Animal Ethics

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Chairperson:   Lisa Moses, VMD, DACVIM, Fellow in Bioethics, Center for Bioethics, Harvard Medical School; Veterinarian in Pain and Palliative Care Medicine, MSPCA-Angell Animal Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts.

The Animal Ethics study group at the Yale Bioethics Center was formed in response to both the moral imperative to delve deeper into the human treatment of other animals and the theoretical challenge to give nonhuman animals their due in ethics. While many people have passionate opinions about animal ethics issues, they can be diametrically opposed: from seeing nonhuman animals as strictly subservient to human purposes to conceptualizing them as full rights-bearing members of the moral community. Our group is dedicated to addressing the gamut of questions from all points of view, with presenters drawn from a broad interdisciplinary spectrum.  In the words of the study group founder, Joel Marks, “We strive to give animals themselves a figurative place at the table in lieu of their more usual and literal place on the table.”

The study group sponsors two events: an invited research seminar for faculty and allied professionals and a public lecture series around related animal ethics issues.

Public lectures will be held at  at 4:15 PM unless otherwise noted, Location ISPS, 77 Prospect Street, Room A002. All are welcome.

For more information on the study group seminar, please email Lisa Moses,

Below is our list of dates for the academic year 2016-2017:

October 27th, 2016: Harriet Ritvo, PhD, Arthur J. Connor Professor of History at MIT, will discuss her work on the history of human animal relations and natural history. A public lecture, co-sponsored by Yale’s Department of Environmental History will follow in the afternoon.  For Dr. Ritvo’s professional biography, click on the link below:

November 17th, 2016: Elinor Karlsson, PhD, assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Program in Molecular Medicine. Dr. Karlsson will discuss her current research on the evolution of canine genome and ethical dimensions of using dogs as models for human neurological and psychiatric disease. She will also give a public lecture on her research project called “Darwin’s Dogs” that will be co-sponsored by Canine Cognition Center at Yale University.

January 19th, 2017: Dr. Alicia Karas, veterinary anesthesiologist and pain specialist at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University and noted expert on pain management in laboratory animals and alternatives to animal use in research and teaching . Dr. Karas will discuss current practices and recent advances in reduction of use and pain in animals used as experimental subjects or for teaching purposes. For more information on Dr. Karas see:

February 9th, 2017: Emily Anthes, award winning science journalist and author will join the study group to discuss her book Frankenstein’s Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech’s Brave New Beasts. A public lecture (co-sponsored by Yale’s history of science department) will follow in the afternoon.  For more information on Emily Anthes’ biography and work see:

March 30th, 2017: Elizabeth Strand, PhD, LCSW, Founding Director of Veterinary Social Work and the “All Creatures Great and Small” Endowed Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Tennessee Colleges of Social Work and Veterinary Medicine. Strand will discuss her research on unique psychological challenges faced by animal care professionals and the ethical dimensions of professional animal welfare work. Dr. Strand will also be speaking on March 29th at the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Association’s Annual Meeting in Harford, Ct.

Speakers and topics from previous years:


Spring 2008