The Unheeded Cry: Animal Consciousness, Animal Pain, and Science, Expanded Edition
Bernard E. Rollin
Forward by Jane Goodall

Review by Kathy Lyon Star
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The Unheeded Cry

This book is a literature review on animal use, behavior, and consciousness, including pain, emotions, logic, and intelligence.

The author is clearly disillusioned with the scientific opinion of pain and emotion (feelings) in animals and makes some excellent points. His knowledge of the subject is astounding and his list of references is impressive. There are many instances where he explains that the "scientific" interpretation of animal behavior discounts any emotions and feelings (e.g., fear or pain) and reduces it to the lowest order. He quotes Lloyd Morgan: "One should not invoke a higher faculty to explain a piece of behavior if a lower faculty will do," to make his point.

The author has done a thorough job of researching his topic and quotes liberally from scientific dogma regarding animal pain and feelings, and then disproves the theories one by one. For example, one point he makes is that science (until recently) totally discounted actual feelings of pain or fear in animals by referring to pain as "avoidance" or to fear as "withdrawal behavior," and then turned around and used animal models to study pain control in humans.

I personally hate to read some of the material published by "behaviorists" as it seems that some have not lived with an intelligent animal. The only other explanation is that they continue to perpetuate "avoidance" of the idea of animal emotion and intelligence so as not to be criticized by their peers in the scientific/research community.

The book is not an easy read, and I admit to occasional skimming, but there are gems worth noting scattered in the text, so one does need to pay attention.

I am sure that the author hits a familiar note when he says: "More plausibly perhaps, a key part of the answer lies in the remark made to me by one of my veterinary students at the end of an ethics course in which I put great stress on moral questions pertaining to animals. 'If I take your teaching seriously', she said, 'no part of my life is untouched, and all parts are severely shaken. For if I ascribe moral status to animals, I must worry about the food I eat, the clothes I wear, the cosmetics I use, the drugs I take, the pets I keep, the horses I ride, the dogs I castrate and euthanize, and the research I do. The price of morality is too high—I would rather ignore the issue.'"

Although there is more attention given now to animal pain than ever before, much of this book deals with that subject. For example, he criticizes the fact that animal anesthesia was developed not for pain management, but for chemical restraint. Having dealt personally with that attitude in research science as an animal use reviewer for Harbor General Hospital in Los Angeles (some years ago), I found much to applaud in this attitude.

I started out prepared not to like the book. I have problems with PETA-esque behavior, and while I understand the need for animal research in order to improve human life I can begin to understand how people can, with only one point-of-view and limited education, become fanatic in their attempts to "save" animals. I am not comparing this writer to anyone associated with PETA.

Certainly there is much food for thought. This book may not be everyone's choice, but it is mostly interesting (sometimes boring) reading. His points, when he makes them, are right on. His facts and research are well prepared.

Do you want to buy the book? Maybe, maybe not. It will depend, I think, on how long ago you graduated. I suspect that a more recent grad, or a person open to change, is more likely to enjoy this book.

The book is published by Blackwell Publishing (1998).

330 pages, no illustrations.

ISBN: 081382575X.

Reviewed 2/21/2001.


Table of Contents
Book Reviews
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Introduction
Alternative Medicine
Anatomy
Anesthesia/Analgesia
Animal Welfare
Aquatic/Fish
Avian
Behavior
Camelids
Canine
Cardiology
Client Education
Cytology / Hematology / Histology
Dental
Dermatology
Dictionary/Reference
Drugs/Pharmacology
Emergency Med
Endocrine
Epidemiology
Equine
Ethics
 
Complementary Alternative Med.
 
Veterinary and Animal Ethics: Proceedings of the First International Conference on Veterinary and Animal Ethics, September, 2011
 
* Intro. Vet. Ethics
 
You are here* Unheeded Cry Expanded Ed.
Exotics
Feline
Food Animals/Livestock
General
Genetics
Geriatrics
Handling & Restraint
Human-Animal Bond
Imaging & Radiology
Immunology
Infectious Diseases
Internal Medicine
Laboratory Medicine
Microbiology
Multimedia
Neurology
Nutrition
Oncology
Ophthalmology
Orthopedics
Parasitology
Pathology
Pediatrics
Physiology
Physiotherapy
Practice Management
Primates
Rabbits, Rodents & Ferrets
Reproduction
Reptile/Amphibian
Research
Respiratory
Ruminants
Sheep/Goats
Shelter Medicine
Surgery
Swine
Technicians
Toxicology
Urology/Renal
Veterinary Education
Wildlife-Zoo Animals
Zoonoses

Date Published: February 21, 2001

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