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

Animal Testing. Is it really a polarised debate?

I was recently contacted by a student who had an assignment to report both sides of a contentious issue, and she'd chosen animal research. To her, there were two sides to the debate – a simple yes or no to research. Yet, as I explained to her, it is not a genuinely two-sided argument. To … Continue reading Animal Testing. Is it really a polarised debate?

The Uniqueness of Human Suffering

Comparing animal and human suffering is a complex issue. Do all animals suffer? What about invertebrates? Is all animal suffering equal? Chronic pain researcher and associate professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Dr Juan Carlos Marvizon, tries to unravel these questions.

Crash course in medical history

Opponents of animal research often portray two of the pioneers of experimental physiology, François Magendie (1783-1855) and his student Claude Bernard (1813-1878), as deranged, vicious, and sadistic individuals who derived pleasure in harming animals. Moral philosophers Peter Singer and Lori Gruen convey this sort of message in their book “Animal Liberation: A graphic guide”. A … Continue reading Crash course in medical history