This paper analyzes the concept of ‘dignity’ in relation to other than human animals and examines how this concept might be of use in informing us of actions that may harm such animals. In doing so, the characteristic features of actions that may be said to violate dignity are outlined before an analysis of the idea that one can degrade a being by treating it in a way that is excessively instrumental. Further examination offers an ontological explanation for why some actions that harm nonhuman animals can be thought of as a violation of dignity. Some of the relevant issues arising from an examination of dignity and its violation involve reflection on notions such flourishing, consent and autonomy. Such linking issues are considered in relation to the application of the concept of dignity to nonhuman beings.