Gary L. Francione, Distinguished Professor of Law and Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Scholar of Law and Philosophy at Rutgers School of Law–Newark, presented “Jainism and Vivisection: The Problems of Moral Relativism, the Defense of Self/Others, and Consequential Analysis” at the Claremont International Jain Conference, held at Claremont School of Theology, Claremont Lincoln University, on August 24–25, 2012.
The conference, titled Bioethics: Religious and Spiritual Approaches, dealt with issues of procreation, birth, life, and death from various religious traditions and philosophical perspectives.
Jainism is an ancient tradition rooted in India, centered on nonviolence — called Ahimsa — in thought, speech, and action toward all life forms. In his talk, Professor Francione looked at the Jain doctrine of Ahimsa, which prohibits the intentional infliction of suffering and death on mobile, multi-sensed beings, and the justification for the use of animals in experiments by Jain laypersons.
Professor Francione is a serious student of Jain philosophy and has written about Jainism and animal ethics. He has been a vegan for 30 years based on his acceptance of the Jain principle of Ahimsa.
Professor Francione is the author of numerous books and articles on animal rights theory and animals and the law. He and his colleague Adjunct Professor Anna Charlton started and operated the Rutgers Animal Rights Law Clinic from 1990-2000, making Rutgers the first university in the U.S. to have animal rights law as part of the regular academic curriculum. He received a B.A. in philosophy from the University of Rochester and an M.A. in philosophy and J.D. from the University of Virginia.