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Improving lives by solving problems in agriculture and the environment

Are We Pushing Animals to Their Biological Limits?

Are We Pushing Animals to Their Biological Limits?

Welfare and Ethical Implications

Now Published!

Edited by T Grandin, Colorado State University, USA, M Whiting, Lecturer in Veterinary Ethics and Law. Royal Veterinary College, Hertfordshire, UK

July 2018 / Paperback / 224 Pages / 9781786390547 £45.00 / €60.00 / $75.00
With 10% online discount: £40.50 / €54.00 / $67.50
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Main Description

Stimulating and thought-provoking, this important new text looks at the welfare problems and philosophical and ethical issues that are caused by changes made to an animal's telos, behaviour and physiology, both positive and negative, to make them more productive or adapted for human uses.

These changes may involve selective breeding for production, appearance traits, or competitive advantage in sport, transgenic animals or the use of pharmaceuticals or hormones to enhance production or performance. Changes may impose duties to care for these animals further and more intensely, or they may make the animal more robust.

The book considers a wide range of animals, including farm animals, companion animals and laboratory animals. It reviews the ethics and welfare issues of animals that have been adapted for sport, as companions, in work, as ornaments, food sources, guarding and a whole host of other human functions. This important new book sparks debate and is essential reading for all those involved in animal welfare and ethics, including veterinarians, animal scientists, animal welfare scientists and ethologists.


Suitable for veterinarians, veterinary students, animal welfare scientists and students, and animal ethologists.

  • 1: Introduction: Use New Genetic Technologies and Animal Breeding Methods Carefully to Avoid Problems
  • 2: Domestication to Dolly and Beyond: A Brief History of Animal Modification
  • 3: Good for Whom? Differences between Human and Animal Enhancement
  • 4: Working Equids: The Welfare of Those Worked to Their Limit
  • 5: Genetics and Other Technologies for Increasing the Productivity of Cattle, Sheep and Pigs: Welfare Implications
  • 6: Technologies for Increasing the Productivity of Poultry: Welfare Implications
  • 7: Selective Breeding, Cloning and Gene Editing of Dogs and Cats for Appearance and Performance Traits
  • 8: Methods to Increase Fish Production: Welfare and Sustainability Implications
  • 9: Welfare Concerns in Genetically Modified Laboratory Mice and Rats
  • 10: Cloning, Editing and GMOs for Animal Enhancement
  • 11: From Bionic Cat to Superdog: Ethical Challenges of Advanced Prosthetic Technology in Veterinary Medicine
  • 12: Animal Welfare and the Brave New World of Modifying Animals
  • 13: A Duty to the Enhanced, not a Duty to Enhance: Welfare Responsibilities Associated with Domestication
  • 14: Pressing Animals Beyond Their Biological Limits
  • 15: Concluding: Animals Pushed to Their Limits

Have you read this book, or used it for one of your courses? We would love to hear your feedback. Email our reviews team to submit a review.

Grandin is Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University. Dr. Grandin's work includes design of animal handling systems, research on livestock behaviour, and auditing animal welfare. She has visited 26 countries and has served on the OIE animal welfare ad hoc committee for slaughter. Her previous livestock books include Livestock Handling and Transport, Genetics and the Behavior of Domestic Animals and Humane Livestock Handling. Her popular press books on animal behaviour have been both U.S. and international bestsellers. Throughout her career, Dr. Grandin has worked to combine scientific research results with practical application in the field. In the North America half, the cattle are handled in equipment she designed for meat plants. She has received awards for her work on animal welfare from both the livestock industry and animal welfare NGOs. She has swards from The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, The American Meat Institute, American Society for Animal Science and the Humane Society of the U.S.

Whiting is an RCVS and European Veterinary Specialist in Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law. Previously based at the Royal Veterinary College, London, Dr Whiting was the UK's first lecturer in Veterinary Ethics and Law and has published many articles on a range of topics from veterinary informed consent, professional regulation through to animal welfare studies. He has presented his work at national and international conferences and has previously edited other textbooks on veterinary ethics and animal welfare. He previously chaired a conference on Animal Enhancements which had considerable public engagement and inspired the deep study which lead to this book. Dr Whiting's main interest in around the public interest in the veterinary profession and in all the professions which interact with animals both positively and negatively.