Article ID: CBB000411129

The Other Side of Silence: Rachel Carson's Views of Animals (2004)


The publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, a compelling blend of stories, natural history, human values, and biological facts, in 1962 was instrumental in launching the modern environmental movement. We consider Carson's attitude toward animals in Silent Spring and in her other writings. Carson favored responsible stewardship and was more of an animal welfarist and environmentalist/conservation biologist who privileged ecosystems and species than an animal activist who privileged individuals, and she did not advocate an animal-rights agenda. There is clear tension in Carson's writings. Often she seems troubled by attempting to come across as a moderate and practical scientist, and some of her words, when considered out of context, could lead one to label her as an animal-rightist. While some of Carson's writing favors human-centered interests, she did not believe that only humans counted. Her warnings about silent springs must be taken seriously, perhaps even more seriously than when they were penned more than four decades ago. Carson was a passionate and extremely influential activist and if a world of persons like her were in charge of our global environmental policies, we and our fellow animals would be in much better shape than we currently are.

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Authors & Contributors
Janet M. Davis
Alexandra Palmer
Greenhough, Beth
Samiparna Samanta
Holmes, Tarquin
Message, Reuben
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Endeavour: Review of the Progress of Science
Science in Context
Science as Culture
Revue des Questions Scientifiques
História, Ciências, Saúde---Manguinhos
Oxford University Press
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of Chicago Press
Peter Lang
Animal rights
Human-animal relationships
Science and ethics
Animal experimentation
Environmental ethics
Richard Holt Hutton
Voronoff, Serge Avramovitch
Huxley, Thomas Henry
Carson, Rachel Louise
Time Periods
20th century, late
21st century
19th century
20th century, early
Early modern
United States
Great Britain
United Kingdom
Royal Commission on Vivisection (1875)

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