Barbara Noske is an anthropologist and philosopher from the Netherlands, author of a book entitled, Humans and Other Animals, and a visiting scholar in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University. On January 18 she delivered a lecture in the University College series in peace studies under the sponsorship of Science for Peace and the Alumni Association of University College.
Her lecture was entitled “Humans, Humanism and Animals”. Her argument was that humanism, as the term is usually understood today, while laudable in many respects, emphasizes the rights and interests of people to the extent that it often undervalues the rights and interests of members of other species. It tends to see a sharp discontinuity between Homo sapiens and the rest of the animal kingdom, which she believes is wrong.
She discussed this question as one of general concern to the human race, which it is. It is of particular concern however to many scientists, especially those in the biological and medical sciences, who must decide whether possible benefit to humanity justifies the use of animals in experiments that may cause them pain and fear and probably lead to their death.
A transcript of her talk is available through the Science for Peace office.