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