State University of New York Institute of Technology
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Blog 5

Animals-Ethics Issues Featured in Week’s 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.”

I think that a game should not be taken away from people, because it is jsut a game. Yes, it can put thoughts into people's heads and may lead them to do something similiar but most people are not going to start dog fighting because they played a game about it.  Just like people aren't going to start killing people because they saw it on a game.  I don't know why we need to test dolphins for human behavioral issues. It does not make sense to cause an animal pain that is not a human to find out about humans. Why not determine a way to analyze humans and figures out their behavior that way.  I feel that people should be allowed to call the animals that they own whatever they feel like calling them.  They are companions to people, but they are also a pet. You own the animal and besically tell it what you can and can't do. 

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