Tag: animal welfare

Bioethics Blogs

An Animal Bioethicist in Seattle

Andrew Fenton voices concerns about invisible unnecessary harm to non-human animals and a cost of ethical inconsistency.

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I recently had the pleasure of attending the 10th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences in Seattle, Washington. It was an interdisciplinary affair, with lots of scientists as well as philosophers, bioethicists, and representatives from various animal advocacy groups. The sessions I attended were interesting and it was great to see so many, involved in the use, care, or defense of animals used in science under one roof (and engaging each other!). It’s a hazard of our vocation as bioethicists to keep an eye out for incongruities. One jumped out at me. Let me set it up so that it jumps out at you too.

The World Congress, which began to meet way back in 1993 in Baltimore, Maryland, is geared toward the “3Rs” of animal research and facilitates discussions of breakthroughs, advances, failures of this research, as well as of research ethics. What are the 3Rs? In order of appearance in popular animal ethics framework (found in Russell and Burch’s 1959 book, The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique), they are: Replacement, Reduction, and Refinement. Replacement concerns replacing sentient animals currently used in particular areas of testing or research with either animals who are less vulnerable to harm or non-sentient animals (such as insects) or models (such as tissue cultures or computer simulations). Reduction concerns reducing the number of sentient animals used in particular studies or protocols. Refinement concerns minimizing or eliminating scientifically unnecessary or unavoidable distress in the sentient animals used in testing or research.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Animal Welfare, Reducing Meat Consumption and the Instrumental Use of Moral Reasons

Author: Rebecca Brown

In this post, I consider how moral reasons may be used instrumentally – that is, to bring about some desired end. I take as an example the public debate around reducing meat consumption. I suggest that although animal welfare is recognised as important in a number of contexts, it is rarely used as a reason to develop policy to promote plant-based diets. I question whether the (possible) instrumental ineffectiveness of animal welfare-based arguments to reduce meat consumption is a legitimate reason for leaving it out of the debate.

Reducing meat consumption

Recently, there has been quite a bit of discussion around policies to reduce meat consumption, along with other animal-derived products (milk, eggs, cheese, and so on). One curious aspect of the public discussion of a move towards plant-based diets is the near absence of animal welfare as a reason for advocating policies directed at reducing the consumption of animal-derived protein. Indeed, the rather clumsy terms ‘plant-based diet’ and ‘animal-derived protein’ seem specifically designed to distance the discussion from associations with vegetarianism and veganism – two commonly understood, widespread ways to refer to diets which exclude meat and/or animal-derived products. Vegetarian and vegan are associated with established movements and sets of beliefs which typically (though not exclusively) identify welfare as an important, perhaps decisive, reason to avoid farming animals.

Instead of pointing to animal welfare as a reason to reduce meat consumption, advocates of such policies point to the harmful impact on the environment and the health of consumers that results from the farming and consumption of animals.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Video Series: Peter Singer on Vegetarianism

Is it okay to eat one hamburger per year? Is it acceptable to eat a hamburger made from a  ‘happy cow’? The production of crops may result in more animals killed than the production of meat from grass-fed cattle and sheep – does this mean we should eat more meat and less crops? Should we eat insects? Should we try to reduce the suffering of wild animals? In this interview with Katrien Devolder, Professor Peter Singer (Princeton, Melbourne) provides an answer to these, and other questions related to vegetarianism and animal welfare, and offers some practical advice for those who care about animal suffering but can’t resist eating meat…

 

 

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Research Ethics Roundup: Congress Reviews Regulatory Compliance Costs, Why the Fogarty International Center Matters, USDA Sued Over Animal Welfare Records, Negotiating Drug Prices with Human Subjects

This week’s Research Ethics Roundup reviews a Congressional hearing on reducing overhead payments for research oversight, highlights doctors’ arguments for saving the Fogarty International Center at the National Institute of Health (NIH), discusses legal challenges faced by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) over their decision to delay reposting animal welfare records, and outlines a […]

The post Research Ethics Roundup: Congress Reviews Regulatory Compliance Costs, Why the Fogarty International Center Matters, USDA Sued Over Animal Welfare Records, Negotiating Drug Prices with Human Subjects appeared first on Ampersand.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

New York Blood Center Reaches a Deal to Help Care for Research Chimps

Two years after the New York Blood Center set off a storm of protest from animal welfare advocates by withdrawing support for a colony of chimpanzees used for biomedical research, the organization has joined with the Humane Society of the United States to guarantee their future care, pledging $6 million

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

Ethical Guidance for the Supermarket

Ethical Certification Workshop

March 2017

The US Dept. of the Interior, US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia

 

Brief Summary

 

If free-range eggs once occupied a little part of the shelf, now the situation is completely reversed, with a dizzying array of options trumpeting eggs that are organic, or Omega-3 enriched, from hens that are cage-free, local, vegetarian fed, cage-free, or merely enjoying “outdoor access.” As it becomes increasingly complex for consumers to navigate supermarket shelves, the need for ethical guidance and information for consumers grows.

 

Last year, the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and the Bloomberg School of Public Health embarked on a project to address this need. A key step involved bringing together a broad range of academic and industry experts to grapple with the myriad debates that emerge around trying to find ethical consensus. To ensure a lively and informed debate, we drew upon the expertise of purchasers, retailers, farmers, water conservation experts, food safety specialists, nutritionists, and academics focused on animal welfare, labor and human rights, crops and agriculture, the environment, and the evaluation of standards.

 

In preparation for the workshop seven academic members of the team wrote white papers to cover the core subject areas of the project: crop production; animal welfare; water utilization and impact; public health and nutrition; food safety; environmental impact; and labor and community issues. These papers provided on overview of the topic and highlighted moral issues to consider for ethical certification. In addition to providing background information on the subject matter, the white papers were also used to inform the statements of ethical concern formulated as Candidate Criteria.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Cross Post: Five ways the meat on your plate is killing the planet

Cross-posted from The Conversation

shutterstock

Francis Vergunst, Université de Montréal and Julian Savulescu, University of Oxford

When we hear about the horrors of industrial livestock farming – the pollution, the waste, the miserable lives of billions of animals – it is hard not to feel a twinge of guilt and conclude that we should eat less meat. The Conversation

Yet most of us probably won’t. Instead, we will mumble something about meat being tasty, that “everyone” eats it, and that we only buy “grass fed” beef.

Over the next year, more than 50 billion land animals will be raised and slaughtered for food around the world. Most of them will be reared in conditions that cause them to suffer unnecessarily while also harming people and the environment in significant ways.

This raises serious ethical problems. We’ve compiled a list of arguments against eating meat to help you decide for yourself what to put on your plate.

1. The environmental impact is huge

Livestock farming has a vast environmental footprint. It contributes to land and water degradation, biodiversity loss, acid rain, coral reef degeneration and deforestation.

Nowhere is this impact more apparent than climate change – livestock farming contributes 18% of human produced greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. This is more than all emissions from ships, planes, trucks, cars and all other transport put together.

Climate change alone poses multiple risks to health and well-being through increased risk of extreme weather events – such as floods, droughts and heatwaves – and has been described as the greatest threat to human health in the 21st century.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

Toxicologist Aims To Label Ethical Standards

Toxicologist Alan Goldberg knows what an industrial pig nursery should look and smell like. So one with no pigs, no slop, and no aroma was certainly surprising. Goldberg toured such a sanitized—and possibly staged—facility in 2006 while he was part of the 15-member Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production, tasked to examine how industry practices impact human health, animal welfare, the environment, and rural communities.

 

The facilities with actual animals in them told a different tale. He recalls one poultry shed in Arkansas that housed 45,000 chickens clustered on a dirt floor that had likely not been cleaned since before the last harvest. Inside, the potent mix of nitrous oxide and ammonia, a byproduct of the chicken feces and urine, made the commissioners’ eyes burn. “The word the Pew Commission used to describe the conditions we saw was ‘inhumane.’ Personally, I would say ‘cruel,’” says Goldberg, a professor of environmental health and engineering at the Bloomberg School of Public Health and the founding director of the school’s Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing.

 

THE PHILOSOPHY BEHIND THE PROJECT IS TO CREATE A TEMPLATE OF ETHICAL STANDARDS FOR THE FOOD INDUSTRY AND BETTER INFORM CONSUMERS ABOUT THEIR CHOICES.

In its 2008 landmark report, the commission condemned the state of industrial production and made sweeping recommendations, including the ban of nontherapeutic anti­biotics, improved management of food animal waste to lessen contamination of waterways, and the phasing out of intensive animal confinement.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Marcy Brown Receives 2016 ARENA Legacy Award

At this year’s 2017 IACUC Conference (IAUC17), PRIM&R was pleased to present Marcy Brown, BS, MA, CMAR, CPIA, with the 2016 ARENA Legacy Award. Ms. Brown serves as the animal welfare regulatory compliance lead of Pfizer Global Research and Development in La Jolla, California.

The post Marcy Brown Receives 2016 ARENA Legacy Award appeared first on Ampersand.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

The US Can’t Really Know If Farmers Are Cutting Back On Antibiotics, GAO Says

When the FDA created controls in January on how farmers can give antibiotics to livestock, scientists concerned about antibiotic resistance and advocates for animal welfare called it a historic shift in how meat animals are raised. But a new federal report, released last week, says the long-awaited FDA initiative — first attempted back in 1977 — falls short in so many areas that it may not create the change that backers hoped for

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.