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In It for the Nonhuman Animals: Animal Welfare, Moral Certainty, and Disagreements

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Based on three years' ethnographic research with animal sanctuary workers, this paper argues that a level of moral certainty drives and justifies many of the workers' actions and beliefs. Similar to the "missionary zeal" of nonhuman animal rights activists, this moral certainty divides the world into two neat categories: good for the animals and bad for the animals. This overriding certainty takes precedence over other concerns and pervades all aspects of sanctuary life, resulting in the breakdown of different facets of that life into good and bad homes, good and bad animals, and good and bad workers. The paper, therefore, argues that animal welfare workers may be as "radical" as animal rights activists in one respect—their adherence to the overriding principle of being "in it for the animals."


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