The difference between pain and suffering

I find it surprising how often the words pain and suffering are used interchangeably, as it often happens when discussing issues of animal welfare. The concept of suffering has profound implications when applied to both humans and animals, so we should examine carefully what it entails philosophically and scientifically. Let’s consider pain first. When studying … Continue reading The difference between pain and suffering

Understanding the animal, not just its parts

A recent article in the Atlantic, “How Brain Scientists Forgot That Brains Have Owners” is making headlines. The journalist claims that in an article published in early February, titled “Neuroscience Needs Behavior: Correcting Reductionist Bias”, fancy new technologies have led the field of neuroscience astray. The original scientific publication does draw attention to an area … Continue reading Understanding the animal, not just its parts

More thoughts on animal suffering

My recent article “Not just intelligence: Why humans deserve to be treated better than animals” elicited many thoughtful comments and plenty of debate, both on this blog and in Reddit. In this new post I have compiled some new thoughts that came up during the debate. To view the full discussion, please follow the hyperlinks. … Continue reading More thoughts on animal suffering

Not just intelligence: Why humans deserve to be treated better than animals

One of the cornerstone ideas of the animal rights movement is that there are no fundamental differences between humans and animals: humans are just animals, only more intelligent (Ryder, 1991). Therefore, some argue, since having a larger brain is just another quirk, like having larger tusks, animals should have many of the same rights as … Continue reading Not just intelligence: Why humans deserve to be treated better than animals

Sanctuary, Zoo, Lab: Name Games or Core Differences?

The announcement of a research partnership between Lincoln Park Zoo (Chicago) and Chimp Haven (a federally funded sanctuary for NIH retired chimpanzees) has led to increased dialogue, particularly in regards to what this means for the chimpanzees' well-being and importantly, the kinds of activities that a sanctuary is allowed to engage with the animals under … Continue reading Sanctuary, Zoo, Lab: Name Games or Core Differences?

Was Jeremy Bentham an Antivivisectionist?

In this post we look at whether or not Jeremy Bentham, an eminent 18th and 19th century English philosopher,  was opposed to animal experiments. Ahead of his time in many areas, Bentham advocated for freedom of expression, abolition of slavery, equal rights for women, and the separation of church and state. His Utilitarian philosophy has … Continue reading Was Jeremy Bentham an Antivivisectionist?

PR, ethics, and the science of head transplants

There has been a lot of media coverage on the recent claims by Dr. Sergio Canavero that he has successfully transplanted the head of a monkey on to a donor body of another monkey. This story, originally posted by the New Scientist, has since gone viral with some touting miracle cures for paralysis, while others … Continue reading PR, ethics, and the science of head transplants