Last updated on: 12/16/2013 | Author:

Peter Singer, MA Biography

Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University
Con to the question "Should Animals Be Used for Scientific or Commercial Testing?"

“The practice of experimenting on nonhuman animals as it exists today throughout the world reveals the consequences of speciesism. Many experiments inflict severe pain without the remotest prospect of significant benefits for human beings or any other animals. Such experiments are not isolated incidences, but part of a major industry…

We tolerate cruelties inflicted on members of other species that would outrage us if performed on members of our own species. Speciesism allows researchers to regard the animals they experiment on as items of equipment, laboratory tools rather than living, suffering creatures. In fact, on grant applications to government funding agencies, animals are listed as ‘supplies’ alongside test tubes and recording instruments…

The exploitation of laboratory animals is part of the larger problem of speciesism and it is unlikely to be eliminated altogether until speciesism itself is eliminated. Surely one day, though, our children’s children, reading about what was done in laboratories in the 20th Century, will feel the same sense of horror and incredulity at what otherwise civilized people could do that we now feel when we read about the atrocities of the Roman gladiatorial arenas or the eighteenth-century slave trade.”

Animal Liberation, 2009

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics, University Center for Human Values, Princeton University, 1999-2004, part-time, 2005-present
  • Laureate Professor (part-time), School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne, 2013-present
  • Member, Oxfam America Leadership Council, 2003-present
  • Editorial Board, Reason in Practice, 2001-present
  • Vice-President, Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 2001-present
  • Member, American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division, Advisory Committee to the Program Committee, 2000-present
  • President, Animal Rights International, 1999-present
  • Founder, The Life You Can Save
  • Co-Director, Institute for Ethics and Public Policy, Monash University, 1992-1995
  • Director, Centre for Human Bioethics, Monash University, part-time, 1983-1987, full-time, 1987-1991; Deputy Director, 1992-1997
  • Associate Dean, Faculty of Arts, Monash University, 1982 (including six weeks as Acting Dean)
  • Chair, Department of Philosophy, Monash University, 1977-1978, 1980-1981
  • Professor, Department of Philosophy, Monash University, 1977-1999
  • Senior Lecturer, Department of Philosophy, La Trobe University, 1975-1976
  • Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, New York University, 1973-1974
  • Education:
  • BPhil, University of Oxford, 1971
  • MA, University of Melbourne, 1969
  • BA, with honors, University of Melbourne, 1967
  • Other:
  • Member, Editorial Board, Philosophy and Geography, 2000-Present
  • Appointed as a Companion of the Order of Australia, June 2012
  • Included in the list of the twenty-five most influential Australians of the last half-century published by the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age, November 29, 2009
  • 50th Anniversary Research Award, Monash University, 2008
  • Recipient, Scott Nearing Award for Courageous Scholarship, Political Science Graduate Student Organization, University of Pennsylvania, 2006
  • Included in “The Time 100,” TIME Magazine’s list of the world’s most influential people, Apr. 18, 2005
  • Australian Humanist of the Year, Australian Humanist Association, 2004
  • Humanist Laureate, International Academy of Humanism, elected 2004
  • Recipient, Emperor Has No Clothes Award, Freedom from Religion Foundation, 2004
  • Recipient, World Technology Network Ethics Award, 2003
  • Shasha Seminar Keynote Lecturer, Wesleyan University, Nov. 2003
  • Lewis B. Frumkes Lecture, New York University, Nov. 2003
  • Amnesty Lecture, Oxford University, Feb. 2001
  • Sprague-Taylor Philosophy Lecture, Brooklyn College, 2001
  • Wesson Lecturer, Stanford University, May 2000
  • Quoted in:
    Pro & Con Quotes: Should Animals Be Used for Scientific or Commercial Testing?