Reasonable arguments can be advanced to show that companies have an ethical responsibility towards animals. However, hardly any empirical research has been conducted to establish whether companies acknowledge these responsibilities and how they articulate them. This study shows that 47% of the 200 largest companies in the world make statements of ethical responsibility towards animals. The findings show great divergence in the expressed commitment towards animal welfare among these companies. Companies that express responsibility show quite a high level of concern in their words, but they do so in documents of relatively low importance. Statements regarding ethical responsibility for animal welfare are generally made in consequentialist terms. The results of this study show that it is high time for the fields of business ethics and animal ethics to start working more closely together.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.9774/GLEAF.4700.2016.se.00005, hdl.handle.net/1765/125224
Journal Journal of Business Ethics
Citation
Janssens, M. R. E., & Kaptein, S.P. (2016). The Ethical Responsibility of Companies Towards Animals: A Study of the Expressed Commitment of the Fortune Global 200. Journal of Business Ethics, 63, 42–72. doi:10.9774/GLEAF.4700.2016.se.00005