Saturday, May 13, 2017

Good luck!

Good luck on the final!

A few topics that have come up in conversations with students this week, with linked readings:
I love to hear from Animal Rights students after the class is over.  Send me news and issues you encounter.  I often use such material in future classes.  

Let's have a last look at that baby giraffe--

Thursday, May 4, 2017


The final will be on Saturday May 13, 11:30 -1:50.  It shouldn't take you longer than the midterm, but you'll have the full time.

Make-up quizzes
If you have permission to take any make-up quizzes, you'll take them after you turn in the final.  See the tab above for make-up quiz studying instructions.  Make sure you turn in the questionnaire I distributed on May 4.

Review sessions, office hours
We'll have a review session Friday, May 12, 12-1.  I will also have extra office hours both before and after the review session--Friday, May 12, 10-12 and 1-3.   If those times don't work for you, we can make an appointment at another time.  I will not have office hours at the normal times next week.

Exam format
  • Long essays (2)
  • Medium essay (1)
  • Short answer questions (you will answer 10 out of 12)

Long essay question (pick one--40 points)--these are the actual questions that will be on the final
  1. Explain Norcross's puppy argument against eating meat thoroughly, including how he dispenses with the five objections.  Make an objection that Norcross didn't think of; make sure you state it as fully and persuasively as possible.  What do you think he would say in response?  (review here)
  2. Explain George's unfairness argument against veganism thoroughly. Make an objection she doesn't consider at all in the article; make sure you state it as fully and persuasively as possible. What do you think she would say in response? (review here)
Long essay question (pick one--40 points)--these are the actual questions that will be on the final
  1. Explain how Shriver uses both neuropsychology and ethics to reach his conclusion in his article "Knocking out Pain in Livestock."  What are his claims, arguments, and evidence, within each discipline?  (review here)
  2. Wise does legal work on behalf of great apes, elephants, and cetaceans.  Based on what specific claims about animal minds did he pick those species? Are those claims about animal minds defensible?  Why does he think animals with minds like that should have a new legal status? What status does he have in mind, and what is his legal strategy for achieving it?   (Note: to answer this well, you will need to draw on the Wise article and the movie about Wise and the material about animal minds from the first few weeks of this course.) (review here and here)
Medium essay question (pick one--20 points)--these are the actual questions that will be on the final
  1. Explain what was gained in this class by approaching animals from the perspective of both ethics and law.
  2. Explain what was gained in this class by approaching animals from the perspective of both ethics and psychology.
  3. Explain what was gained in this class by approaching animals from the perspective of both law and psychology.

Short answers (you will pick 10 out of 12--100 points)

  • The topics are below but not the actual questions that will be on the final.  
  • When you study, make sure you go to the blog post and study powerpoints, rewatch videos, follow links, study annotations, etc.

Animals as food
  • Background on factory farming and nutrition (March 21)
    • You should be able to answer questions like "bacon tastes good, but what sorts of cruelty go into creating it?" Or "comparing the cruelty that goes into various animal products, which food involves the greatest cruelty? (Explain.)"  
  • Norcross argument for veganism (March 21)
    • You need to be able to explain the basic argument.  You need to be able to state the 5 objections he considers and explain the way he responds to those objections.
    • Make sure you understand the objection dealing with intended vs. foreseen harm, and the Doctrine of Double Effect.
    • Note: some of the images in the powerpoint only show up if you open it in powerpoint.
    • Make sure you've read this article carefully!
  • Frey argument against veganism (March 23)
    • You need to be able to state Frey's "causal impotence" argument and also explain how Norcross responds to it.
    • Frey's argument is the same as objection C in the Norcross article.
  • George argument against veganism (March 23)
    • You should be able explain the nutritional background for this article, but don't need to know all the details.
    • You should be able to state George's unfairness argument and discuss waivers and excuses.
  • Davis argument against veganism (March 23)
    • This is a pretty tricky argument that depends on quantitative claims.  Study the powerpoint carefully and reread bits of the article as needed.
    • You should be able to state the replies as well as the basic argument.
  • Background about humane farming (March 28)
    • How much better are the different sorts of humane farming, compared to factory farming?  You should be able to discuss various cases of allegedly more humane farming.
  • Pollan argument against veganism (March 28)
    • We didn't spend a ton of time on this article.  The powerpoint highlights will suffice.
    • Make sure you can discuss Polyface farm.
  • Shriver genetic engineering argument (March 30)
    • Claims about the neuropsychology of pain in this article are important. You need to understand the main claims, arguments, and evidence, but not every single technical detail.
    • You should understand his ethical argument and his responses to objections.
Animal research
Presentation topics (for each topic, I've given you an issue to concentrate on)
  • Hunting (4/4)
    • Look at slide 6.  Some people think this is a particularly awful type of hunting.  Would that make sense to any of the ethicists we've studied in this class?  Who? Why?
  • Rodeos (4/4)
    • Look at slides 12-15.  Does the animal cruelty law in Texas prohibit anything that could take place at any rodeo in Texas?
  • Dallas World Aquarium (4/18)
    • Look at slides 4-6.  When the AWA inspector visits the DWA, which of these animals does he or she inspect? 
  • Dallas zoo (4/18)
    • Look at slide 5.  Compare the elephant space at the zoo with the space for chimps at the Florida sanctuary in the movie about Wise.  Is it fair to say the chimps have liberty but the elephants don't?  
  • Veterinary ethics (4/20)
    • Look at the slides about declawing or ear-cropping.  Is there a good utilitarian defense of either of these practices?
  • Animal shelters (4/20)
    • Look at slide 7. Under what circumstances would a utilitarian like Peter Singer support killing animals in animal shelters?
Animal law
  • Background: state and federal laws protecting animals (4/25)
    • You should be able to discuss state animal cruelty laws--the sorts of things they cover and don't cover, the punishment they impose, etc.
    • You should be able to discuss the Animal Welfare Act in detail--what facilities it does and doesn't cover, what species it does and doesn't cover, what demands it makes on facilities, etc.
  • Stronger II (Wise) (4/25) and more on Wise (4/27)
    • Make sure you can explain the difference between Wise and Sunstein's proposals.
    • Make sure you've seen the movie about Wise (at least the excerpts we watched). You should be able to explain Wise's legal strategy--concepts like personhood vs. thinghood and habeas corpus are crucial.
    • Why does Wise think certain species (which?) should be the first ones to be treated as persons? What's special about them?
  • Stronger I (Sunstein) (5/2)
    • How is Sunstein's proposal different from Wise's?
    • You need to understand how he's proposing that humans could starting filing lawsuits to help animals (based on the three types of injuries to humans).
    • You need to understand his proposal about animals becoming plaintiffs. 
    • What's the motivation behind his proposal?  How radical is it?
  • Weaker (ag gag laws) (5/2)
    • We didn't read anything about these laws, but you can follow the links to learn more about them.
    • We saw many videos in this class that would be harder to generate if ag gag laws became widespread. You should be able to describe one of these videos.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017


  • The reading for Friday is optional.  There will be no quiz.
  • We will review for the final on Friday.

Last week:  Wise (Stronger II)

Cass Sunstein, "Can Animals Sue?" (Stronger I) -- annotated PDF

I.  Existing state and federal laws

  • their strengths
  • their weaknesses
  • they don't allow a "private cause of action" (i.e. nobody can sue when the laws aren't enforced)

II.  When could/should humans have standing to sue, in order to help animals?

(A)  Informational standing
National Geographic article on disappearance of AWA records (read "assessing the damage")
AWA Inspection Reports
(B) Competitive standing
(C) Aesthetic standing

III. Could/should animals have standing to sue?

Animals as plaintiffs in civil courts--not literally in court!
Animals in court as criminal defendants

IV.  Are you for or against Sunstein's proposal that animals should have standing to sue for failure to enforce existing animal protection laws?  Get into your presentation groups and discuss, prepare to present the group's views.

Ag Gag laws

The type of video these laws are trying to prevent:  2008 HSUS investigation

(1) Quick reporting laws

(2) Laws against entering animal facility with intent to record

(3)  Laws that prohibit lying on an application to work at an agricultural operation with intent to record

Thursday, April 27, 2017


We will watch excerpts from the movie "Unlocking the Cage"  (HBO)

Relevant links:
Non-human Rights Project
Time line of events (p. 5-8)
Writ of Habeas Corpus
Corporations as legal persons
About Tommy's owner
Justice Barbara Jaffe's ruling

Today's reading:  what are Posner's objections to legal personhood for animals?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017


WEAKER (possibly save for next time)

Animal Law

  • we've read psychology (DeWaal), ethics (last 6 weeks)
  • will now read three legal scholars (Steven Wise, Richard Posner, Cass Sunstein)
  • claims about morality vs. claims about what the law is or should be. 
  • Ethical and legal claims are different and need different sorts of support (e.g. about meat-eating or hunting)
  • what legal protections do animals (in the US) actually have?
  • on paper, in practice
  • Definition of "animal"--mice, rats, birds, cold-blooded animals are NOT animals for purposes of AWA
  • Lab animals: we discussed already, see here
  • Animals during transportation
  • Animals on exhibit: zoo and aquarium animals protected, but no protection for rodeo animals
  • How strong is the protection for zoo/aquarium animals?
  • Aquarium--no protection at all for any of the birds, fish, reptiles

  • What about the jaguar?

  • Inspections manual (DWA enclosures for jaguar is OK--no requirement that animal should be able to exercise natural capacities). 
  • Do inspections lead to positive change?
  • Inspection reports (p. 195 -- problem with sloth in 2014)
  • Sloth is still in the same place!

  • You can file a complaint
  • Worries: (1) most animals at Aquarium are not covered, (2) no requirement that animal have space to exercise natural capacities, (3) lack of enforcement (only about 100 inspectors)
  • Endangered Species Act (HERE)
  • Humane Slaughter Act (HERE)
    • covers "livestock"--no laws covering birds
  • Marine Mammal Protection Act (HERE)
  • Horse Protection Act (HERE)
  • Tether laws (HERE)


  • California Proposition 2 (HERE)
  • Have to follow CA law to sell eggs in CA



  1. Someone with "practical autonomy" has "preferences and the ability to act to satisfy them, can cope with changed circumstances, can make choices--even ones she cannot evaluate well--or has desires and beliefs and can make appropriate inferences from them" (p. 230)
  2. Practical autonomy makes X a person with dignity, instead of a mere thing.  (Note: "person" doesn't mean the same as "human organism.")
  3. Certain non-human species do have practical autonomy (great apes, elephants, cetaceans, African grey parrots).
  4. Thus, they are persons, not things.  
  5. Under US law, persons have certain basic legal rights (liberty, right to standing in civil courts, etc.)
  6. Members of those species should have the basic legal rights of persons (liberty, right to standing in civil courts, etc....)
  1. Certain humans with less than complete practical autonomy have a reduced set of rights, but still have rights.
  2. Like cases should be treated alike--a basic legal principle.
  3. Comparable animals should have the same reduced set of rights possessed by less autonomous humans.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Zoos and Aquariums (see presentation blog)

Some extra materials

Giraffe Cam

The Animal Welfare Act (here) does cover zoos, but only covers warm-blooded animals--no reptiles, fish,  or birds.  So most of the animals at the Dallas World Aquarium are not covered and many of the animals at the Dallas Zoo are not covered. The latest inspection reports are here.  See p. 184-195 for DWA.  See p. 423-436 for the Dallas Zoo.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Carbone--The Utility of Basic Animal Research

Questions for today
  1. Is Engel right about the uselessness of animal research?
  2. Is he right that animal research can be replaced by computer models, in vitro research using human tissue, stem cell research, etc.?
  3. If animal research is useful (contrary to what Engel claims), is it ethical?  
Larry Carbone (lab vet at UCSF)
  1. Veterinarians extrapolate from one species to another all the time....successfully
  2. Evolutionary biology supports extrapolation
  3. Carbone is only addressing utility, not morality
  4. Biomedical research is probabilistic--doesn't provide certainty
  5. What we already know about different species helps researchers choose the best animal model
  6. When there are failures of extrapolation, animal researchers study them and learn from them
  7. There are also failures of extrapolation from other types of research--in vitro, computer models, epidemiology, using human volunteers, etc.
Example of extrapolation

Courtine et al., "Can experiments in nonhuman primates expedite the translation of treatments for spinal cord injury in humans?"

NYT article
More video about Gregoire Courtine's lab

Suppose it's useful.  Is it also ethical?

  1. Regan: no
  2. Donaldson & Kymlicka: no
  3. Singer: maybe 
  4. Gruen: unclear
  5. Carruthers, Aristotle, Descartes, Kant: yes
  6. What do you think?
IF animal research can be useful and can be ethical, should it be more tightly regulated?

(1) Balance criterion (my chapter plus other authors):  harm to animals should be "necessary" in the sense that (A) harm to animals is in balance with desired benefit to humans, and (B) no way to achieve same benefit with less harm.
  • cosmetic research
  • Harry Harlow's research
  • Jonas Salk's research
  • Gregoire Courtine's research using rats, using monkeys
(2) Animal Welfare Act (US):  harm to animals should be "necessary" in a weaker sense than above.  (A) Any benefit to humans is worth pursuing through animal research (no demand for balance), but (B) researchers should impose no more harm than necessary to achieve that benefit, whatever it is.  Enforced through regulation, local animal care committees, inspections.

  • cosmetic research
  • Harry Harlow's research
  • Jonas Salk's research
  • Gregoire Courtine's research using rats, using monkeys

(3) European approach, differences:  Balance criterion (see #39, here).  Committees making the judgments are national and non-local (see #39 and #48).  No animal testing for cosmetic purposes; no sales of cosmetics tested on animals (see here).

  • cosmetic research
  • Harry Harlow's research
  • Jonas Salk's research
  • Gregoire Courtine's research using rats, using monkeys

P. S. Trump administration has weakened AWA with black-out of AWA inspection reports.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Engel--the Commonsense Case Against Animal Research

Engel article, annotated

The "no extrapolation" argument against animal research

(1) It's wrong to perform animal experiments that are harmful or painful or lethal for no good reason.
(2) Animal experiments that are harmful, painful, or lethal are always performed for no good reason (they provide no valuable information).

(3) It is wrong to perform these animal experiments.

What animal experiments does Engel discuss?  He says "biomedical research" but he only talks about drug testing.

His argument that animal experiments (involved in drug testing) provide no valuable information:

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Animal Research

  • More reading suggestions for vet group under "presentation readings"
  • Make-up quizzes--We've had one, but we need a few more for a few people.
  • New solution-- there will be make-up quiz questions on the final just for those people.
  • They will be exactly like regular quizzes--they will ask one of the reading questions about one of the readings (assigned after March 9).
  • Prior to the final, I will let you know by email how many you are entitled to answer.

  • Today, the  background facts
  • Tuesday, the arguments pro and con
Background: some types of uses of animals
  1. biomedical research--using animals to learn about human body, diseases, treatments
  2. drug, household product, and cosmetics testing--using animals to determine safety for the benefit of humans
  3. psychology research--doing research on animals to learn about human psychology
  4. veterinary research--doing research on animals to benefit animals
  5. animal psychology research--doing research on animals to learn about animal minds....but to satisfy human desire for knowledge
The Animal Welfare Act
  • regulates research on some species in most labs (more on AWA below)
  • AWA-covered animals used in animal labs in 2001: 1.25 million
  • rats and mice (not AWA-covered) used in animal labs in 2001: 80 million
  • animals used for product and drug testing per year: 10-20 million
  • animals killed for food every year in the US: 10 billion
Animal research - negative (?) examples
Animal research - positive (?) examples
Testing of drugs, household products, cosmetics
  • FDA requires animal testing of drugs
  • household products and cosmetics are tested on animals at the discretion of companies
  • Draize test


Primary US laws that protect animals

  • state animal cruelty laws (labs are exempt, animal farming is exempt)
  • Humane Slaughter Act--applies to slaughter of large mammals
  • Animal Welfare Act 
    • applies to research animals, not not all species, and not federal labs
    • applies to circuses, zoos, aquaria, but not rodeos
    • applies to transport of farm animals, but not farms
    • applies to large breeders, but not to retail outlets or animal shelters


1966 -Sports Illustrated and Life Magazine articles lead to AWA
  • main point of AWA is to prevent lost pets being used in animal labs
  • requires adequate food and housing

1970 - Amendments address animal pain.
  • Anesthetics have to be used during surgery; analgesics have to be offered for pain relief.
  • More venues covered (circuses and zoos, but not pet stores, pet shows, and rodeos)
1985 - Amendments spurred by exposes of animal labs
  • Provisions for institutional animal care committees (IACUCs)
  • dogs must have exercise, primates must have psychological enrichment
Silver Spring Maryland - Dr Edward Taub severs nerves to arms to study nervous system healing - PETA co-founder Alex Pacheco takes undercover position and films - testifies in 1981 congressional hearings

University of Pennsylania - Head injury lab - baboons had their heads crushed in crash simulator - 64 hours of film obtained during raid by Animal Liberation Front - PETA produces film

2002, 2007, 2008 - more amendments

  • "animal" explicitly defined so that rats, mice, birds, and reptiles are not covered 
  • prohibition on animal fighting  
Today's Animal Welfare Act

Questions about IACUCs (institutional animal care and use committees)
  • Are they really ethics committees? (see John Young in research facility video)
  • How do they compare to human subject review committees? 
  • How are animals protected, compared to children?
  • Do IACUCs judge balance between animal costs and human benefits? 
  • Do IACUCs ever veto experiments on ethical grounds?

Thursday, March 30, 2017


Make-up quizzes

  • You can take a make-up quiz if you missed a quiz because of a) an extracurricular activity, b) some other unavoidable problem such as illness, a family emergency, or a job interview, c) a pre-approved religious holiday.  You need to explain such absences and be prepared to document them.
  • Make-up quizzes will be just like other quizzes and will also be given on a "surprise" basis.  When the dice do not indicate a quiz, I may declare a make-up quiz.
  • NEW POLICY, see 4/6 post
  • Some of you have said you prefer to make a powerpoint rather than create a post in blogger.  That's OK, but please create a link to your powerpoint in blogger.  
  • Your presentation post/powerpoint will be on the screen during your presentation. It should help you do your presentation and should help your audience follow your presentation.
  • You need to have pictures!  Take pictures at your site or if that doesn't make sense, then get them online.  Take videos too--e.g. videos from the rodeo, the aquarium, or the zoo, could be very pertinent to your presentation.  If you put them online we should be able to create links at the presentation blog.  Tests your links!
  • READ the instructions about the presentation!  They are at the tab above.

  • Look at Canvas so you know all the involvement requirements and the extra credit opportunities.  
  • Today's opportunity is a talk in McCord auditorium at 4:00. It's a student-oriented talk on aesthetic responsibility by the well-known philosopher Susan Wolf.


Adam Shriver, "Knocking Out Pain in Livestock:  Can Technology Succeed Where Morality has Stalled?" (2009)

"....Where Morality has Stalled"--why does he think morality has stalled?
  • more vegans and vegetarians
  • more reforms
  • but higher per capita meat consumption (190 lbs/person --> 222 lbs/person)
  • population increase
  • further evidence (not in Shriver): changing minds vs. changing behavior (Schwitzgebel)

    Shriver aims to show (p. 178, second column, toward end)
    1. "genetically engineering livestock [that can't suffer 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)


    Genetic Engineering (GE) vs. Animal Breeding
    • Breeding: Labrador retriever mates with poodle --> labradoodle  
    • 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, one has been approved for food:  GE Salmon
    Other proposals as to how GE can make animal-consumption ethically better
    • cow-roo--cattle that produce less methane, so contribute less to global warming
    • enviro-pig--pigs that produce less polluting excrement, so do less damage to environment 
    • idea discussed (critically) by Gruen--could engineer animals so they have very short lifespans; thus, when they're killed they're not deprived of future life

    1. sensory component (localization and quality--sharp, dull, burning, etc.)
    2. affective component (the hurting and suffering)

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

    Proposal: use GE to create animals with no ACC, but with intact S1& S2
    • peptide P311 controls formation of ACC
    • knockout mice without P311 behaved like the rats after ACC ablation
    • "P311 is likely to play a similar role in all mammals" (p. 180)
    • the knockout mice could their cages
    • knockout livestock would their limited environment
    • "This would be a good model for sows or veal calves who spend most of their lives confined in small pens where they can't do much of anything that would injure or otherwise harm themselves." (p. 181, first column, top)
    • "ablation of the anterior cingulate causes mother mammals to stop responding to the cries of their young" (p. 181, first column, middle) -- so would relieve suffering caused by separation

    Now for the argument for doing this (p. 119)--

    1. Objection: Knockout animals will acquire more bruises, so will be un-marketable. Reply:  the animals will still feel pain, so will engage in normal pain-guarding and other behaviors.
    2. Objection: GE animals are unnatural.  Reply: farmed animals are already unnatural because of breeding
    3. Objection:  people will be "more careless or cruel in their interactions with the animals" (p. 184, left column, top).  Reply: not clear

    Tuesday, March 28, 2017

    Humane Farming

    Before we state the Humane Farming Defense, we need more background.  How humane is humane?

    I. Standard factory farming
    II. Factory farming with reforms
    III. More humane farming
    IV. Nearly ideal humane farming
    V. Plant farming


    Caged Laying Hens

    Gestation crates (Humane Society)
    Farrowing Crate



    Whole Foods' 5 Step System


    Free range, not just cage free


    Pollan and Davis


    Extra Credit Involvement

    Attend talk on March 30 (see below)--5 extra credit involvement points--upload one page of notes or turn in by April 4

    Attend a Rodeo by April 4--5 extra credit involvement points--upload recent receipt or turn in on April 4

    Go to Zoo or Aquarium by April 18--5 extra credit involvement points--upload recent receipt or turn in on April 18