I intend to criticize Evelyn Pluhar’s allegedly egalitarian ethic, presented in her recent work Beyond Prejudice, partly by way of contrasting it with what she calls “perfectionism” and partly by demonstrating that, in fact, her ethic schizophrenically embraces a defective form of perfectionism. My analysis suggests that knotty animal-rights dilemmas are best approached not from a stance of viewing animals and humans as morally equal but rather from a framework more flexible and adaptive to the complexity of real-life scenarios. Such adaptability in a theory need not condone cruelty, and it avoids the unintuitive and absurdly demanding features of a rigid egalitarian perspective.

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