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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Anji Wall, PhD (Saint Louis University)
Description: This comprehensive survey of ethical issues involving human-animal interactions presents and discusses 16 cases on a variety of topics including farming, entertainment, companionship, religious rituals, research, and education.
Purpose: The purpose of this book, according to the authors, is to "contribute to the more civil and polite discourse over the human use of animals." While much of the current debate over animal welfare is bitter and emotional, this book provides a more objective perspective on the issues. The authors achieve their objective of presenting the facts and discussing the ethical issues in each case without imposing a particular viewpoint on the reader.
Audience: This is a great resource for students and scholars in the area of healthcare ethics, as well as for individuals who are merely interested in ethical issues involving human-animal interactions. The writing is clear, organized, and understandable, even for those who are unfamiliar with the field of bioethics.
Features: Following the introduction, which discusses moral issues about animals, all of the chapters have a consistent, organized layout, which begins with a factual vignette about a current or historical situation followed by a discussion of the ethical issues related both to the vignette and to more general situations that are similar to the vignette. When appropriate, the discussions include statistics as well as national and international law. Further, many sections end in questions rather than statements, reinforcing the authors' purpose of contributing to discourse rather than providing answers. While the first edition was heavily focused on research issues, this edition has expanded the variety of issues to include endangered species and the use of animals in entertainment.
Assessment: This book presents cases on various human-animal interactions in a manner that fosters analysis and reflection by the reader. It is an essential read for anyone interested in either practical or theoretical analysis of cases involving animal welfare.