Human encroachment on the habitats of wild animals and the dense living conditions of farmed animals increase spill-over risk of emerging infectious diseases from animals to humans (such as COVID-19). In this article, we defend two claims: First, we argue that in order to limit the risk of emerging infectious disease outbreaks in the future, a One Health approach is needed, which focuses on human, animal, and environmental health. Second, we claim that One Health should not solely be grounded in collaborations between veterinary, medical, and environmental scientists, but should also involve more dialogue with animal and environmental ethicists. Such an interdisciplinary approach would result in epidemiology-driven measures that are ethically legitimate.
When COVID-19 struck, tourists stopped visiting sites where they formally fed animals. As a result, the animals went hungry, with some starving to death. I argue, however, that this doesn’t show that it’s wrong to create such dependency: had we been willing to intervene on behalf of wild animals, there wouldn’t have been any moral issue. Moreover, I argue that we can identify the individuals who most plausibly have some responsibilities to help animals in crisis situations – namely, those who are bound up in caring relationships with those animals. At the same time, though, I don’t think it’s obvious how they should help, and I think there is a serious case to be made for not distinguishing between wild and domestic animals in this context. Given that, euthanization becomes an option that needs to be taken seriously.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused major disruptions in the livestock industry. The sector that was most adversely affected in the U.S. was the pork industry. Thousands of pigs had to be destroyed on the farm when the processing plants were either completely shut down or ran at greatly reduced capacity.
COVID-19 has changed the world at unprecedented pace. The measures imposed by governments across the globe for containing the pandemic have severely affected all facets of economy and society, including scientific progress. Сonservation research has not been exempt from these negative effects, which we here summarize for the BioRescue project, aiming at saving the northern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum cottoni), an important Central African keystone species, of which only two female individuals are left. The development of advanced assisted reproduction and stem-cell technologies to achieve this goal involves experts across five continents. Maintaining international collaborations under conditions of national shut-down and travel restrictions poses major challenges. The associated ethical implications and consequences are particularly troublesome when it comes to research directed at protecting biological diversity – all the more in the light of increasing evidence that biodiversity and intact ecological habitats might limit the spread of novel pathogens.
Accurate pain evaluation is essential for ethical review of laboratory animal use. Warnings that “prey species hide their pain,” encourage careful accurate pain assessment. In this article, I review relevant literature on prey species’ pain manifestation through the lens of the applied ethics of animal welfare oversight. If dogs are the species whose pain is most reliably diagnosed, I argue that it is not their diet as predator or prey but rather because dogs and humans can develop trusting relationships and because people invest time and effort in canine pain diagnosis. Pain diagnosis for all animals may improve when humans foster a trusting relationship with animals and invest time into multimodal pain evaluations. Where this is not practical, as with large cohorts of laboratory mice, committees must regard with skepticism assurances that animals “appear” pain-free on experiments, requiring thorough literature searches and sophisticated pain assessments during pilot work.
The housing, care and handling of animals in a laboratory/research setting presents a wide variety of challenges to researchers, veterinarians and animal care staff. With that in mind, there are certain fundamental components of both facility design and procedural techniques which should always be considered. Some of the initial considerations should be the potential value of the research being proposed along with ethical aspects of the protocol design. The selected species should be appropriate for the study and essential needs of that species addressed with regard to their 24/7 environment. In addition, the equipment and expertise needed to humanely conduct restraint and other procedures should be available. At times, the goals of the science are moved ahead of the basic well-being of the subjects being studied. This can be problematic, especially for animals that are maintained long term. This review of facilities, animal care enrichment strategies and methodologies for swine will highlight some of the more effective and practical approaches to minimizing stress and enhancing the value of the research conducted.
Animal welfare is an increasingly important component of veterinary medicine. While the AVMA Model Animal Welfare Curriculum is not required, there is growing research that examines veterinary students’ understanding of animal welfare and moral and ethical responsibility to animals. However, there is limited research that investigates incoming veterinary students’ perspectives on animal welfare: a significant pedagogical gap, as successful curriculum interventions take into account students’ pre-existing experiences. This study investigates this gap in the literature through a qualitative, interview-based study of twenty incoming veterinary students at an accredited veterinary college. Four themes are identified in the data: formative childhood experiences; pre-professional experiences in the field; public conversations in the media/ social media; and academic definitions memorized for admission interviews. In conclusion, I draw on the field of narrative medicine to discuss how students’ stories are important to understanding the curriculum and pedagogy of animal welfare in veterinary education.
Some recent psychological studies suggest that the belief that humans matter more than other animals can be strengthened by cognitive dissonance. Jaquet (forthcoming) argues that some of these studies also show that the relevant belief is primarily caused by cognitive dissonance and is therefore subject to a debunking argument. We offer an alternative hypothesis according to which we are already speciesist but cognitive dissonance merely enhances our speciesism. We argue that our hypothesis explains the results of the studies at least as well as Jaquet’s. We then respond to a series of objections. Along the way, we highlight various respects in which further studies are needed to decide between Jaquet’s hypothesis and ours.
AAALAC International is a nonprofit organization that evaluates and accredits research, testing and educational animal care and use programs around the world. The ethical review and oversight processes are key elements of a program, and therefore are thoroughly assessed during the accreditation process. Legal approaches to ethical review and oversight vary across geopolitical areas and are nonexistent in some regions, creating a heterogeneous landscape of processes globally. In AAALAC’s interpretation, ethical and oversight processes must first comply with applicable legislation (engineering standards), but also they must be effective (performance standards). To evaluate the efficacy of each system and be consistent in the assessments, AAALAC relies on a performance-based approach which focuses on the outcome of the process, as AAALAC considers that the same satisfactory outcome can be achieved by different procedures. How AAALAC assesses the combination of legal compliance and the efficacy of ethical review and oversight processes in the international context is described.