By Thomas Ryan (auth.)
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Extra info for Animals and Social Work: A Moral Introduction
Outlawing moral conﬂicts does not serve to rescue us from the horns 32 Animals and Social Work: A Moral Introduction of dilemma, rather it obfuscates our abilities to effect resolution. Disagreement over emphasis and interpretation of moral principles is quite distinct from denial of the very existence of shared values per se: Moral disagreement is hardly ever a simple confrontation between opponents who don’t share each others’ presuppositions at all . . Normally a great deal is agreed but not mentioned .
The fact that concern for animals in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries focused overwhelmingly upon members of the working classes is surely a not-insigniﬁcant factor then and now for social work’s dismissal of moral consideration of animals, given that social workers have historically worked almost exclusively with the weak and vulnerable in human society (as witnessed in the practice scenarios). It also needs saying that whilst the inﬂuence of sexual politics was not insignificant, these were not the only, or indeed preeminent, reasons for the marginalisation of concern for animals.
They were seen as individuals within a social matrix, possessing an abundant community life, ingenuity and social strengths (Specht and Courtney, 1995). In mid-Victorian England, greater emphasis was accorded to the notion of the love of humanity than that previously devoted to the service of God (Woodroofe, 1971), giving impetus to myriad social reforms. Authentic human society was understood to be founded not on economic principles, but upon social relationships (Ruskin, 1900), and the Settlement movement was underpinned by an implicit faith in a common humanity, and a moral commitment to fellowship and equality across the class divide (Terrill, 1974).