Spring 2011, Volume 1, Number 1 / Andrew Linzey / University of Oxford; Priscilla N. Cohen, Pennsylvania State University, eds. University of Illinois Press
While we humans on the whole have yet to acknowledge our moral obligation to other species and to behave accordingly, there is some evidence that the idea of such a moral obligation is gaining a foothold in our collective conscience. With that comes the need for a forum in which to define and discuss animal ethics. The new Journal of Animal Ethics (JAE) bills itself as the “first named journal of animal ethics in the world. It is devoted to the exploration of progressive thought about animals.” (That progressive thought extends even to the more “impartial” language it encourages its authors to use, in order to help “create a nomenclature...that does justice to animals.”) While there are a number of writings on animal ethics posted online, JAE distinguishes itself in its application of the theoretical to real-world scenarios. The inaugural issue addresses, among other topics, Canada's commercial seal hunt, the use of animals in embryonic stem-cell research, and the dissonance in our thinking about and treatment of “pet” versus “meat” animals. On the downside, most (though not all) of the articles have a tendency to lapse into insider jargon that makes them less accessible to the nonprofessional reader—perhaps the more important potential audience.