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Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF)

Dr. Bernard E. Rollin - Saturday Keynote, The Animal Law Conference at Lewis & Clark

July 12, 2011

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Dr. Bernard E. Rollin (B.A. CCNY, Ph.D. Columbia) is University Distinguished Professor, Professor of Philosophy, Professor of Biomedical Sciences, Professor of Animal Sciences, and University Bioethicist at Colorado State University.

Rollin taught the first course ever done in the world in veterinary medical ethics, which has been a required part of the veterinary curriculum at CSU since 1978, and was a pioneer in reforming animal use in surgery teaching and laboratory exercises in veterinary colleges.  He is a principal architect of 1985 federal legislation dealing with the welfare of experimental animals, and has testified before Congress on animal experimentation.  He has consulted for various agencies of the governments of the U.S., Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and South Africa on many aspects of animal research, for the Office of Technology Assessment of the U.S. Congress on genetic engineering of animals, for NIH on animal pain, and for the World Health Organization on using antimicrobials in food animals. He has consulted for the USDA/CSRS on farm animal welfare research, for APHIS on future planning, and for numerous multinational corporations on a variety of animal issues. These companies include United Airlines, McDonald’s, PETCO, DuPont, Chipotle, and the US Soybean Association. He served on the Pew National Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production (PCIFAP) and on the Institute for Laboratory Animal Resources (ILAR) Council of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2008, he mediated a historic agreement between the Humane Society of the U.S. and Colorado agriculture resulting in legislation advancing the welfare of farm animals.

Rollin has lectured extensively (over 1500 times) on animal ethics, genetic engineering, animal pain, animal research, animal agriculture, veterinary ethics and other topics in bioethics and philosophy to audiences of medical researchers, attorneys, psychologists, philosophers, veterinarians, animal advocates, ranchers, farmers, government officials, students and lay people in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil, England, Scotland, Italy, Poland, Holland, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, France, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, and South Africa.  He is the author of over 500 papers and  seventeen books, of which the best known is Animal Rights and Human Morality, which won an Outstanding Book of the Year Award from the American Association of University Libraries and is entering its third edition.  His book, The Unheeded Cry: Animal Consciousness, Animal Pain, and Science, was published in 1989 by Oxford University Press, and an expanded version was published by Iowa State University Press in 1998.  He is also the editor of a classic two-volume scientific work, The Experimental Animal in Biomedical Research, dealing with fundamental scientific, ethical and legal issues in animal research and published by CRC Press.  His book on Farm Animal Welfare was published by Iowa State in 1995.  His book on genetic engineering of animals was published by Cambridge University Press in 1995 and is entitled The Frankenstein Syndrome: Ethical and Social Issues in the Genetic Engineering of Animals.  Rollin’s most recent books include Veterinary Ethics: Theory and Cases (second edition, Blackwell, 2006), Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine Considered (2003, with David Ramey), and The Well-Being of Farm Animals: Challenges and Solutions (2004, with John Benson), the last two from Blackwell. His latest books are Science and Ethics (2006), published by Cambridge University Press and Harley Davidson and Philosophy (Open Court, 2006). Forthcoming books include a book on equine welfare, farm animal issues, and an intellectual autobiography, Putting the Horse Before Descartes.

Since 1990, he has written a popular monthly column on veterinary ethics for the Canadian Veterinary Journal.  He currently edits an ethics column for the Veterinary Forum. His papers have appeared in a wide variety of journals, ranging from The Journal of the History of Ideas, Kant-Studien, Poetics, the Journal of Animal Science, The American Psychologist, to The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Progressive Farmer, Equus, The Christian Century, and Foodborne Pathogens and Disease.

Rollin has worked with animal scientists and ranchers on alternatives to castration and branding and other issues, and helped galvanize the agricultural community in Colorado to pass the nation’s strongest “downer” bill.  Since 1981, he has taught a course for animal science students on ethical issues in animal agriculture, the world’s first such course.  He has been a leader in industry self-regulation of livestock showing.

Rollin has addressed over 20,000 ranchers and farmers on animal rights and animal agriculture in forums ranging from the Houston Livestock show to local extension meetings, and enjoys excellent relations with this population. In 2003, he was keynote speaker at the joint annual meeting of the Animal Science Association/American Dairy Science Association.  He is noted for garnering acquiescence to the notion that animals have rights from ranchers and even from rodeo people, and has been written up in this regard in Colorado Farmer and Rancher, Beef Today, Western Livestock Journal and many other agricultural publications.  In 1994, he was instrumental in galvanizing western ranchers’ opposition to the USDA policy of face-branding Mexican cattle, which in turn resulted in USDA rescinding that policy.  He is designated as state animal welfare extension specialist by CSU dairy extension. He was elected to the National Western Stock Show Association and founded their animal welfare committee. He is also founder of the Guide Dogs for the Blind animal care and use committee, and is a member of ACUC for the Centers for Disease Control (Fort Collins).In 2008, he was instrumental in brokering an agreement between Colorado agriculture and the Humane Society of the US to create farm animal welfare legislation and avoid a costly referendum. He also convinced the world’s laregest pork producer, Smithfield, to phase out sow stalls. Rollin  serves on the boards of numerous animal welfare organizations.

Rollin was named to the Distinguished Faculty Gallery by the College of Veterinary Medicine at CSU in 1992.  He has twice been awarded the Brownlee Award for outstanding achievement in Animal Welfare Science by the Animal Welfare Foundation of Canada, and the Distinguished Service Award from the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association. He was named University Distinguished Professor, Colorado State University’s highest honor, and was recognized as Eddy Professor, for excellence in teaching, both in 2001. In 2005 and 2008, he and his business partners were awarded the Technology Transfer Award from the Colorado State University Research Foundation for the retinal identification company they founded, Optibrand. In 2005, he was awarded the Henry Spira Award in Animal Welfare by Johns Hopkins University Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing. In 2006, he was awarded the Distinguished Faculty Award by the Colorado State University Alumni Association and the Shomer Award by the Society for Veterinary Medical Ethics. In 2007, he received the Humane Award from the American Veterinary Medical Association. In 2008, he won the Colorado Agricultural Industry Partner award from Colorado agriculture.

Rollin is a competition-level weight lifter and a Harley rider.