Applied Animal Ethics

By Westrom, Lyle E. | NACTA Journal, September 2002 | Go to article overview

Applied Animal Ethics


Westrom, Lyle E., NACTA Journal


Applied Animal Ethics

Leland S. Shapiro, Delmar: Thomson Learning, 2000, 233 pp., Clothbound $43.00

Applied Animal Ethics by Leland Shapiro is a text that attempts to merge the sometimes disparate thinking of animal rights proponents and those concerned with animal welfare. The first three chapters are used to build a philosophical and historical basis for the animal rights/welfare movement along with a goal of arousing reader curiosity for studying the topic. Chapters three through six deal with systems and cases of animal use and welfare. Chapters seven through eleven highlight various uses of animals, why they are important, and what issues exist with different stakeholders. The focus in the twelfth chapter is on the animal rights movement and the extreme positions taken by some groups. The last half of the book is reprinted articles and references from a wide variety of stakeholders in the animal rights/welfare ethical areas.

A historical and philosophical basis is important to anyone who studies a movement. The early chapters of this book do a very respectable job with regard to cultural and religious philosophies that impact animal rights/welfare. The book does not give as much time to animal rights philosophical writers that have influenced the movement. Institutional groups, veterinary groups, and laws are addressed in an acceptable manner. Readers will read with interest the analogy to historical events such as the Nazi regime.

Replacement, reduction, and refinement of animal use are discussed extensively in Chapter four. The author recognizes that animals will be needed in research for a long time. He also recognizes the legitimacy of continuing to look for alternative ways of research that reduce the need for as many animals used in research. This chapter continues on with an excellent section on Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUC). The case study in this chapter may be more well designed for upper division or graduate students.

Animal Welfare Act (AWA) regulations and enforcement are a prime focus of Chapter five. It provides the reader with base knowledge, but is not particularly interesting reading. The author follows with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations. The author quickly moves into animal welfare cases that show history and societal change. This chapter (six) reads easily and will stir discussion. It also includes events where both the research community and animal rights organizations broke laws or operated in an improper manner.

Chapters seven through eleven deal with the functional uses and ethics of animals in society ranging from research to veterinary practices to agriculture use and animals in zoos.

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