December 17, 2009–Dr. Susan Kopp, a veterinarian and professor in LaGuardia Community College’s veterinary technology program, has been invited by Yale University’s Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics as a visiting scholar during the 2010 spring semester. Dr. Kopp, the first veterinarian and the first community college professor to be invited by the Center as a visiting scholar, will focus on veterinary perspectives in the areas of animal welfare and animal ethics.
A past recipient of a New York State Humane Association Award for Exemplary Veterinary Service, she has taught veterinary technology at LaGuardia since 2000 and was director for the Veterinary Technology Program, the only one of its kind in New York City, from 2002 to 2007. The program offers an associate degree in veterinary technology, with graduates going on to work in some of the foremost animal care facilities in the country.
“As animal welfare, ecology and environmental ethics become of ever greater global importance, there is an urgent need for deeper interdisciplinary collaboration regarding the place of animals in the world and humankind’s responsibility toward them,” said Dr. Kopp. “Through this project, I hope to make a contribution to a scholarly discussion that has, at times, lacked a veterinary perspective.”
She explained that while veterinarians have made significant contributions in the diagnosis, care and treatment of pain and disease of animals they also are being asked to give their input in the ethical arena as well. “I believe that veterinary writing and study in the area of animal ethics can have a profoundly positive impact on societal views and the treatment of non-human animals, as well as on the environmental dangers threatening their survival and that of our planet.”
“Dr. Kopp brings to Yale University’s Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics a kind of expertise in the study of ethics and non-human animals that we sorely need at our center,” said Dr. David H. Smith, the Center’s director. “In return, the center will offer Dr. Kopp interaction with our staff and scholars, use of our resources at the center, as well as the Yale University libraries.”
During her six month sabbatical, the visiting scholar will explore current ethical issues in veterinary understandings regarding animal pain and distress.
Dr. Kopp anticipates preparing several articles related to animal ethics for scholars in the fields of animal welfare, social sciences, philosophy and religious studies.
“Fellow veterinarians and faculty in bioethics, legal ethics, philosophy and theology from diverse academic institutions strongly encouraged this project and the potential importance of a veterinary contribution to the discussion of animal ethics,” said Dr. Kopp. “There is need for common ground and I feel incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to spend a period of time at Yale’s Center. I am grateful both to the LaGuardia administration and to Yale for such an opportunity for study and research.”
As a LaGuardia faculty and member of the Interdisciplinary Center, Dr. Kopp participates in monthly study groups at Yale around topics relating to animal ethics.
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About Yale’s Interdisciplinary Bioethics Center:
The Yale Interdisciplinary Bioethics Center’s primary focus has been biomedical ethics, but it is increasingly putting time and resources into issues related to ecology, environmental ethics, and care for nonhuman animals. The website is http://www.yale.edu/bioethics/ .
About LaGuardia Community College:
Located in Long Island City, Queens in New York City, LaGuardia Community College, part of the City University of New York, is a nationally recognized leader among community colleges. Founded in 1971, the College has been recognized as an innovator in educating students who are under prepared for college work and/or are not primary English speakers. A catalyst for development in western Queens and beyond, LaGuardia serves New Yorkers and immigrants from 160 countries through 50 majors and certificate programs, enabling career advancement and transfer to four-year colleges at twice the national average. Visit www.laguardia.edu to learn more.