Humans' Moral and Legal Obligations towards Animals
The article discusses aspects of the moral and legal obligations towards animals in the context of ancient and contemporary China. In ancient China, animals were regarded as part of the cosmos and life cycle by ancient Chinese philosophers who saw no strict delineation between humans and animals, all part of the ethical and moral concerns of the exemplary humans. In modern and contemporary China, the situation has been rather different for animals where animals have been mainly viewed as a tool to serve human purposes. There is no animal welfare or anti-cruelty law in China, one of the few countries in the world today that do not have such laws. Notwithstanding, more than a thousand years ago in imperial China, during the Tang dynasty, as part of the imperial legal code, there were legal provisions governing the treatment and management of working animals. The paper cites and discusses some of provisions and what they may mean. The main argument of the paper is that the proposed law for anti-cruelty law for China and the idea of animal protection is not a foreign or western import as the traditional Chinese law and philosophical thought demonstrate, and that it is imperative that domestic animals for various purposes are protected in law as part of the progressive Chinese society in the twenty-first century.
Animal Protection Law of the PRC and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Law of the PRC: Experts’ Proposal and the Public Response,
Law and Society