Against human exceptionalism

In a tight spot, you’d probably intuit that a human life outweighs an animal’s. There are good arguments why that’s wrong Jeff Sebo is clinical associate professor of environmental studies, affiliated professor of bioethics, medical ethics, philosophy and law, and director of the animal studies MA programme at New York University. He is also on the executive committee at the NYU Center for Environmental and Animal Protection and the advisory board for the Animals in Context series at NYU Press. He is co-author of Chimpanzee Rights (2018) and Food, Animals, and the Environment (2018), and the author of Saving Animals, Saving Ourselves (2022). This January, a … Continue reading Against human exceptionalism

Nature does not care

Too many nature writers descend into poetic self-absorption instead of the sharp-eyed realism the natural world deserves Richard Smyth writes features, reviews and comment pieces for publications including The Guardian, The Times Literary Supplement and New Statesman, among others. He is also a crossword setter, a cartoonist and an author whose books include the novel The Woodcock (2021) and the history An Indifference of Birds (2020). Iworry, sometimes, that knowledge is falling out of fashion – that in the field in which I work, nature writing, the multitudinous nonfictions of the more-than-human world, facts have been devalued; knowing stuff is no longer enough. Marc Hamer, a British writer … Continue reading Nature does not care

Animals Feel What’s Right and Wrong, Too

It’s time to take moral emotion in animals seriously. BY JAMES HUTTON Amy’s job is pretty repetitive, but normally she doesn’t mind doing what she’s asked. Today, however, she’s working alongside Sidney. Amy can’t help noticing that Sidney is receiving a small reward every time he completes a task, while she gets nothing. After a few rounds of this treatment, Amy has had enough. She refuses to go on performing her tasks, disengaging completely. Amy’s behavior probably makes a certain kind of sense to you. Here’s what I expect you’re thinking: Amy must feel like she’s being treated unfairly (and … Continue reading Animals Feel What’s Right and Wrong, Too

We must not own animals

We will never truly advance our ethical relationship with other animals until we stop treating them as chattels for use Gary L Francione is Board of Governors Professor of Law at Rutgers University School of Law in New Jersey, US; visiting professor of philosophy at the University of Lincoln, UK; and honorary professor of philosophy at the University of East Anglia, UK. His most recent book is Why Veganism Matters: The Moral Value of Animals (2021). What’s wrong with eating meat and other animal products, such as dairy or eggs? The usual answer appears to be simple: these products involve a great … Continue reading We must not own animals

Why you should eat meat

Not eating animals is wrong. If you care about animals, then the right thing to do is breed them, kill them and eat them by Nick Zangwill is professor of philosophy and honorary research fellow at University College London. His books include Aesthetic Creation (2007) and Music and Aesthetic Reality (2015). If you care about animals, you should eat them. It is not just that you may do so, but you should do so. In fact, you owe it to animals to eat them. It is your duty. Why? Because eating animals benefits them and has benefitted them for a long time. Breeding and eating animals is a … Continue reading Why you should eat meat

Sonic Hieroglyphics and Acoustic X-Ray Vision: The Fascinating Science of How Dolphins and Whales Communicate

How Victorian astronomy helped decode the secret language of the seas. BY MARIA POPOVA “Words are events, they do things, change things… they feed energy back and forth and amplify it,” Ursula K. Le Guin wrote in her uncommon ode to the magic of real communication. “They feed understanding or emotion back and forth and amplify it.” For millennia, we have considered language — the magic-box of words — the hallmark of our species. Only in the last blink of evolutionary time have we begun to override our self-referential nature and consider the possibility that other types of channels might carry … Continue reading Sonic Hieroglyphics and Acoustic X-Ray Vision: The Fascinating Science of How Dolphins and Whales Communicate

He Did Right by Animals. And Didn’t Take Bull from Anyone.

Bernard Rollin was a pioneer in animal rights. He left us with this scalding interview. BY BRANDON KEIM Well into the 1980s, doctors would perform open-heart surgery on infants without giving them pain-relieving drugs. This is hard to believe: By the standards of contemporary medicine, not to mention common sense, the practice is akin to torture. Yet then-conventional wisdom held that babies did not feel pain, at least not in any meaningful way. Their brains and nervous systems were considered undeveloped. And regardless of what they felt, they wouldn’t remember it. One can read about this in Science and Ethics, … Continue reading He Did Right by Animals. And Didn’t Take Bull from Anyone.

Reweaving the wild

Human roads have utterly fragmented the world of wild animals but the engineering to reconnect the pieces is in our grasp Darryl Jones is professor emeritus of ecology at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia. His books include The Birds at My Table: Why We Feed Wild Birds and Why It Matters (2018) and A Clouded Leopard in the Middle of the Road New Thinking about Roads, People, and Wildlife (forthcoming in 2022). He lives in Brisbane. It is almost certain that you recently interacted closely with an invisible giant, as the Harvard landscape ecologist Richard T T Forman has described it. Others have called roads ‘the … Continue reading Reweaving the wild

The posthuman dog

If humans were to disappear from the face of the Earth, what might dogs become? And would they be better off without us? by Jessica Pierce is a bioethicist and writer. She is a faculty affiliate with the Center for Bioethics and Humanities at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Her books include A Dog’s World (2021) and Unleashing Your Dog (2019), with Marc Bekoff, and Run, Spot, Run (2016). She also writes the blog All Dogs Go to Heaven for Psychology Today. She lives in Colorado. Edited by Pam Weintraub If you share your home with a dog, you may have found yourself rolling your eyes … Continue reading The posthuman dog

A question of bias: Trophy hunting is a contentious industry and shaping research to get a desired outcome doesn’t help

 A visitor walks past a rifle brand advert during the annual Huntex held in Johannesburg, South Africa, 25 April 2019. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Kim Ludbrook) By Don Pinnock Follow In the complex and urgent crises of climate change, biodiversity collapse and pandemics, it makes good sense to heed science and specialists. But what happens when scientists intentionally load the dice? The inquiry explored below began after a simple question by the editor of the highly respected journal Science to five researchers who submitted a letter opposing import bans on trophy hunting. Could they, asked the editor, declare any potential conflict of interests? It turned … Continue reading A question of bias: Trophy hunting is a contentious industry and shaping research to get a desired outcome doesn’t help