I sketch briefly some of the more influential theories concerned with the moral status of nonhuman animals, highlighting their biological/physiological aspects. I then survey the most prominent empirical research on the physiological and cognitive capacities of nonhuman animals, focusing primarily on sentience, but looking also at a few other morally relevant capacities such as self-awareness, memory, and mindreading. Lastly, I discuss two examples of current animal welfare policy, namely, animals used in industrialized food production and in scientific research. I argue (...) that even the most progressive current welfare policies lag behind, are ignorant of, or arbitrarily disregard the science on sentience and cognition. (shrink)
We argue that the recommendations made by the Institute of Medicine’s 2011 report, Chimpanzees in Biomedical and Behavioral Research : Assessing the Necessity, are methodologically and ethically confused. We argue that a proper understanding of evolution and complexity theory in terms of the science and ethics of using chimpanzees in biomedical research would have had led the committee to recommend not merely limiting but eliminating the use of chimpanzees in biomedical research. Specifically, we argue that a proper understanding of the (...) difference between the gross level of examination of species and examinations on finer levels can shed light on important methodological and ethical inconsistencies leading to ignorance of potentially unethical practices and policies regarding the use of animals in scientific research. (shrink)
Presented here are the cases of two secondary social studies teachers who were participants in a larger research endeavor designed to examine the enduring effects of a preservice teacher preparation program rooted in problem-based historical inquiry (PBHI) on their in-service beliefs and practices. The study was designed to revisit graduates of this teacher preparation program after they completed their induction into the profession. The two teachers selected for closer examination in this piece had relatively similar preservice teacher experiences and taught (...) in the same city school system. Findings indicate that the preservice program continued to impact both to some extent. However, their current beliefs about social studies teaching and their typical classroom practices differed greatly. Evidence suggests that these differences may be attributed to their personal dispositions and their conceptions of the role of the teacher. (shrink)
We submit this brief in support of the Nonhuman Rights Project’s efforts to secure habeas corpus relief for the elephant named Happy. The Supreme Court, Bronx County, declined to grant habeas corpus relief and order Happy’s transfer to an elephant sanctuary, relying, in part, on previous decisions that denied habeas relief for the NhRP’s chimpanzee clients, Kiko and Tommy. Those decisions use incompatible conceptions of ‘person’ which, when properly understood, are either philosophically inadequate or, in fact, compatible with Happy’s personhood.
We submit this brief in support of the Nonhuman Rights Project’s efforts to secure habeas corpus relief for the elephant named Happy. We reject arbitrary distinctions that deny adequate protections to other animals who share with protected humans relevantly similar vulnerabilities to harms and relevantly similar interests in avoiding such harms. We strongly urge this Court, in keeping with the best philosophical standards of rational judgment and ethical standards of justice, to recognize that, as a nonhuman person, Happy should be (...) released from her current confinement and transferred to an appropriate elephant sanctuary, pursuant to habeas corpus. (shrink)