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Animal Welfare and Human Values

Rod Preece

Publication Year: 1993

As the most populous province in Canada, Ontario is a microcosm of the animal welfare issues which beset Western civilization. The authors of this book, chairman and vice-chairman, respectively, of the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, find themselves constantly being made aware of the atrocities committed in the Society’s jurisdiction.

They have been, in turn, puzzled, exasperated and horrified at humanity’s cruelty to our fellow sentient beings. The issues discussed in this book are the most contentious in animal welfare disputes — animal experimentation, fur-farming and trapping, the use of animals for human entertainment and the conditions under which animals are raised for human consumption. They are complex issues and should be thought about fairly and seriously.

The authors, standing squarely on the side of the animals, suggest “community” and “belonging” as concepts through which to understand our relationships to other species. They ground their ideas in Wordsworth’s “primal sympathy” and Jung’s “unconscious identity” with the animal realm. The philosophy developed in this book embraces common sense and compromise as the surest paths to the goal of animal welfare. It requires respect and consideration for other species while acknowledging our primary obligations to our fellow humans.

Published by: Wilfrid Laurier University Press


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

In writing this book, broad in scope as it is, we became indebted to many persons from a variety of sources—authors of previously read and often unrelated books who helped inform our values, passing acquaintances whose insights triggered further thoughts of our own, friends who encouraged us and opponents who decried our ideas but persuaded us ...

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pp. 1-4

We set out to write this book out of our concern for the animal realm. We have been in turn puzzled, exasperated and horrified at humanity's inhumanity to its fellow sentient beings. As chairman and vice-chairman, respectively, of the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals we are constantly being made aware of the atrocities ...

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One: The Status of Animals: From Human Origins to Humanism

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pp. 5-20

To understand the early history of Homo sapiens is to understand humanity's early relationship to other species. Animals were first hunted for food and clothing, then domesticated to ensure a more dependable supply and finally employed as beasts of burden. Moreover, early in human history animals became both objects of worship and pets. It is ...

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Two: The Status of Animals: From the Age of Humanism to the Twentieth Century

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pp. 21-44

Human history is not merely a history of inhumanity to other species. It is also a history of inhumanity to other races, other cultures, other nations. From classical Greek xenophobia to the lunacy of the Nazi Herrenvolk some have thought of themselves as superior in kind—in intelligence, in culture, in blood—to others of the human world. Oddly ...

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Three: Animal Experimentation: Prologue

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pp. 45-58

There is no more contentious animal welfare issue than that of animal experimentation. And it is perhaps the most difficult to come to grips with. Reading the divergent literature on the subject is a disheartening experience. It impairs one's confidence in the integrity of one's fellow human beings. In support of the anti-experimental view one can read page after ...

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Four: Animal Experimentation: The Debate

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pp. 59-72

Ann McWilliam, information officer with the Canadian Council on Animal Care, complains that animal rights activists "equate animal life with human life."1 Ron Calhoun, executive director of the advocacy group Partners in Research, claims that "With their convoluted thinking, the animal-rights radicals assign the same moral worth and privileges to a rodent that they do to a human."2 Kathleen Marquardt ...

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Five: Animal Experimentation: The Alternatives

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pp. 73-84

Speaking in terms of animal rights is no novel radical phenomenon of the late twentieth century. Indeed, as the above quotation indicates, Thomas Tryon was already using such language in the year of the Glorious Revolution, the year in which modern constitutional order was firmly established. Just less than a century later, in the year of the American Revolution, the English cleric Humphry Primatt published his ...

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Six: Animal Experimentation: Legislation and Assessment

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pp. 85-102

Justice, according to Plato, is giving everyone their due. According to Aristotle, it involves treating equals equally and unequals unequally. To be just to animals involves giving them their due, and determining, in light of their relevant differences from humans, precisely what their due might be. Good law is, in no small measure, the implementation of such ...

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Seven: Hunting, Fishing and Fowling

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pp. 103-122

Nature Through the Year,1 a 1946 book dedicated to the glory and wonders of nature, also glorifies the English South Oxfordshire Hunt—and without any hint of inconsistency. Paradoxically, perhaps, hunters have sincerely thought of themselves as the most dedicated nature lovers—even though they may not love the fox less but the 'ound ...

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Eight: Frivolous Fur: Veneration and Environmentalism

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pp. 123-138

Every Canadian has, or ought to have, a sentimental attachment to the fur trade in some degree, even if it is tempered by the recognition of how damaging to animal interests its consequences have been. Canada's early commercial and cultural history is based on it—Canada's youth escaped the seigneurie to become coureurs de bois and feel the freedom ...

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Nine: Frivolous Fur: Trappers, Clubbers and Farmers

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pp. 150-160

In the hundred odd years since Darwin's essay little has changed in the manner of trapping fur-bearers. Yet many of those who go no further than a repetition of Darwin's adages are treated as though they were at best nai've, unknowing simpletons, and at worst the destroyers of the environment and even civilization. The denigration of adversaries is one ...

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Ten: Animals in Entertainment: Racing, Riding and Fighting

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pp. 161-184

As our ingenuities diminish the amount of time and effort to be expended on providing the necessities of life so the opportunities for leisure activities increase. Throughout history animals have been frequently employed as a means to make that leisure time 'enjoyable'—from the circuses of the Roman Empire through bull- and ...

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Eleven: Animals in Entertainment: Zoos, Aquaria and Circuses

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pp. 185-210

By the time of World War II zoos and aquaria were regarded as places to take the children for a day of amusement—the promised elephant ride and the ice cream cone being of as high a priority as any educational benefit derived from a perusal of the inmates. As often as not it was a way of idling away the day when there seemed little of importance ...

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Twelve: Of Farms and Factories

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pp. 222-228

There is an eighteenth-century nursery rhyme which many of us chanted as children about the sheep in the meadow and the cow in the corn. Many of us retain idyllic images of bustling barnyards with scurrying fowl, the contented cow lazily chewing the cud, and the sheepdog expertly rounding up his charges. Our nursery rhymes and romantic ...

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Thirteen: Companion Animals

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pp. 229-242

Outside of personal relationships, there is no greater joy for a human than developing an association with a pet, a companion animal. But what animal? Dogs and cats have been humankind's most common companions—the former for at least 12,000 years and the latter at least 4,500 years. Yet not only dogs and cats have served as pets. ...

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Fourteen: The Community of Sentient Beings

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pp. 243-264

Ralph H. Lutts, professor of Environmental Studies, Audubon Society museum director and author of The Nature Fakers, insists that "Our obligation to pets is not a useful guide to understanding our obligations to wild animals."1 Pets are treated as individuals. Wild animals must be treated as a part of their ecosystems. There "is no need to value and ...

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Fifteen: The Philosophy of Animal Rights

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pp. 265-282

Aristotle's precepts are admirable if we know wherein goodness lies. If we lack the speculative knowledge of what is to be done, Aristotle's advice is to imitate the spoudaios—the mature person of practical wisdom. But how do we know who is the spoudaios when persons of apparent integrity and wisdom differ so widely in their interpretation of ...

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Sixteen: The Philosophy of Animal Protection

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pp. 283-306

Jung recognized the primal sympathy we feel for the animal realm. It is a very part of our nature to identify with those who are like us, and the more like us the greater the identity—other things being equal. Experimentation is not to be rejected per se, unnecessary experimentation is. Philosophy is not necessary to a demonstration of the justice of ...

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Seventeen: Epilogue: Ode to Sensibility

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pp. 307-316

While many of us have experienced something approaching an essentially shared relationship with a companion animal and have gazed in awe on confronting a large or beautiful wild animal in its natural habitat, the notion of a community of sentient beings may be considered a rather vague and ethereal aspiration, something idealistic, even ...

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pp. 317-320


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pp. 321-334

E-ISBN-13: 9780889206441
Print-ISBN-13: 9780889202276

Page Count: 344
Publication Year: 1993