The Rise of Veterinary Ethics

In: Journal of Applied Animal Ethics Research
M. Lynne Kesel Department of Animal Science, Colorado State University 1171 Campus Delivery, Fort Collins, CO 80523–1171 USA

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Bernard Rollin taught the first class in veterinary ethics in modern veterinary history at Colorado State University in the late 1970’s as a result of his outrage at the behavior of a CSU surgeon who gave him only one option for his dog, when others were less invasive. The course, which became part of the veterinary curriculum at CSU, began with a history of the evolution of thought and attitudes toward animals from early Greek philosophy and Oriental religion, and followed it to modern times. He used the concept of telos, or nature of an animal, to develop his theory of why animals should be treated as moral objects with rights, and over the period of 40 years taught, wrote books and articles, lectured all over the world, and influenced legislation protecting animals.

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