Sociology and Animals : Beginnings -- Animals and Biology as Destiny -- Animals, Social Inequalities and Oppression -- Animals, Crime and Abuse -- Town and Country : Animals, Space and Place -- Consumption of the Animal -- Animals, Leisure and Culture -- Animal Experiments and Animal Rights -- Conclusion: Sociology for Other Animals.
This chapter explores critically ethical concerns arising from forms of suffering to which domesticated nonhuman animals are subjected in scientific instruction and research and within the industrial-factory-farm-food complex, as well as other contexts. Consideration is given to the views of Arthur Schopenhauer on suffering, René Descartes’s designation of ontological differences between human and non-human animals, and Donna Haraway’s reconfiguration of the relationship between human and nonhuman animals in scientific laboratory settings. Proceeding from a discussion of David Benatar’s “antinatalist” views the (...) focus of analysis is on the forms of suffering imposed on domesticated nonhuman animals by humans. In response to ethical concerns raised about the suffering inflicted on nonhuman animals in the course of scientific research, scientists have sought a “solution” in the form of genetically engineered nonhuman animals whose responses to painful stimuli are presented as modulated to reduce pain. This reductive conceptualization of suffering reduces the complexity of suffering to physical sensation alone and does not engage with the ethical issues involved. Drawing on the work of Emmanuel Levinas and Albert Schweitzer the chapter concludes that an ethical solution to the complex issues explored lies in refraining from exposing nonhuman animals to pain and suffering. (shrink)
In 2008, the European Community adopted a Proposal to revise the EC Directive on nonhuman animal experiments, with the aim of improving the welfare of the nonhuman animals used in experiments. An Impact Assessment, which gauges the likely economic and scientific effects of future changes, as well as the effects on nonhuman animal welfare, informs the Proposal. By using a discourse analytical approach, this paper examines the Directive, the Impact Assessment and the Proposal to reflect critically upon assumptions about the (...) morality of nonhuman animal experiments. Because nonhuman animal welfare is so prominent in the Proposal, it appears that the EC position advances beyond human self-interest as the sole motivator for such experiments, to ethical questions about the welfare of nonhuman animals . In examining this contention, this paper concludes that, even given concerns about nonhuman animal welfare, nonhuman animal experimentation in the EC is firmly grounded in a morality that focuses on human benefit goals rather than on the wider moral issues associated with the means of achieving such goals. (shrink)
Each year millions of nonhuman animals are exposed to suffering in universities as they are routinely used in teaching and research in the natural sciences. Drawing on the work of Giroux and Derrida, we make the case for a critical pedagogy of nonhuman animal suffering. We discuss critical pedagogy as an underrepresented form of teaching in universities, consider suffering as a concept, and explore the pedagogy of suffering. The discussion focuses on the use of nonhuman animal subjects in universities, in (...) particular in teaching, scientific research, and associated experiments. We conclude that a critical pedagogy of nonhuman animal suffering has the capacity to contribute to the establishment of a practical animal ethics conducive to the constitution of a radically different form of social life able to promote a more just and non-speciesist future in which nonhuman animals are not used as resources in scientific research in universities. (shrink)
By conducting a critical discourse analysis of a scientific research article that claims additional potential for using transgenic marmosets in biomedical experiments, this article critiques instrumental approaches to scientific progress as they are expressed in scientific research that uses nonhuman animal experiments. Following an analysis that focuses on issues associated with access to publication, assertions about scientific breakthrough and scientific facts, and the construction of science as impartial, the article concludes that manipulating the genetics of nonhuman animals to engineer a (...) predisposition to the development of feared human health hazards represents moral deterioration rather than progress. (shrink)
The contributors to Thomas Ryan’s Animals in Social Work offer a challenge to anthropocentrism in social work theory and practice. Because this challenge resonates with the “zoological connection” that confronts anthropocentric sociology, this review article offers a sociological examination of key points raised. In focusing on conceptualizations of the human animal binary, personhood and selfhood, property, ethics, and welfare, this article concludes that nonhuman animals ought to matter to social work. Ryan is right: One day social workers will be incredulous (...) that social work could have overlooked nonhuman animals for so long. Sociologists will be similarly incredulous about anthropocentric sociology. (shrink)