Jeff SeboApr 18, 2022
Saving Animals, Saving Ourselves
Why Animals Matter for Pandemics, Climate Change, and Other Catastrophes
Oxford University Press 2022
In 2020, COVID-19, the Australia bushfires, and other global threats served as vivid reminders that human and nonhuman fates are increasingly linked. Human use of nonhuman animals contributes to pandemics, climate change, and other global threats which, in turn, contribute to biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse, and nonhuman suffering. Jeff Sebo argues that humans have a moral responsibility to include animals in global health and environmental policy. In particular, we should reduce our use of animals as part of our pandemic and climate change mitigation efforts and increase our support for animals as part of our adaptation efforts. Applying and extending frameworks such as One Health and the Green New Deal, Sebo calls for reducing support for factory farming, deforestation, and the wildlife trade; increasing support for humane, healthful, and sustainable alternatives; and considering human and nonhuman needs holistically. Sebo also considers connections with practical issues such as education, employment, social services, and infrastructure, as well as with theoretical issues such as well-being, moral status, political status, and population ethics. In all cases, he shows that these issues are both important and complex, and that we should neither underestimate our responsibilities because of our limitations, nor underestimate our limitations because of our responsibilities.
Both an urgent call to action and a survey of what ethical and effective action requires, Saving Animals, Saving Ourselves: Why Animals Matter for Pandemics, Climate Change, and Other Catastrophes (Oxford UP, 2022) is an invaluable resource for scholars, advocates, policy-makers, and anyone interested in what kind of world we should attempt to build and how.
Jeff Sebo is currently Clinical Associate Professor of Environmental Studies, Affiliated Professor of Bioethics, Medical Ethics, Philosophy, and Law, and Director of the Animal Studies M.A. Program at New York University. He is also on the executive committee at the NYU Center for Environmental and Animal Protection and the advisory board for the Animals in Context series at NYU Press.
Austin Clyde is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Chicago Department of Computer Science. He researches artificial intelligence and high-performance computing for developing new scientific methods. He is also a visiting research fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School's Science, Technology, and Society program, where my research addresses the intersection of artificial intelligence, human rights, and democracy.