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Why Animals Matter: Animal Consciousness, Animal Welfare, and Human Well-Being

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Renowned authority Marian Stamp Dawkins' new work presents an illuminating and urgent argument for the need to rethink animal welfare. In the vein of Temple Grandin's work, Dawkins explains that this welfare must be made to work in practice to have any effect, and cannot be tinged by anthropomorphism and claims of animal consciousness, which lack firm empirical evidence an Renowned authority Marian Stamp Dawkins' new work presents an illuminating and urgent argument for the need to rethink animal welfare. In the vein of Temple Grandin's work, Dawkins explains that this welfare must be made to work in practice to have any effect, and cannot be tinged by anthropomorphism and claims of animal consciousness, which lack firm empirical evidence and are often freighted with controversy and high emotions. Instead, animal-welfare efforts must focus on science and on fully appreciating the critical role animals play in human welfare. With growing concern over such issues as climate change and food shortages, how we treat those animals on which we depend for survival needs to be put squarely on the public agenda. Dawkins seeks to do this by offering a more complete understanding of how animals help us. In the end, it is human self-interest that will drive changes in our treatment of animals. Taking positions that might surprise and will certainly challenge animal lovers, Dawkins presents a persuasive argument for why animals truly matter.


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Renowned authority Marian Stamp Dawkins' new work presents an illuminating and urgent argument for the need to rethink animal welfare. In the vein of Temple Grandin's work, Dawkins explains that this welfare must be made to work in practice to have any effect, and cannot be tinged by anthropomorphism and claims of animal consciousness, which lack firm empirical evidence an Renowned authority Marian Stamp Dawkins' new work presents an illuminating and urgent argument for the need to rethink animal welfare. In the vein of Temple Grandin's work, Dawkins explains that this welfare must be made to work in practice to have any effect, and cannot be tinged by anthropomorphism and claims of animal consciousness, which lack firm empirical evidence and are often freighted with controversy and high emotions. Instead, animal-welfare efforts must focus on science and on fully appreciating the critical role animals play in human welfare. With growing concern over such issues as climate change and food shortages, how we treat those animals on which we depend for survival needs to be put squarely on the public agenda. Dawkins seeks to do this by offering a more complete understanding of how animals help us. In the end, it is human self-interest that will drive changes in our treatment of animals. Taking positions that might surprise and will certainly challenge animal lovers, Dawkins presents a persuasive argument for why animals truly matter.

30 review for Why Animals Matter: Animal Consciousness, Animal Welfare, and Human Well-Being

  1. 5 out of 5

    Brandon

    Are non-human animals conscious in the same way humans are (or at least seem to be)? In what ways is animal welfare connected with human welfare? "Why Animals Matter" is primarily concerned with these two question, trying to present a scientific case for animal welfare and ethics that Dawkins hopes will persuade those who currently don't see animal welfare as an important and worthwhile issue (especially alongside competing issues like climate change) to care about animal welfare because there i Are non-human animals conscious in the same way humans are (or at least seem to be)? In what ways is animal welfare connected with human welfare? "Why Animals Matter" is primarily concerned with these two question, trying to present a scientific case for animal welfare and ethics that Dawkins hopes will persuade those who currently don't see animal welfare as an important and worthwhile issue (especially alongside competing issues like climate change) to care about animal welfare because there is scientific evidence that animals are not just fleshy machines for us to exploit, but rather fully conscious beings, much like us, and therefore worthy of being valued and treated accordingly. To this end, Dawkins goes to great lengths to talk about "easy" and "hard" problems of consciousness and what makes it difficult to determine if a being (including a human) is conscious or not. The beginning and middle parts of the book are concerned with these problems and, while important, Dawkins sometimes seems to be going over the same issues and questions only to finally admit in the end that, while we have some faint indicators of the peripheral "soft" problems, the "hard" problems like what is consciousness? and how can we truly know if any living being is conscious or not? are beyond the capacity of current scientific methods to answer. Which is puzzling because a good portion of the book is devoted to these questions without answers and, in my mind, don't contribute much to the case for or against improved animal welfare conditions in terms of practical measures or compelling arguments to be presented to those who are most responsible for animal mistreatment (do the CEOs of factory farm operations, or even average Americans looking for the cheapest prices on chicken wings care whether animal consciousness is something science can prove or not?) What I found more interesting and compelling were Dawkins' arguments connecting animal and human welfare, especially directly connecting human and animal health and well-being. I think this could have some value in convincing even those who are aware of conditions in factory farms, but don't care because they don't see the connection between those animals and their own lives, that the way we treat animals matters because humans and animals are not separate. For me, the strongest part of the book is the final chapter "Animal Welfare for a Small Planet". Here, Dawkins acknowledges the difficulties with putting forward a sound, scientific case for animal welfare, but insists that the effort is necessary, despite the challenges: "International and government reports on the future of the world do not give animal welfare a priority. Perhaps the title of Bernie Rollin's book, The Unheeded Cry, should be taken not just as a call for action but as a description of the current situation. If the cry hasn't been heeded, then that is a sign that new arguments are needed...Animal welfare needs more science, not less. It also needs to be seen not as an isolated fringe interest, based on vague ideas of what might be good for animals, but as linked to a much wider range of concerns that everyone can see as affecting their own future. The earth is turning out to be a much smaller planet than it once seemed, but we humans are not its only inhabitants. We need to rethink our view of the millions of non-human animals that also live here, not just in regard to what they are in themselves, but also in how our own futures are inseparably bound up with theirs" (184).

  2. 5 out of 5

    Emirhan AVCI

    Çeviri iyi olmasına rağmen yazarın vermek istediği mesajı kitabın her bölümünde tekrarlaması, konuyu pekiştirmekten ziyade kitaptan kopmama zaman zaman yol açtı. Ama bunlara rağmen hayvan refahı ve hayvan bilinci gibi konular açısından okuyup güzel şeyler öğrenebileceğiniz yegane kitaplardan. Referans verdiği kitaplar da ileri okuma için alanın ehli isimler tarafından yazılmış bu açıdan kaynakça da kesinlikle incelenmeli.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Uyar

    i read the turkish translation.. hayvanlar ne ister adiyla turkceye kazandirilmis hayvan refahi konusundaki tartismalari irdeleyen bir kitap..yazarin temel argumani hayvana refah acisindan genel yaklasimin onun insanbicimli dusunulmesi ve insan gibi bilinci oldugu temelinden hareket edilmesi oldugunu soyluyor. yazar halbuki bilinc nedir? nerede baslar? ne kadari cozulmustur gibi kavramlar insanda bile oturmamisken (zor soru/kolay soru) hayvanlara bu sekilde yaklasmak dogru degil demektedir. onun i read the turkish translation.. hayvanlar ne ister adiyla turkceye kazandirilmis hayvan refahi konusundaki tartismalari irdeleyen bir kitap..yazarin temel argumani hayvana refah acisindan genel yaklasimin onun insanbicimli dusunulmesi ve insan gibi bilinci oldugu temelinden hareket edilmesi oldugunu soyluyor. yazar halbuki bilinc nedir? nerede baslar? ne kadari cozulmustur gibi kavramlar insanda bile oturmamisken (zor soru/kolay soru) hayvanlara bu sekilde yaklasmak dogru degil demektedir. onun yerine yazar hayvanlara yaklasimda ikili metod dedigi yontemi onermektedir. burada yine insan bazli hareket ederek hayvan refahi insan icin de iyidir ve gereklidir sonucuna goturmek ve boyle de bu konuda tereddutu olanlari da ikna etme yontemini onermektedir.. ilginc bir yaklasim.Ve daha cok kanita dayali bilimsel calismalara ihtiyac vardir diyor.. ancak bu kitap sayesinde iki onemli isimi de tanimis oldum : E Rolls ve D Chalmers..... daha gidilecek ne cok yol okunacak ne cok kitap varmis meger...

  4. 4 out of 5

    A

    An easy read. The author got a little too caught up in talking about what "consciousness" is and seems to run out of space for new theory. She does offer some valuable insight about how science can work WITH anthropomorphism rather than fearing it, however. [Gist of a longer review]

  5. 4 out of 5

    Michael Broadhead

    Really, this should have been an essay rather than a book. Nothing to disagree with, but it's not exactly groundbreaking.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Deniz Cem Önduygu

    Why would you care about an animal? Why not harm it? Because it has feelings? Because it is conscious, like us? How do you know this? How can you even know that any person besides yourself is conscious? You have no way of knowing it. Science itself is clueless about this question, and will remain so according to many. This is the "hard problem" of consciousness in philosophy of mind, and Dawkins puts it into use to free animal welfare from endless discussions about consciousness. She offers (1) Why would you care about an animal? Why not harm it? Because it has feelings? Because it is conscious, like us? How do you know this? How can you even know that any person besides yourself is conscious? You have no way of knowing it. Science itself is clueless about this question, and will remain so according to many. This is the "hard problem" of consciousness in philosophy of mind, and Dawkins puts it into use to free animal welfare from endless discussions about consciousness. She offers (1) a selfish but objective reason to make people (who don't believe animals are conscious) care about animals and (2) a definition of animal welfare close enough to treating them as conscious beings, but objective enough to permit scientific research.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Stevie

    The central thesis that Marian Stamp Dawkins puts forward is that we don't fully understand consciousness in nonhuman animals OR humans. However, apparently humans are not to be treated as things while a whole different set of rules apply to nonhuman animals - completely inexplicably if we accept the central thesis that we can't really know whether other humans are actually conscious or not. Although she argues that 'giving animals the benefit of the doubt' isn't a logical or scientifically soun The central thesis that Marian Stamp Dawkins puts forward is that we don't fully understand consciousness in nonhuman animals OR humans. However, apparently humans are not to be treated as things while a whole different set of rules apply to nonhuman animals - completely inexplicably if we accept the central thesis that we can't really know whether other humans are actually conscious or not. Although she argues that 'giving animals the benefit of the doubt' isn't a logical or scientifically sound thing to do (p. 112), this is exactly the move she makes in regards to humans. A major logical flaw in her central thesis.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Edward Sullivan

    An argument for the need to rethink animal welfare advocacy with less emphasis on anthropomorphizing and more on science.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Molly

  10. 4 out of 5

    Emre Varlık

  11. 5 out of 5

    Whitney Zehm

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jos

  13. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Anderson

  14. 5 out of 5

    Miranda

  15. 5 out of 5

    Night-Mere

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kris Worsley

  17. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

  18. 4 out of 5

    Paul

  19. 4 out of 5

    Devrim Peköz

  20. 5 out of 5

    Zoe

  21. 5 out of 5

    Abby

  22. 4 out of 5

    Paul

  23. 4 out of 5

    Anne-marie

  24. 5 out of 5

    Büşra

  25. 4 out of 5

    Maria

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sherrie Webb

  27. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Whittle

  28. 4 out of 5

    Scott

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sara Garstecka

  30. 5 out of 5

    Theroadtosedition

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