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For the Memory
of Bears

(1986 - 2003)

Dearly loved.
Painfully missed.

  • "In contrast to ourselves, animal behaviour is mechanical, driven by the dictates of nature and immune to the processes of reflective cognition that we take for granted. It is a black, silent existence that is not conscious of its own processes or, at the very most, a dark murky experience that does not compare with our own."
  Stuart Derbyshire in Animal Experimentation: good or bad?. Gilland T et al, 2002. Hodder & Stoughton. page 47.

  • "If we believe absurdities, we shall commit atrocities."
  Attributed to Voltaire (1694 - 1778). Perhaps paraphrased from a speech in 1767.


This encyclopedia is an exploration of animal ethics, the philosophical and practical human responsibility to the "black, silent existence" and "dark murky experience" that some people claim is animal life. Do we "commit atrocities" in our everyday lives based on our absurd beliefs? Unfortunately we do.

We can say the slave trade was immoral, now that it is largely extinguished. But few people (except slaves) thought it was immoral at the time, partly because economies depended on it and relatively few people came into direct contact with slaves. One day we might say the same about our present exploitation of animals. Until then, like the slave trade, few people think it is immoral, economies depend on it and relatively few people encounter its harsh actuality.

This Encyclopedia takes in a broad sweep of animal ethics and I attempt to get at core ideas and put them across to read and assimilated quickly and easily. I have written it with the following in mind, that key to achieving change for the better is for each one of us to understand that we are living in an animal holocaust and that we must each think up how we can each bring about change for the better and then act on it.

However, do not expect quick and unequivocal ethical answers to problematic questions. As Mark Bekoff (1998) says:
"For many questions about how animals should be treated by humans there are no 'right' or 'wrong' answers. However, there are better and worse answers."
This means that there are at least some answers that seem definite. Should we set fire to a kitten or little child and watch them burn for our pleasure? But such apparently indisputable answers are rare.

Finally, our attitudes are shaped by the thoughts of the Thinkers, generations of intellects who have thought deeply about ethics. I am indebted to them all. Without these brain pushers you would be reading garbage here.


Polite feedback and constructive criticism are welcome:

Email: ben (at) animalethics (dot) org (dot) uk

Please type Animals in the subject field or your email may be missed in the spam deluge.

Ben Panaman

~ Brute Ethics Motto ~
The greatest threat to people is ignorance.
The greatest threat to animals is ignorant people.

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