Rational Beasts by Christopher Killheffer

Rational Beasts

Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy
by Matthew Scully
New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2002
(464 pages; $27.95, hardcover)

reviewed by Christopher Killheffer

It is the rarest thing in the world to hear a rational discussion of vivisection,” wrote C. S. Lewis in a 1944 essay on what today is referred to more obscurely as animal research. Lewis considered the arguments of both opponents and defenders of vivisection to be based entirely on subjective sentiment rather than reason. He found the clouds of sentimentalism not only exasperating but also morally dangerous, for sentiment alone offers no guide to determining the obligations of justice.

The situation has not changed much in a half-century. For decades now, the most prominent figure in the de . . .