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Animal-Ethics Isues Featured in Weeks News

Animals-Ethics Issues Featured in Week’s News

May 2nd, 2011 • Posted in: News

Virtual dog-fighting game remains for sale despite plea from police union; experts differ on whether studies of captive dolphins are productive and necessary; academic ethics journal says the word “pet” is derogatory



News about animals and morality earned several headlines last week. Among the stories:

  • A virtual dog-fighting game was pulled from sale but later reinstated on the popular Android Marketplace application sales site, reports the Los Angeles Times. The head of the Los Angeles police union had urged Google, which oversees the site, to take down the app, saying it simulates a “repulsive and sickening” practice that in real life would be a felony in every U.S. state. Google did not immediately respond to questions about whether the game would remain available for download and said it was taken down temporarily because of a trademark issue , reports the Times. The app’s maker insisted it was meant to educate the public on the evils of animal cruelty.
  • There’s growing controversy about whether it’s ethical to study dolphins that are kept in captivity. Science Magazine, which hosted and archived an online chat featuring opposing experts, reports that some researchers maintain that studying the minds of dolphins can lend insight into both medical and behavioral issues of humans. Opponents, such as Emory University biopsychologist Lori Marino says preventing animal suffering should take a higher priority than “esoteric” research questions.
  • A new academic journal says it is wrong to call your dog or cat a “pet,” reports the Week. The Journal of Animal Ethics, a publication of the Oxford Center for Animal Ethics and the University of Illinois, says “pet” is a derogatory word that encourages poor treatment of animals. The proper word, says the journal, is “companion animal.”


In an interesting category of ethics comes video games with titles such as Grand Theft Auto and Mob Wars. This time it involves dog fighting using the latest video game technology. This type of game clearly violates ethical laws in the United States and it is a wonder the game is still for sale on platforms such as the latest Android Smartphones. Something that so blatantly violates so many moral and ethical ground should clearly not be allowed to be sold or distributed and is currently under review. It is also alarming that a new academic journal states it is wrong to call your cat or dog a pet. 

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