at the Expense of People
The proper treatment of animals by humans is a hot-button subject in contemporary bioethics. Measuring animals' alleged moral status, determining their "interests," arguing over their "personhood" and "rights" are the subjects of books, treatises, ethics symposia, lectures, college classes, lawsuits, political lobbying, and bioethics advocacy. Indeed, comparing the way we treat animals and the way we treat people—particularly those humans denigrated as "nonpersons"—is something of an obsession within the contemporary bioethics movement.
This area of bioethics discourse dovetails with the advocacy thrust of another contemporary ideological faction, the volatile "animal rights" movement. While this movement's belief system and public policy goals are generally beyond the scope of this book, there is one area in which their advocacy, combined with bioethics' moral presumptions about personhood, adds heft to the culture of death: the drive to end the use of animals in medical and scientific research. As we shall see, this campaign leads both directly and indirectly into a moral thicket that devalues and endangers the most vulnerable people among us.
Arguments over the proper treatment of animals are nothing new, of course. Antivivisectionists have been around for more than one