Of mice and men: Ethical issues in animal exploitation

Publication Type:

Book Chapters


Anindya Sinha


Self, Society and Science: Theoretical and Historical Perspectives, Centre for Studies in Civilizations, Volume 11, Number 2, New Delhi (2005)




???...violent muscular spasms, occasionally sufficient to throw the animal bodily across cage occurred, and gradually passed into a state of general weakness ending in death.??? Some animals ???bit themselves severely, two chewing off the end of a finger, and one, the whole skin of the forearm, exposing the muscles from the elbow to the wrist.??? From a scientific paper investigating the effect of certain substances injected into the brain of monkeys; The Lancet, 19 September, 1931 Human beings have long wondered about the basis of their superiority over animals, as has been most commonly believed, and a few serious thinkers have, over centuries, questioned our conscience about such assumptions. Characteristics that have been suggested as distinguishing humans from animals and that justify the unique legal and moral status of human beings have ranged from the fanciful to the serious: dancing, laughter, cooking, manners, religion, a convoluted gut (presumably to ensure sublime contemplation during the leisurely process of digestion!), hairs that gray, ears that wiggle, cerebral laterality, an immortal soul, politics, an upright posture, a protruding nose, and the use of tools, reason and language.