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Archive for the ‘ethics’ Category

AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals: 2013 Edition

September 16, 2014 Comments off

AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals: 2013 Edition
Source: American Veterinary Medical Association

Animal issues are no longer socially invisible. During the past half-century, efforts to ensure the respectful and humane treatment of animals have garnered global attention. Concern for the welfare of animals is reflected in the growth of animal welfare science and ethics. The former is evident in the emergence of academic programs, scientific journals, and funding streams committed either partially or exclusively to the study of how animals are impacted by various environments and human interventions. The latter has seen the application of numerous ethical approaches (eg, rights-based theories, utilitarianism, virtue ethics, contractarianism, pragmatic ethics) to assessing the moral value of animals and the nature of the human-animal relationship. The proliferation of interest in animal use and care, at the national and international levels, is also apparent in recent protections accorded to animals in new and amended laws and regulations, institutional and corporate policies, and purchasing and trade agreements. Changing societal attitudes toward animal care and use have inspired scrutiny of some traditional and contemporary practices applied in the management of animals used for agriculture, research and teaching, companionship, and recreation or entertainment and of animals encountered in the wild. Attention has also been focused on conservation and the impact of human interventions on terrestrial and aquatic wildlife and the environment. Within these contexts, stakeholders look to veterinarians to provide leadership on how to care well for animals, including how to relieve unnecessary pain and suffering.

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Health and technology in life sciences

September 16, 2014 Comments off

Health and technology in life sciences
Source: European Parliamentary Research Service

We are seeing developments in biotechnology that seem futuristic, such as computing systems at clinical testing stages used as ‘sensitive interaction partners’ for the elderly that help to provide care in response to individual needs. Such developments raise a range of questions. To what extent should humans use technology to enhance life? And how can these technologies be governed to uphold social, ethical and legal standards?

Can Body Worn Cameras Serve as a Deterrent to Police Misconduct?, CRS Insights (August 28, 2014)

September 15, 2014 Comments off

Can Body Worn Cameras Serve as a Deterrent to Police Misconduct?, CRS Insights (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Conflicting accounts about what transpired before Michael Brown was shot by Ferguson (MO) Police Officer Darren Wilson on August 9 have raised questions about police accountability and transparency. Requiring law enforcement officers to use body worn cameras (BWCs) has emerged as one idea to deter officer misconduct and reduce the inappropriate use of force, among other things. BWCs are mobile cameras that allow law enforcement officers to record what they see and hear. They can be attached to a helmet, a pair of glasses, or an officer’s shirt or badge.

Art and Judaica Looted by Nazis from Jews Still Largely Unidentified; Review of 50 Countries Shows Little Progress Despite International Pacts

September 12, 2014 Comments off

Art and Judaica Looted by Nazis from Jews Still Largely Unidentified; Review of 50 Countries Shows Little Progress Despite International Pacts
Source: Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference)

Claims Conference President Julius Berman announced that a new report shows that 15 years after the first international agreement regarding restitution of Nazi-era looted art, most countries have made little progress toward returning stolen cultural items to their rightful owners. A survey of 50 countries by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) and the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) shows that two-thirds of the nations that have endorsed agreements regarding research, publicity and claims for Nazi-era looted art have done little or nothing to implement those pacts.

The Claims Conference/WJRO reviewed activity over the past 15 years regarding the identification of artworks, Judaica, and other cultural property plundered from Jews by the Nazis and their allies.While there have been some positive developments since the 2009 Prague Holocaust Era Assets Conference, only one-third of the participating nations have made major or substantial progress towards implementing the Washington Conference Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art (endorsed by 44 countries in 1998) and the Terezin Declaration (endorsed by 47 countries in 2009). All of the countries are signatories to the Code of Ethics for Museums of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), which calls upon museums to establish the full provenance of items in their collections, but only a minority of museums has actually implemented this Code.

Transparency — Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) on Lack of Access Concerns from Inspectors General

August 13, 2014 Comments off

Grassley on Lack of Access Concerns from Inspectors General
Source: Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

Sen. Chuck Grassley, Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee, is a long-time advocate for independent agency inspectors general. Grassley has been concerned by problems inspectors generals have had accessing necessary information from their agencies. For example, the Peace Corps inspector general was stonewalled simply trying to get access to records to ensure the agency was acting in accordance with the law in addressing sexual abuse cases. Grassley sent three letters to the agency explaining the law and ultimately held up the nomination of the director before a temporary solution was found. The Justice Department inspector general in 2009 suddenly ran into problems getting access to material previously received from the FBI. Grassley pressed the FBI Director for answers to this abrupt change in position during an oversight hearing on May 21, 2014. The Justice Department responded to an April 2 letter on June 24 to try to justify its position. The dispute continues.

Grassley was copied on a letter today to congressional committees of jurisdiction from 47 inspectors general expressing concern about agency refusal to provide access to critical agency records. The inspectors general cite the Department of Justice, the Chemical Safety Board and the Peace Corps as examples.

CRS — The Receipt of Gifts by Federal Employees in the Executive Branch

August 6, 2014 Comments off

The Receipt of Gifts by Federal Employees in the Executive Branch (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

This report provides information on the federal statutes, regulations, and guidelines concerning the restrictions on the acceptance of gifts and things of value by officers or employees in the executive branch of the United States Government.

CRS — Afghanistan: Politics, Elections, and Government Performance (updated)

August 6, 2014 Comments off

Afghanistan: Politics, Elections, and Government Performance (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. State Department Foreign Press Center)

The capacity, transparency, legitimacy, and cohesiveness of Afghan governance are crucial to Afghan stability as U.S.-led NATO forces exit Afghanistan by 2016. The size and capability of the Afghan governing structure has increased significantly since the Taliban regime fell in late 2001, but the government remains weak and rife with corruption. Hamid Karzai has served as president since late 2001; he is constitutionally term-limited and will leave office after the conclusion of presidential and provincial elections. The first round of took place on April 5, 2014, and the results required a June 14 runoff between Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani.

The runoff increased ethnic tensions between Pashtuns, Afghanistan’s largest group represented by Ghani, and the second largest group the Tajiks, with whom Abdullah is identified. Amid accusations by Abdullah of a fraud-inspired large increase in turnout between the two rounds, preliminary results released July 7 showed Ghani ahead 56% to 44%. With Abdullah’s supporters urging him to declare himself the winner and form a government, Secretary of State Kerry visited Afghanistan to broker a July 12 resolution of the dispute. Under the agreement, all 23,000 ballot boxes would be recounted under international supervision, and the winner of the election would agree to appoint the loser as a “chief executive” of government, pending a more permanent constitutional alteration to a prime ministerial system. The recount has proceeded more slowly than expected due to distrust between the two camps and there are differing expectations for the post-election power-sharing agreement. The vote count might not be completed and a new president sworn in until well into September 2014.

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