Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Contrary to what I said in class yesterday, I learned today that people are working on developing fake eggs.  See this article, from Mother Jones magazine.  Apparently the company Beyond Eggs already has such a convincing product that Bill Gates has become an investor!  (The eggs are a  plant product, unlike cultured beef.)  Another company, called Beyond Meat, has developed chicken products (plant-based) that will be sold by Whole Foods soon.  You'll find it interesting to read what the motivation is for these entrepreneurs.  Hint: it has to do with factory farming.  It so happens there's a fantastic article on factory farming in the latest issue of Rolling Stone.  The website has some very informative videos and graphics.

Monday, December 9, 2013


I.  Radical ways to solve animal problems:
  1. LEGAL:  Give animals the power to sue (Sunstein)
  2. POLITICAL:  Extend political categories to animals--citizen, sovereign, denizen (Donaldson and Kymlica)
  3. SCIENCE-TECHNOLOGY:  Modify animals through genetic engineering so they lack affective pain but still have sensory pain (Shriver)
  4. SCIENCE-TECHNOLOGY:  Lab meat -- see HERE
II.  Donaldson and Kymlicka reply to our questions/objections -- see HERE 
  • The project on their campus reminds me of SMU's feral cat program -- see HERE

III.  Final exam -- rough draft is at tab above (will finish this afternoon)
  • Monday 12/16 11:30, Hyer 111
  • Will not take the whole period, but you can have it.
  • All the Zoopolis powerpoints are at the tab above.  Use them!
  • Plan out answers in advance
  • Study in groups at your peril--you may just wind up making other people's mistakes.
IV.  Turn in paper at Blackboard using "Safe Assign" before midnight Tuesday 12/10
  • Make sure you follow all paper directions -- see paper tab above.
  • Be very careful not to violate honor code.
  • Quote carefully-- no more than 3-4 sentences, in quotes, with references in parentheses.
  • Don't use any outside source.
V.  Next semester:  Topics in Moral Philosophy: Procreation and Parenthood -- see HERE

Monday, December 2, 2013

Using GE to Benefit Animals

  • Paper due Dec. 9 -- make sure you use quotation and references properly.
  • We'll have another quiz or two before the end of the semester--be prepared!
  • New assignment for Friday:  Donaldson and Kymlicka's response to our questions (HERE)

Genetic Engineering (GE) vs. Animal Breeding
  • Breeding: Labrador retriever mates with poodle --> labradoodle  (human intervention not needed)
  • GE:  spider genes added to goat genome --> goat-spider (first one made in lab, next generation via regular reproduction)
  • How GE works:  FDA Q&A
GE and our food supply
  •  Plants:  ~90% of food in supermarket contains some GE plant ingredients
  •  Animals:  GE animals have been created, but none have been approved as food yet
Can GE make animal-consumption ethically better?
  • cow-roo--cattle that produce less methane, so contribute less to global warming
  • enviro-pig--pigs with less polluting excrement, so do less damage to environment 
  • livestock that don't suffer during life or slaughter 
Or is GE problematic?
  • Always wrong because unnatural?  Always wrong because  _________ ?
  • Sometimes right, sometimes wrong:  Rollins's Principle of Conservation of Welfare (TAER):  GE permissible when next generation is no worse off than previous generation

Adam Shriver, "Knocking Out Pain in Livestock:  Can Technology Succeed Where Morality has Stalled?"
Why think morality has stalled?
  • only minor improvements to factory farming and slaughter
  • very few vegans (1-3%)
  • further evidence (not in Shriver) impact of ethics classes: changing minds vs. changing behavior (Schwitzgebel)

Shriver aims to show
  1. "genetically engineering livestock [without pain] will produce a world with better consequences" (utilitarian approach)
  2. "doing so will not introduce any new 'wrongs' into the world that will be offensive to other ethical theories" (besides utilitarianism)
The nature of pain
  1. sensory component (localization and quality--sharp, dull, burning, etc.)
  2. affective component (the "hurt")

Evidence for separateness of sensory and affective components
  1. lesions to ACC leave human patients with sensory pain; lesions to S1&S2 leave them with affective pain
  2. morphine (which affects ACC more) leaves human patients with sensory pain
  3. behavior of rats after ACC ablation: they seem to lose affective pain but retain sensory pain (see below)

Can animals be created with no ACC, but with intact S1&S2?
  • peptide P311 controls formation of ACC
  • knockout mice without P311 behave like the rats after ACC ablation
  • "P311 is likely play a similar role in all mammals" (p. 118)
  • the mice can survive...in their cages
  • knockout livestock would survive...in their limited environment
Now for the argument (p. 119)--

We will discuss objections.  Make sure you have read this article carefully. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Genetically Engineered Animals

  1. If you want to get started on the paper (due Dec. 9) the assignment is at the paper tab. 
  2. No other topic is permitted without prior approval.  
  3. You may not use any outside sources without prior approval.  
  4. Read the guidelines about quoting carefully.  Read the class honor code carefully.
  1. SMU's feral cat colony--what rights to these cats have?   Zoopolis:  Their negative rights are clear. To understand their positive rights, we must first decide whether these animals are domesticated citizens, liminal animals, or wild animals.  
  2. Will send authors a question or two this afternoon.  Thoughts?
  1. Can we advance ethics through genetic engineering and other technical innovations? 
  2. Review--how we are now treating "food" animals? Just in time for Thanksgiving!
  3. How could genetic engineering and technology advance ethics?

Turkey video #1 -- Factory Farming -- undercover video of breeding operation (Farm Sanctuary)

Turkey video #2 -- Improved Factory Farming -- Temple Grandin,  National Turkey Federation

Turkey video #3 --Humane Farming -- Diestel Turkey Ranch (sold at Whole Foods) -- Slaughter and processing is off-site

  1. What is genetic engineering?
  2. How (on earth) could it make animal farming more humane? 

  1. genes directly inserted or "knocked out" in a lab
  2. can create organisms that would be impossible via sexual reproduction -- goat + spider --> silk milk -- protein used to spin large quantities of spider silk -- used to create artificial ligaments and tendons
  3. cow + kangaroo -- Australia -- produces less methane (a greenhouse gas that causes global warming) -- didn't work out
  4. GE is different from normal animal breeding-- breeding pair chosen to obtain desired traits -- often involves "milking" of male and artificial insemination of female -- but this is still sexual reproduction
  5. 90% of soybeans, cotton, corn, and sugarbeets in the US are grown from GE seeds -- herbicide and insecticide resistant crops
  6. No genetically modified animals are in US food supply yet--FDA has denied approval
  1. Knock-out cattle -- missing gene for pain 
  2. Read Shriver-- we will study carefully on 12/2 and 12/4 
  3. Is this a good solution to problems with animal farming? 
  4. Rollin--Principle of Conservation of Animal Welfare -- new generation of animals should not be worse off than previous generation

Friday, November 22, 2013

Zoopolis Ch. 7 - Liminal Animal Denizens

Presentation Powerpoint

Questions for Authors--
  1. Domesticated animals -- How could there be national healthcare for all domesticated animals, considering their large number, and considering most will be non-contributing members of society in the world they envision?
  2. Wild animals -- ?
  3. Liminal animals -- ?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Zoopolis Ch. 6 - Wild Animal Sovereignty

Presentation Powerpoint (LIONS)

Zoopolis Questions --Let's come up with a few questions for Sue Donaldson and Will Kymlicka.  
  1. About domesticated animal citizens--
  2. About wild animal sovereignty--
  3. About liminal animals--

  1. Male lion kills female lion at Dallas zoo
  2. Butterball turkey facts ... we'll discuss Monday.  Free range turkey facts.  What to eat for Thanksgiving if you don't eat turkey?  

Monday, November 18, 2013


I graded these quizzes "compassionately"!

60 points - for taking it
20 points - for part I
20 points - for part II
5 points - for having the book

Almost all of the concepts in part I were in the Zoopolis powerpoint.  Please study the answers below (from student quizzes) and the powerpoint.

  1. Welfarism -"We have dominion over animals but we should only use them humanely." (TP) 
  2. Negative rights -"Rights such as 'right to life.' They are rights taht people can provide by not doing anything (such as not killing)." (SH)
  3. Positive rights - "Rights where something needs to be provided, such as a right to healthcare - healthcare needs to be provided in order for that right to be given.  Not doing anything will not provide positive rights like they do negative rights." (SH)
  4. Circumstances of justice - "These are circumstances where negative rights are invalid, such as a survival situation, self-defense, or lifeboat situation." (SH)
  5. Cosmopolitanism - "The view that the political categories of citizenship should be abolished and that there should be no borders - everyone can go everywhere." (CY)
  6. Dependent agency - "Participation through the use of a collaborator with whom an individual has developed a trusting relationship, who interprets the preferences of the individual and communicates those preferencenes as well as represents that individual in decisions." (CY)  (Note: it's through dependent agency that Donaldson and Kymplicka think people with severe intellectual disabilities can be citizens in the third sense--participating in a democracy; likewise, it's through dependent agency that the authors think domesticated animals can be citizens in the third sense.)
  7. Extinctionism - "The view that we should sterilize all domesticated animals and allow them to cease to exist but take care of those that are currently here." (CY)
  8. Neoteny - "Young-like traits that animals possess even in adulthood that results from domestication." (CB)
  9. Three functions of citizenship - "Nationalism-being part of a state, residency; popular sovereignty - the state serves its citizens; democratic political agency - citizens are able to contribute to the democratic process." (JE)
  10. Liminal animals - "Animals between 'wild' and 'domesticated,' semi-wild animals that live amongst humans; e.g. squirrels, mice." (JE)
PART II - see comments on quizzes.

Zoopolis Ch. 5 - Domesticated Animal Citizens

Presentation Powerpoint (DOGS)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Presentation Planning - RACCOONS

Use the comment thread for presentation planning (if you like).  This one is for RACCOON GROUP (chap. 7 of Zoopolis, presentation on Friday 11/20).

Presentation Planning - LIONS

Use the comment thread for presentation planning (if you like).  This one is for LION GROUP (chap. 6 of Zoopolis, presentation on Wednesday 11/20).

Presentation Planning -- DOGS

Use the comment thread for presentation planning (if you like).  This one is for DOG GROUP (chap. 5 of Zoopolis, presentation on Monday 11/18).

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Zoopolis (ch. 4)

Quiz on Friday is on Zoopolis ch. 1-4 PLUS your presentation chapter.  Your priorities should be:  (1) Read your presentation chapter, (2) look at the powerpoint, (3) read chapters 1-4.

Please bring your book to class Friday. You'll need it to work with your group on presentation-planning.

Peter Singer is speaking at UTD Thursday night. Jonsson Performance Hall, 7:30, free.  I hope to see you there!   Preview below (Colbert Report)


    Monday, November 11, 2013

    Friday, November 8, 2013

    Wednesday, November 6, 2013

    Animals under the law


    Texas animal cruelty laws 
    Other States




    Monday, November 4, 2013

    Wild animals in zoos and in the wild

    1. Read "Can Animals Sue?"  (Sunstein) -- HERE (hint: a quiz on this might be a good idea!)
    2. Also read TAER ch. 79
    1. Vanishing wildlife -- e.g. 5,000 tigers in the wild; EO Wilson: 25% of existing species may be gone in 100 years.  Habitat destruction a main cause.
    2. Animalists (Singer, Regan) -- individual animals and only individual animals matter.   e.g. Regan (see Animalkind p. 160); killing a tiger with 5,000 left no worse than killing a tiger with 5 million left
    3. Environmental holists (Callicott) -- whole ecosystems and only whole ecosystems matter; the individual animal doesn't matter inherently.  Diversity is good for ecosystems, so species preservation matters too.
    4. Species preservationists --  each species is valuable, must be protected (Noah's ark, Endangered Species Act)
    5. Animalkind:  everything matters!  Individual animals, ecosystems, species.  
    6. Original point of zoos -- original point was to exhibit power (Animalkind, p. 124)
    7. Modern zoos -- now visited for recreation and entertainment (135 million visitors per year)
    8. Zoos and wildlife conservation -- Hutchins et al say (a) the only valid justification is conservation of species, (b) zoos do lots of good conservation work, (c) the individual animal is necessary as an "ambassador," and (d) zoos can protect the individual's welfare.
    9. Question #1 -- But how much conservation work do zoos really do?
    10. Question #2 -- Are the individual animals really OK?  Is a zoo like a luxury hotel (see Yann Martel, Life of Pi) or like a store display window (see Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, Tribe of Tiger). 

    Friday, November 1, 2013

    Should we keep pets?/Issues in veterinary ethics

    1. Animals for enjoyment (pets, wild animals in zoos)
    2. Animals under the law
    3. Brave new animal

    Sign up for a presentation today.  Further instructions about the presentations will be at the presentation tab soon.


    Ralph Lauren Pet Couture
    What are the issues about pets raised by our authors--Rollins, Shepard, Palmer?
    1. Should we have pets in the first place? Are they pathetic, dependent, "monsters" that fill the holes in our lives? (Shepard)  Should they go extinct (as "extinctionists" prefer) or is it good that they exist?
    2. Are pets used as accessories (see Ralph Lauren video)? If so, how does this hurt them?  (Does it hurt them?)
    3. Is it wrong to create breeds that appeal to humans but have built-in health problems? (Rollins and Rollins)
    4. Is it wrong to de-claw cats?
    5. Does it diminish the lives of cats and dogs to keep them indoors?
    6. Does it diminish the lives of cats and dogs to spay/neuter them?  Should we do it anyway, to prevent pet over-population? (Rollins and Rollins; Palmer)
    7. Is it wrong to "euthanize" unwanted pets?  Should all shelters be "no-kill" shelters? (Rollins and Rollins; Palmer)
    We'll come back to many of these questions when we read Zoopolis.  

    Friday, October 25, 2013

    Pro-Research Response

    • Exam on Monday
    • Class cancelled next Wednesday
    • Exam advice--use all the material (readings, powerpoints, videos, blog posts, notes, etc.)
    • Today--need to prepare for questions 7 and 9
    • Dr. Pippin's reading of the facts -- POWERPOINT -- He thinks we don't need to move on to ethics since animal research is ineffective/inessential -- Is this right?
    • Dr. Young's reading of the facts -- VIDEO -- Animal Committees established by Animal Welfare Act take care of ethics (at 1:25)  -- Is this right? -- Kazez (ch. 8) AND Brody (TAER)
    • Do the animal committees (Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees) function as "ethics" committees?
    • Depends what you think "ethics" involves
    ETHICS #1:  ANIMALIST, ANTI-RESEARCH (two options)
    1. Regan's rights approach -- must abolish all animal research
    2. Singer's utilitarian approach + "brain damaged orphan test" + equal consideration of interests -- Singer is against most animal research 
    1. Descartes, Carruthers -- anything goes -- why waste money and time protecting the animals?
    2. Aristotle -- purpose of animals is to serve human needs
    ETHICS #3: TRADITIONALIST PRO-RESEARCH (four principles, see Brody p. 317-18)
    1. "Animals have interests"
    2. "The adverse effect on animals' interests is morally relevant"
    3. Justification for harm to animals is benefits to humans
    4. In assessing whether research is justified, "human interests should be given greater significance than animal interests".  TWO POSSIBLE VERSIONS:

    • "Greater significance" means "lexical priority" -- EVERY human interest comes before ANY animal interest ("lexical" because like how EVERY A comes before ANY B in the dictionary)
    • "Greater significance" means "discounting" -- animal interests count 50% as much as human interest (or some such)
    • Example:

    • Ethics #3 + Lexical priority
    • As a result, NO research is ever vetoed on ethical grounds
    • AWA monitors how research is done, not what is done
    • Baldness research, near death experience research, 200th Harlow study ... it's all approved
    • Brody:  shift from lexical priority to discounting
    • That is already the European Union approach
    • "We have special obligations to ourselves, our family members, our friends, our fellow citizens, etc." (p. 322)
    • This is legitimate "social solidarity"
    • NOT like racism and sexism

    Wednesday, October 23, 2013

    Guest Speaker: Dr. John Pippin

    1. Because the syllabus was revised, the assignment for Friday is TAER ch. 41 (Brody).  
    2. Exam 2 is on Monday.  The questions are at the "Exam 2" tab above.  
    3. I can't hold office hours on Friday. If you need to meet with me, please make an appointment for Friday morning or Thursday.
    4. Class is cancelled on Wednesday 10/30.  We'll discuss the readings for that day on 11/1.
    5. You'll be doing presentations the week of 11/18.  Info is at the "Presentations" tab.
    6. The paper assignment (not due until December 9!) is at the "Paper" tab.
    7. Peter Singer will be giving a talk called "The Ethics of What We Eat" in November at UTD.  See announcement below.
    • Reading assignment is HERE.
    • Homework on the reading is HERE. 
    • Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine website is HERE.
    • Dr. Pippin's powerpoint is HERE.

    Monday, October 21, 2013

    How animals are used in research


    Next time we have a guest speaker, Dr. John Pippin, director of academic affairs for the organization Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.  
    • Dr. Pippin has requested that we read a recent article of his before his visit -- HERE.  
    • You should absorb the basic claims of the article but aren't responsible for every scientific detail.  If you ignore the footnotes, the length is not excessive.
    • Homework on this reading will count as a quiz.  Please turn in the homework below, typed or handwritten. Length: a page or two.
    1. What is the main thesis of Dr. Pippin's article?  State it in your own words.
    2. List three pieces of evidence he cites to support his thesis.
    3. Write a question you'd like to ask Dr. Pippin.
    4. Write an objection to the article, if you have one. Otherwise, make a point supporting the article.

    (1) Some types of animal research

     (2)  Numbers 
    • AWA-covered animals used in animal labs in 2001: 1.25 million
    • rats and mice used in animal labs in 2001: 80 million
    • animals used for product and drug testing per year: 10-20 million 
    • for sources see Animalkind (p. 149-50)
    • animals killed for food every year in the US: 10 billion
    (3) The facts about animal research (according to research advocates)

    Research Facility Tour
    Medical progress due to animal research
    A favorite example: Jonas Salk and polio vaccine research (Animalkind pp. 137-42)
    Do the animals suffer? Not much (see #2).

    (4) The facts about animal research (according to opponents)

    Research Facility Tour (PETA undercover video) 
    Medical progress due to animal research:  little (Peter Singer) to none (Dr. Pippin)
    A favorite example: Harry Harlow - video (Animalkind pp. 142-46)
    Do the animals suffer?  Yes, a great deal.
    Advocacy--direct action vs. persuasion

    (5)  The facts about the Animal Welfare Act (10/25)