November 12, 2015, by Emma Thorne

Companion animal ownership: new book explores the ethics

We’re a nation of animal lovers and it’s estimated that around around 12m households in the UK are also home to a family pet. They offer us constant companionship and, evidence suggests, even health benefits such as lower blood pressure and stress levels. But when it comes to the animals we own, do we always have their best interests at heart?

A new book by an academic in The University of Nottingham’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Science is the first book to comprehensively cover the complex ethical issues of living with companion animals such as cats and dogs.

The book by Dr Sandra Corr, and co-authored by Peter Sandøe and Clare Palmer, focuses on the uncertainties about our animals’ best interests, moral dilemmas in weighing different human and animal wellbeing concerns and ethical disagreements concerning the moral significance and appropriate treatment of our pets.

Dr Corr said: “Many people wonder about ethical questions concerning their lives with their dog and cat companions. This book offers a guide to understanding the relationship between people and their animal companions, exploring ethical questions including feeding, breeding, training, veterinary treatment and euthanasia from a variety of different perspectives.”

Unlike other books on animal ethics, the new publication does not advocate a particular ethical position, other than the widely accepted idea that the lives and experiences of sentient animals should count for something in our ethical decision-making.

The book looks at a wide variety of approaches to human and animal welfare, animal ethics and in particular ethical problems surrounding pets.

It is the first book to provide detailed analyses of specific issues, including the veterinary care of sick pets, unwanted and unowned companion animals and the broader impacts of pets on society and the environment.

The book draws on a wide range of supporting scientific material, particularly from psychology and the veterinary, behavioural and social sciences. Companion Animal Ethics, is published by Wiley and is available through Amazon.

Posted in Health & medicineSchool of Veterinary Medicine and ScienceSocial Sciences