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Volume Editor: Sanjay Lal
Events in recent times have led many to rightly question the compatibility such traditionally revered concepts as democracy, liberal tolerance, and capitalism have with the realization of social peace. Clearly, it can no longer be uncritically assumed that the values championed by earlier generations are conducive for reaching peaceful outcomes. In Peaceful Approaches for a More Peaceful World, a wide array of scholars explore the challenges presented in the current age to conventional understandings of what is required for peace and provide insights that are both practical and constructive to a world in urgent need of conceiving new ways forward.
Volume Editors: Olli Loukola and Leonidas Donskis
Secrets and conspiracies have always played an important role in human history, and today conspiracy theories have become a rather disconcerting practice for picturing our world and our relations with each other. How seriously are we to take them, then? Are we to completely discard them as political rhetoric, purposeful misinformation, or even individual delusions? Or should we take them as serious, perhaps even scientific theories? This collection purports to provide a sober analysis of the much-debated issues and tries to develop and outline conceptual and theoretical tools to make sense of what secrets and conspiracies truly are.

Abstract

Methodological choices in animal experimentation are influenced by a variety of factors. The analysis of the relative weight of such factors on the practice of animal experimentation can offer a better idea of the influences characterizing the work of researchers today. To this aim, we conducted structured interviews and sent out questionnaires to researchers using animal models. The results showed that the main factor influencing the researchers’ work with animals was the appropriateness of the chosen animal model to respond to the question addressed. Ethical issues came as the next important factor, mostly based on considerations regarding animal suffering. The general public opinion appeared to be of little significance, indicating that a gap still exists between animal researchers and society. This paper shows animal experimentation is influenced by both external (e.g., adherence to scientific objectivity) and internal factors (e.g., ethical concerns), providing a varied profile of the contemporary animal researcher.

In: Journal of Applied Animal Ethics Research
Author: Leonor Galhardo

Abstract

‘My fish and I’ is an account of the diversity of human-fish interactions. This includes their benefits, detriments/harms as well as their moral and animal welfare. Fish are not easily perceived as individual animals having mental states, interests, needs and a degree of individuality. Additionally, fish have been handled as a simple resource in innumerable human interactions. Important ethical approaches address animal-human interactions based upon the individual’s cognitive ability and capacity to feel pleasure and pain. Given the ample evidence that fish have neuroanatomical structures that support the capacity to feel (sentience) and have complex behavioural and cognitive abilities, a moral duty is imposed upon us. Some human-centered and eco-centered moral views complement different perceptions of the nature of our relationship with fish. This occurs both at the individual level and as species or populations face a serious need for conservation. The concepts and assessments in the developments of animal welfare science provide ample basis for an evolution in the quality of human-fish interactions. However, many stakeholders must take part in this evolution. This is especially true as it concerns those areas of activity involving many individual fish and higher levels of suffering. Examples of these are aquaculture and commercial fisheries where there is much more at stake. Consumers will have the last word in this role, namely by reducing fish consumption.

In: Journal of Applied Animal Ethics Research

Abstract

In order to continue its business sustainably, any industry that uses animals must largely align their ethical position with that of the general public: ‘the mainstream social ethic’. Although zoos are transitioning from entertainment venues to conservation actors, many cetacean (whale and dolphin) facilities present the animals in unnatural-looking enclosures and entertainment-driven contexts. But what is the ‘mainstream social ethic’ regarding cetacean facilities, and what might it mean for the industry’s future? The evidence is first reviewed on cetacean welfare and the purported purposes for displaying cetaceans in the past and present. The mainstream social ethic is then defined, suggesting we may be at a crossroads for this industry. Welfare has improved in the last decades but could be further enhanced through providing more choice and control in cetaceans’ environments, particularly in enrichment, training and social groupings. Sanctuary settings provide a potential environment with more choice and control, but are still in the very initial stages of development. Fundamental, structural changes to the mission, presentation of the cetaceans and business model seem to be needed to realign the public display of cetaceans with the mainstream social ethic of the times.

In: Journal of Applied Animal Ethics Research
Philosophy, Literature, Culture
Editor: Michael Marder
The goal of the Critical Plant Studies is to initiate an interdisciplinary dialogue, whereby philosophy and literature would learn from each other to think about, imagine, and describe, vegetal life with critical awareness, conceptual rigor, and ethical sensitivity. Literary works featuring plant imagery may be analyzed with reference to philosophical frameworks, while philosophical discussions of the meanings of vegetal life may be enriched and supported with the tools of literary criticism. Another dialogic dimension of the series entails a sustained engagement between Western and non-Western philosophies and religious traditions, representative of the human attitudes to plants. This “cross-pollination” of different fields of knowledge and experience will become possible thanks to the fundamental role plants play in human life, regardless of their backgrounding or neglect.
Ethically stated, the aim of the book series is to encourage an incremental shift of cultural attitudes from a purely instrumental to a respectful approach to vegetal beings. This is particularly important at the current time of the global environmental crisis, when massive de-forestation, seed patenting, and profit-driven agriculture threaten the very future of life on the planet. Not only will works included in the series shed light on the being of plants, but they will also assist us in critically thinking through the crucial issues and challenges of the contemporary world. Bioethics and genetic engineering, of which plants were the first examples; the role of spirituality and holism in the techno-scientific age; the reliance of our imagination and creativity on elements of the “natural” world; global food shortages and sustainable agricultural practices; the roots of our thinking and writing in other-than-human, vegetal processes, such as growth and decay, germination and branching out, fecundation and fruition—books included in Critical Plant Studies will, in one way or another, touch upon these and related themes central to the philosophy, literature, and culture of the twenty-first century.
Thus, we are looking to publish a mix of specialized manuscripts and introductory texts on the theory, literary criticism, and religious or aesthetic appreciation of plant life. Each title in the series will combine at least two of the disciplines listed above, with preference given to cutting-edge methodologies in comparative literature, comparative philosophy, comparative religious studies, etc., and trans-disciplinary approaches. Analyses of plant-related writings and artworks from any historical period and geographical area will be welcome.

The series has published an average of 0,5 volumes per year since 2013.
Authors: Max Janse and Nienke Klerks

Abstract

As ocean’s apex predators, elasmobranchs are a very popular group in zoos and public aquariums. Since 30% of these species are threatened, there is a need within the zoo and public aquarium community to create a Regional Collection Plan (RCP) to coordinate the elasmobranch populations under human care. In 2011, Royal Burgers’ Zoo decided to change the Institutional Collection Plan (ICP) and stopped getting any sharks or rays directly from the wild. This study presents the potential and challenges of this approach. Although this study shows it to be a feasible approach for one public aquarium, implementing this ICP criterion in multiple public aquariums will require an increase in breeding efforts. There may also remain a need to collect animals from the wild as part of a conservation programme on threatened species or to increase the number of founders in a breeding programme.

In: Journal of Applied Animal Ethics Research
Animal Liberation, Marxism, and Critical Theory
Author: Marco Maurizi
In Beyond Nature Maurizi tackles the animal question from an unprecedented perspective: strongly criticizing the abstract moralism that has always characterized animal rights activism, the author proposes a historical-materialistic analysis of the relationship between humans and non-humans.

By contrasting the thinking of Hegel, Marx and the Frankfurt School with classical authors in the field of animal rights (such as Singer, Regan, and Francione) this text offers an alternative, social and dialectical theory of animality and a different practical approach to the problem of animal suffering. The hopes for change placed in veganism, liberationism and animal activism are here assumed in a political, revolutionary perspective, in which human and animal liberation finally cease to oppose each other.
In: Beyond Nature
In: Beyond Nature