On Animals, February 9, 2011

WIDEN: On Animals

4:00-6:00 p.m. Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Gradroom at Grad House, 66 Harbord St.
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All are welcome. No advance registration is required.


Do Animals Have Moral Status? Does It Matter?
Jana Crawford (Philosophy)

Many attempts to either justify differential regard for humans and non-human animals or to argue in favour of a more egalitarian thesis have been grounded in a dispute over whether animals possess characteristics of putative moral significance. Disagreement persists, however, over whether animals possess such characteristics and, thus, whether they are morally considerable. This paper picks up from this point of indeterminacy by arguing that we have duties toward animals despite our uncertainty about their moral status.

Ethics and Animal Research
Sarah Figley (Medical Science)

The use of animals in scientific research has been occurring for thousands of years. Unlike research that was conducted before the mid 1900’s, modern research employs strict guidelines, restrictions and ethics when using animal models. Animal research has played – and continues to play – a pivotal role in advancing modern medicine; however, the use of animals in scientific experimentation continues to be a controversial topic. This presentation will acknowledge a few of the key experiments in animal research history, some of which have lead to modern treatments, as well as highlight both the benefits and disadvantages of animal research. Additionally, the regulation of animal research and the involvement of national ethics boards in conducting animal research will be discussed.

Canadian Criminal Law on Cruelty to Animals
Lucas Wilson (Law)

It is a criminal offence to intentionally cause “unnecessary” pain, injury, or suffering to animals. Sadistic or purposeless acts of cruelty are, accordingly, clearly criminal. Economically rational treatment of animals, in contrast, is not usually considered illegal. But sometimes it is. This presentation will attempt to explain why. It will introduce the concept of proportionality analysis and explain how it gives structure to the law on cruelty to animals.

Directions: To get to Grad Room in Grad House, enter through the coffee shop on the North-East corner of Spadina and Harbord and then go down the stairs at the back. An elevator to the room is accessible through the main entrance of the Grad House Residence.

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