The Ethics of Animal Experimentation: A Critical Analysis and Constructive Christian Proposal

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The ethical treatment of animals has become an issue of serious moral concern. Many people are challenging long-held assumptions about animals and raising questions about their status and treatment. What is the relationship between humans and animals? Do animals have moral standing? Do we have direct or indirect duties to animals? Does human benefit always outweigh animal suffering? The use of animals for experimentation raises all of these questions in a particularly insistent way. Donna Yarri gives an overview of the current state of the discussion, and presents an argument for significantly restricted animal experimentation. Pointing to the similarities between humans and animals, she argues that the actual differences are differences of degree rather than kind. Animal cognition and animal sentiency together are the basis for the claim that experimental animals do have rights. Examining arguments in the disciplines of ethology, philosophy, science, and theology, Yarri makes a case for placing substantial restrictions on animal experimentation. Grounding her examination in Christian theology, she formulates a more humane approach to animal experimentation. She concludes with a concrete burden-benefit analysis that can serve as the foundation for informed decision-making. The Ethics of Animal Experimentation serves as both a handbook of animal rights theory and a practical guide to navigating the complexities of animal experimentation. As animal experimentation features in an increasing number of scientific endeavors, it is an ethical issue that requires our immediate attention. Yarri's unique contribution forges a path toward an ethical practice of animal experimentation.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The time is ripe for a new book on the ethics of animal experiments, and this is it. Yarri's work is comprehensive,interdisciplinary, and pragmatic. She writes with admirable clarity, avoiding the pitfalls of polemics and prejudice. This book is deeply informed about recent developments in science, legal theory, and public policy. And it is eloquent about the contributions of theology and philosophy to our understanding of animals and their place in our world. Indeed, Yarri has succeeded in writing a text that functions as both an excellent introduction to the field of animal welfare and an indispensable aid to the promotion of more humane practices in colleges and corporations. She points no fingers, but she does point the way forward to a better understanding of the scope of our moral obligations." — Stephen H. Webb, author of On God and Dogs: A Christian Theology of Compassion for Animals

"The Ethics of Animal Experimentation is must-read for everyone interested in animal well-being. Its broad interdisciplinary scope includes animal behavior and emotions, cognitive ethology, philosophy, theology, religion, and suggestions for future discussions and agendas. Yarri raises all the important questions that must be considered in this increasingly human-centered and human-dominated world. I learned a lot from reading this most-welcomed, up-to-date, carefully argued and original book." —Marc Bekoff, author of Minding Animals and editor of the Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195181791
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 8/18/2005
  • Series: AAR Academy Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Donna Yarri is Assistant Professor of Theology at Alvernia College in Reading, Pennsylvania. She received her Ph.D. in Religious Ethics from Southern Methodist University. Her research interests include the ethical treatment of animals, religion and film, and issues of social justice.

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Table of Contents

1 Nature of the problem 11
2 Animal minds 21
3 Animal pain 57
4 Animal rights 85
5 Christian theology 107
6 Burden/benefit analysis 135
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