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July 23, 1982

Animal Rights and Human Morality

JAMA. 1982;248(4):476. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330040064038

Bernard Rollin is an academic philosopher, and he approaches his subject as good philosophers do—identifying critical questions, explicating their meanings, and pondering their implications.

Animal Rights and Human Morality is about whether animals have moral and legal rights, particularly in the area of medical research. This is not an easy issue to tackle, nor one devoid of confusion. The author makes an interesting and erudite case for such rights and the need to recognize them, drawing on a wide variety of sources, including Kant, theories of animal awareness, moral theory, and law. His arguments are followed by a section on supposed abuses of animals used for research purposes. At issue are the practical demands of medical research set against animals' rights.

A book as broad ranging as this one cannot hope to achieve all its objectives in 182 pages. But some things are clear. The author considerably broadens our awareness