Animal Rights & Human Morality

Animal Rights & Human Morality

Animal Rights & Human Morality

Animal Rights & Human Morality

Excerpt

This book concerns itself with the theoretical and practical issues related to animals and morality. The origins of the book were themselves both theoretical and practical. In the first place, my research in philosophy of language had led me to believe that one could not draw a neat line between human beings and animals on the basis of language and reason. Denial of this gap in turn led me to question the moral status of animals, since it is on the basis of the absence of reason that animals are usually excluded from moral concern or, at least, from moral concern on a par with that granted to humans.

My interest in these questions, which was initially abstract and academic, became very practical and immediate when I began to teach veterinary medical ethics at the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine, the first such course ever taught anywhere.To teach this course properly, I was forced to become acquainted with a number of very specific problems related to the use and abuse of animals in our society. At the same time, I was asked to help draft legislation for the State of Colorado aimed at improving the condition of laboratory animals.My activities in these areas led to my working almost daily with both scientists and animal welfare workers on such varied problems as the use of animals in teaching surgery, the problem of the unwanted pet, and the legal status of animals. These activities in turn led to numerous speaking engagements all over the United States, where I found myself addressing very diverse audiences ranging from veterinarians to research scientists to those who would stop research on animals altogether.

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