Darwinian Dominion: Animal Welfare and Human Interests
Lewis Petrinovich, Cambridge, Mass, London, England, MIT Press, 1999, ix + 431 pages, £31.50 (hc).
- University of Edinburgh
This book by a distinguished American psychologist is the “third in a trilogy that applies evolutionary principles to understand the nature of human morality” (page vii). This reviewer has not read the previous two volumes, and his grasp of the content of this one may suffer as a result.
The present volume contains two parts. Part One provides a background to the main discussion, with chapters on human evolution, the affinities and contrasts between human and non-human primate societies, human and non-human cognition etc. Part two discusses the moral status of animals on this basis, with special reference to the morality of animal experimentation, though agriculture, zoos etc are also discussed. The general conclusion is that, while we certainly have duties to animals we rightly privilege human interests in ways which animal right-ists and liberationists say that we should not, chief examples being Peter Singer and Tom Regan. …