unharmonious with the theory of utilitarianism. It takes in account each and every happiness and pain which implies taking into accounts the experiences of humans and animals as well (World Animal Protection, n.d.).

According to Kant, human beings are rational beings with animal nature. It is the duty of humans to abstain from killing animals to obtain luxurious products from them. It is against the ideology of Kant. These obligations are considered as indirect duties to animals. The duty to animals is about morality. There are two categories of duties towards animals- the legal and ethical. The theory answers to the question that whether humans have the ethical duty to avoid cruelty to animals for they should be encouraged by inner moral motivation.

 As per Korsgaard (2013) Kant bifurcates the world into persons and things. A person is an end to himself and it should be valued for his own sake. A thing is a device which derives its worth from the purpose and can be used as the humans please. Animals are irrational beings and hence they are classified as things. But at some of the places, Kant has mentioned the humanitarian rules for term and the way they should be treated.

Environmental ethics are based on the fact that all life forms on this earth have the right to live. By killing animals, the humans are repudiating the life forms from this right. The act is unjust and unethical. Humans, animals, plants and nature are associated and dependent on each other. So, it is the duty of the humans to respect the existence of all the non-humans. Hence, in environmental ethics, the morality extends to non-human world.  The killing of animals by humans for food and luxurious items has led to extinction of many species of animals. 

Stakeholder Analysis in Environmental Ethics


The humans cannot deny the animals from their right to live. They do not have the right to deprive them from their food and habitat. The humans as well as other non-human elements have an inherent value. So, safeguarding the species is crucial in this regard.  So, any action which is contrary to the environment is unethical. The theory of environmental ethics is the most appropriate theory which should be applied for the protection of animals (Gamborg, Palmer & Sandoe, 2012). 

Certain actions have been taken by the stakeholders to protect the animals. As per World Animal Protection (n.d.) the Animal Protection Index (API) by the World Animal Protection provides rating for 50  member states on the basis of statics provided by Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN. The statistics is provided on the basis of the countries which are the largest producer of poultry, pork, sheep, goats, milk, eggs and beef. The statistics is provided on various themes. One of the themes is identifying the protection of animals. It identifies the activities of animal protection in the specific country and analyses the use of animals specially the vertebrates. It further looks for the animal protection laws which restrict causing pain and suffering to them operating in that country.

As per The State of Victoria (2017) the government is in consistent efforts to work for the wellbeing of animals across Victoria. The action plan involves large number of NGOs who are continuously working for the welfare of non-humans. Moreover, under the action plan a legal and policy framework has been implemented for the welfare of the animals. 

References

Abreu , M.V.C., Castro , F,C. & Lazaroc , J.C.(2013). Stakeholder influence on environmental proactivity of Brazilian companies. Journal of Accounting and Organizations,17(2013), 20-32.

Bernacchi , L.A. , Ragland, C.J. & Peterson, T.R.(2015).  Engaging Active Stakeholders in Implementation of Community-Based Conservation: Whooping Crane Management in Texas, USA. Wildlife Society Bulletin ,39(3),564–573.

Broom, D.M.(2016). Sentience and animal welfare: New thoughts and controversies. Retrieved May 25th, 2018 from https://animalstudiesrepository.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1024&context=animsent

Comstock, G.(2017). Two Views of Animals in Environmental Ethics. USA: Cengage Learning.

Gamborg, C., Palmer, C. & Sandoe, P. (2012). Ethics of Wildlife Management and Conservation: What Should We Try to Protect? Nature Education Knowledge ,3(10).           

Grunert, K.G., Sonntag, W.I., Chanos, V.G. & Forum, S.(2018).  Consumer interest in environmental impact, safety, health and animal welfare aspects of modern pig production: Results of a cross-national choice experiment. Meat Science,137(2018), 123-129.

Jamieson, T.T.(2014). A constructionist defense of environmental ethics: the case of the Swiss hunter. Geographica  Helvetica , 69, 203–211.

Keulartz, J.(2015). Captivity for Conservation? Zoos at a Crossroads. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics,2015(28), 335-351.

Korsgaard , C.M.(2013) . Kantian Ethics, Animals, and the Law. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies(2013), 1–20.

Ramp, D. & Bekoff , M.(2015) .Compassion as a Practical and Evolved Ethic for Conservation. BioScience ,65(3), 323-327.

 Rollin, B.E.(2015). The Inseparability of Science and Ethics in Animal Welfare. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics,28(4), 759-765.

Sinclair, M., Zito, S. & Phillips, C.J.C. (2017).  The Impact of Stakeholders’ Roles within the Livestock Industry on Their Attitudes to Livestock Welfare in Southeast and East Asia. Animals,7(6), 1-12.

The State of Victoria(2017). Animal Welfare Action Plan. Retrieved May 27th, 2018 from https://agriculture.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/377123/Animal-Welfare-Action-Plan-Dec-2017.pdf

Tuvel , R.(2015) . Against the Use of Knowledge Gained from Animal Experimentation. Societies,2015(5), 220-244.

World Animal Protection (n.d.) Improve animal welfare in New Zealand. Retrieved May 27th, 2018 from https://www.worldanimalprotection.org.nz/take-action/improve-animal-welfare-new-zealand

World Animal Protection (n.d.) Methodology. Retrieved May 27th, 2018 from https://api.worldanimalprotection.org/methodolog

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