Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Hello, Pet! Our love can hurt our animal friends

By Peter Clarke

Bioethicist Peter Sandøe discusses our complicated relationship with animals and the associated moral dilemmas, including how our love for companion animals can actually cause harm and the difference between society’s treatment of pets and production animals.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Hello. I'm Peter Clarke. Welcome to Up Close. We human animals, homo sapiens, have a very mixed relationship with the other animals on this planet. We're fascinated by them. We admire them. We even love them. But, simultaneously, we oppress them, kill them, make them suffer and, perhaps, even deny ourselves the full realisation of their intelligences and their emotions.

With our more intimate companion animals, especially dogs and cats, we give and receive affection, but there are clearly some confronting ethical challenges. It is these challenges we're going to explore with our guest today on Up Close.

Professor Peter Sandoe is Professor of Bioethics at the University of Copenhagen. His original training was as a philosopher, but his more recent research has focussed on ethical issues around animals, biotechnology and food production. These research projects draw upon a range of disciplines.

Professor Sandoe is in Australia to deliver a lecture at the University of Melbourne's Animal Welfare Science Centre. It's titled Love Hurts, The Dark Side of Human Attachment to Companion Animals.

Peter Sandoe, welcome to Up Close.


The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.