This book is a philosophically sophisticated and scientifically well-informed discussion of the moral and social issues raised by genetically engineering animals, a powerful technology which has major implications for society. Unlike other books on this emotionally charged subject, the author attempts to inform, not inflame, the reader about the real problems society must address in order to manage this technology. Bernard Rollin is both a professor of philosophy, and physiology and biophysics, and writes from a uniquely well-informed perspective on this (...) topic. The style is non-technical and anecdotal and will ensure that the book can be used on a wide range of courses on bioethics, biotechnology, veterinary medicine and public policy. The book could also appeal to a general, non-academic reader with a serious interest in genetic engineering. (shrink)
In Science and Ethics, Bernard Rollin examines the ideology that denies the relevance of ethics to science. Providing an introduction to basic ethical concepts, he discusses a variety of ethical issues that are relevant to science and how they are ignored, to the detriment of both science and society. These include research on human subjects, animal research, genetic engineering, biotechnology, cloning, xenotransplantation, and stem cell research. Rollin also explores the ideological agnosticism that scientists have displayed regarding subjective experience in humans (...) and animals, and its pernicious effect on pain management. Finally, he articulates the implications of the ideological denial of ethics for the practice of science itself in terms of fraud, plagiarism, and data falsification. In engaging prose and with philosophical sophistication, Rollin cogently argues in favor of making education in ethics part and parcel of scientific training. (shrink)
In this brief, we argue that there is a diversity of ways in which humans (Homo sapiens) are ‘persons’ and there are no non-arbitrary conceptions of ‘personhood’ that can include all humans and exclude all nonhuman animals. To do so we describe and assess the four most prominent conceptions of ‘personhood’ that can be found in the rulings concerning Kiko and Tommy, with particular focus on the most recent decision, Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc v Lavery.
The history of the regulation of animal research is essentially the history of the emergence of meaningful social ethics for animals in society. Initially, animal ethics concerned itself solely with cruelty, but this was seen as inadequate to late 20th-century concerns about animal use. The new social ethic for animals was quite different, and its conceptual bases are explored in this paper. The Animal Welfare Act of 1966 represented a very minimal and in many ways incoherent attempt to regulate animal (...) research, and is far from morally adequate. The 1985 amendments did much to render coherent the ethic for laboratory animals, but these standards were still inadequate in many ways, as enumerated here. The philosophy underlying these laws is explained, their main provisions are explored, and future directions that could move the ethic forward and further rationalize the laws are sketched. (shrink)
Numerous ethical issues have emerged from the industrialization of animal agriculture. Those issues ultimately rest in large measure upon overuse of antibiotics. How this has occurred is discussed in detail in this paper.
Reid's response to hume has traditionally been taken as begging all of hume's questions. One can, However, Find in reid an argument against hume's phenomenalistic skepticism. Reid's appeal to common sense is an attempt to call attention to the fact that we experience objects as external to us, Not as bundles of impressions. Still, Our access to these objects does arise out of sensations, Which are mental contents. Extending berkeley's idea of the "language of nature" reid suggests that language and (...) signification present apt theoretical models for explaining perception. Using this model, One can provide an answer to the argument from illusion. (shrink)
Moral psychology is often ignored in ethical theory, making applied ethics difficult to achieve in practice. This is particularly true in the new field of animal ethics. One key feature of moral psychology is recognition of the moral primacy of those with whom we enjoy relationships of love and friendship – philia in Aristotles term. Although a radically new ethic for animal treatment is emerging in society, its full expression is severely limited by our exploitative uses of animals. At this (...) historical moment, only the animals with whom we enjoy philia – companion animals – can be treated with unrestricted moral concern. This ought to be accomplished, both for its own sake and as an ideal model for the future evolution of animal ethics. (shrink)
Although 20th-century empiricists were agnostic about animal mind and consciousness, this was not the case for their historical ancestors – John Locke, David Hume, Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, and, of course, Charles Darwin and George John Romanes. Given the dominance of the Darwinian paradigm of evolutionary continuity, one would not expect belief in animal mind to disappear. That it did demonstrates that standard accounts of how scientific hypotheses are overturned – i.e., by empirical disconfirmation or by exposure of logical (...) flaws – is inadequate. In fact, it can be demonstrated that belief in animal mind disappeared as a result of a change of values, a mechanism also apparent in the Scientific Revolution. The “valuational revolution” responsible for denying animal mind is examined in terms of the rise of Behaviorism and its flawed account of the historical inevitability of denying animal mentation. The effects of the denial of animal consciousness included profound moral implications for the major uses of animals in agriculture and scientific research. The latter is particularly notable for the denial of felt pain in animals. The rise of societal moral concern for animals, however, has driven the “reappropriation of common sense” about animal thought and feeling. (shrink)
Strangers to Nature brings together many of the leading scholars who are working to redefine and expand the discourse on animal ethics. This volume will engage both scholars and lay-people by revealing the breadth of theorizing about the human/non-human animal relationship that is currently taking place.
The basis of having a direct moral obligation to an entity is that what we do to that entity matters to it. The ability to experience pain is a sufficient condition for a being to be morally considerable. But the ability to feel pain is not a necessary condition for moral considerability. Organisms could have possibly evolved so as to be motivated to flee danger or injury or to eat or drink not by pain, but by “pangs of pleasure” that (...) increase as one fills the relevant need or escapes the harm. In such a world, “mattering” would be positive, not negative, but would still be based in sentience and awareness. In our world, however, the “mattering” necessary to survival is negative—injuries and unfulfilled needs ramify in pain. But physical pain is by no means the only morally relevant mattering—fear, anxiety, loneliness, grief, certainly do not equate to varieties of physical pain, but are surely forms of “mattering.” An adequate morality towards animals would include a full range of possible matterings unique to each kind of animal, what I, following Aristotle, call “telos”. Sometimes not meeting other aspects of animal nature matter more to the animal than does physical pain. “Negative mattering” means all actions or events that harm animals—from frightening an animal to removing its young unnaturally early, to keeping it so it is unable to move or socialize. Physical pain is perhaps the paradigmatic case of “negative mattering”, but only constitutes a small part of what the concept covers. “Positive mattering” would of course encompass all states that are positive for the animal. An adequate ethic for animals takes cognizance of both kinds. The question arises as to how animals value death as compared with pain. Human cognition is such that it can value long-term future goals and endure short-run negative experiences for the sake of achieving them. In the case of animals, however, there is no evidence, either empirical or conceptual, that they have the capability to weigh future benefits or possibilities against current misery. We have no reason to believe that an animal can grasp the notion of extended life, let alone choose to trade current suffering for it. Pain may well be worse for animals than for humans, as they cannot rationalize its acceptance by appeal to future life without pain. How can we know that animals experience all or any of the negative or positive states we have enumerated above? The notion that we needed to be agnostic or downright atheistic about animal mentation, including pain, because we could not verify it through experience, became a mainstay of what I have called “scientific ideology”, the uncriticized dogma taught to young scientists through most of the 20th century despite its patent ignoring of Darwinian phylogenetic continuity. Together with the equally pernicious notion that science is “value-free”, and thus has no truck with ethics, this provided the complete justification for hurting animals in science without providing any pain control. This ideology could only be overthrown by federal law. Ordinary common sense throughout history, in contradistinction to scientific ideology, never denied that animals felt pain. Where, then, does the denial of pain and other forms of mattering come from if it is inimical to common sense? It came from the creation of philosophical systems hostile to common sense and salubrious to a scientific, non-commonsensical world view. Reasons for rejecting this philosophical position are detailed. In the end, then, there are no sound reasons for rejecting knowledge of animal pain and other forms of both negative and positive mattering in animals. Once that hurdle is cleared, science must work assiduously to classify, understand, and mitigate all instances of negative mattering occasioned in animals by human use, as well as to understand and maximize all modes of positive mattering. (shrink)
The advent of cloning animals has created a maelstrom of social concern about the ethical issues associated with the possibility of cloning humans. When the ethical concerns are clearly examined, however, many of them turn out to be less matters of rational ethics than knee-jerk emotion, religious bias, or fear of that which is not understood. Three categories of real and spurious ethical concerns are presented and discussed: 1) that cloning is intrinsically wrong, 2) that cloning must lead to bad (...) consequences, and 3) that cloning harms the organism generated. The need for a rational ethical framework for discussing biotechnological advances is presented and defended. (shrink)
Animal models of human disease play a central role in modern biomedical science. Developing animal models for human mental illness presents unique practical and philosophical challenges. In this article we argue that existing animal models of psychiatric disease are not valid, attempts to model syndromes are undermined by current nosology, models of symptoms are rife with circular logic and anthropomorphism, any model must make unjustified assumptions about subjective experience, and any model deemed valid would be inherently unethical, for if an (...) animal adequately models human subjective experience, then there is no morally relevant difference between that animal and a human. (shrink)
The issue of regularly feeding low levels of antibiotics to farm animals in order to increase productivity is often portrayed as a dilemma. On the one hand, such antibiotic use is depicted as a necessary condition for producing cheap and plentiful food, such that were such use to stop, food prices would rise significantly and our ability to feed people in developing nations would decrease. On the other hand, such antibiotic use seems to breed antibiotic resistance into pathogens affecting human (...) health. Resolving this dilemma, it is alleged, will require great amounts of research into risk/benefit assessment. Contrary to this claim, we will argue that society has all the data it needs to make a reasonable ethical decision, which would be curtailing such use. Such curtailment will not harm consumers significantly, will not harm developing nations'' evolving agriculture, and could produce hitherto unnoticed benefits, namely restoring the possibility of a more husbandry-based, sustainable agriculture to replace the high-tech agriculture that has hurt animals, the environment, small farms, and sustainability. (shrink)
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) called for a ban on mulesing in the Australian sheep industry in 2004. Mulesing is a surgical procedure that removes wool-bearing skin from the tail and breech area of sheep in order to prevent flystrike (cutaneous myiasis). Flystrike occurs when flies lay their eggs in soiled areas of wool on the sheep and can be fatal for the sheep host. PETA claimed that mulesing subjects sheep to unnecessary pain and suffering and took (...) action against the Australian wool industry that resulted in a number of international clothing retailers choosing not to use Australian wool. Although the Australian sheep industry agreed to phase out mulesing in 2010, there is some uncertainty as to whether this deadline will be achieved. The changing social ethic towards animal welfare suggests that the way the Australian sheep industry manages the phase out of mulesing in 2010 is vital to its future survival and success. It is likely that if mulesing does not cease in 2010 there will be a negative market reaction to Australian wool and the risk of legislation to ban mulesing. To avoid losing control of its animal welfare strategy, the Australian sheep industry should ensure that mulesing is phased out in 2010 and endorse the animal welfare ethic underpinning this change. The industry should also educate farmers and other industry stakeholders in how the changing social ethic for animal welfare can create new market opportunities for wool. (shrink)
The development of animal ethics has been characterized by both progress and absurdity. More activity in animal welfare has occurred in the past 50 years than in the previous 500, with large numbers of legislative actions supplanting the lone anti-cruelty laws. Nonetheless, there remains a tendency to confuse animal ethics with human ethics. I found this to be the case when my colleagues and I were drafting federal law requiring control of pain in invasive research. The history of animal ethics (...) vacillates between Descartes’ denial of thought and feeling in animals and British empiricism, including the great skeptic David Hume, who affirmed in no uncertain terms the existence of animal mind. This approach was continued in British empiricism, culminating in the work of Charles Darwin. But despite Darwinian domination of biology and psychology, psychology was captured by denial of mind and consciousness by JB Watson, father of behaviorism. Denial of thought and feeling in animals continued in 20th century science and medicine while society in general became ever more firm in asserting their existence. (shrink)
It is patent that society is evolving an ethic for the treatment of animals which goes well beyond the standard prohibitions against cruelty. This new ethic for animals takes the consensus ethic for the treatment of humans in society and extends it,mutatis mutandis, to the treatment of animals. Though this ethic has been applied first to research animals, its extension to agricultural animals is inevitable, and has already begun. This article explores the extent to which veterinary medicine and animal science, (...) the major scientific fields relevant to animal agriculture, can accommodate the emerging ethic. (shrink)
Readily available data are used to provide relevant decision making information on the highly subjective issue of animal rights. Two examples of alleged crowding; cattle being finished in concrete lots, and broilers in confined operations were evaluated to determine the impact on producers and consumers from increasing space per animal. It is concluded that similar policy changes, such as doubling floor space, can lead to dramatic differences in economic impact depending on the industry affected. It is shown that economic analysis (...) can provide valuable information in estimating the tradeoffs in moral issues. (shrink)