Bernard Rollin

Bernard Elliot Rollin (February 18, 1943 – November 19, 2021) was an American philosopher, who was emeritus professor of philosophy, animal sciences, and biomedical sciences at Colorado State University.[1] He was considered to be the "father of veterinary medical ethics".[2]

Bernard Rollin
Bernard Elliot Rollin

(1943-02-18)February 18, 1943
DiedNovember 19, 2021(2021-11-19) (aged 78)
Linda Rollin
(m. 1964)
AwardsLifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Research Ethics from Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research
EraContemporary philosophy
InstitutionsColorado State University
Main interests
Animal ethics, bioethics, philosophy of mind

Early life and education

Bernard Elliot Rollin was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1943. He received his B.A. in philosophy from the City College of New York in 1964, and his Ph.D. in philosophy from Columbia University in 1972.[3] Rollin met his future wife Linda while studying at the City College of New York; they married in 1964 and had one son.[4]


In 1969, Rollin joined Colorado State University's department of philosophy.[3] Rollin specialized in animal rights and the philosophy of consciousness, and was the author of a number of influential books in the field. His first books, which were among the first ones about animal ethics at the time, included Animal Rights and Human Morality (1981), published two years before Tom Regan's The Case for Animal Rights, and The Unheeded Cry: Animal Consciousness, Animal Pain and Scientific Change (1988). He also published Farm Animal Welfare (1995), and Science and Ethics (2006). He is also co-editor of the two-volume, The Experimental Animal in Biomedical Research (1989 and 1995). He published his memoir in 2011, Putting the Horse Before Descartes.[1]

He was prominently featured in the film about speciesism, The Superior Human?, in which he analyzes the ideology of René Descartes to help show that animals can think and feel.[5][6] He helped draft the 1985 amendments to the Animal Welfare Act.[7] In 2016, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Research Ethics from Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research.[8]

Rollin was a member of the Scientific Expert Advisory Council (SEAC), for Australian animal welfare group Voiceless, the animal protection institute. SEAC is a group of academics from around the world who assist Voiceless in the production of quality research and publications which expose legalized animal cruelty and inform public debate.[9] He was also a board member of Farm Forward, a 501(c)(3) organization that implements innovative strategies to promote conscientious food choices, reduce farmed animal suffering, and advance sustainable agriculture.[10]

In 2019, Rollin celebrated 50 years at Colorado State University.[11] He and his wife Linda, a fellow professor in philosophy at Colorado State University, retired in December 2020.[12]


Rollin died in Fort Collins, Colorado, on November 19, 2021, at the age of 78.[4]


  • Natural and conventional meaning: An examination of the distinction. Mouton. 1976. ISBN 90-279-3274-3.
  • Animal Rights & Human Morality. Prometheus Books. 1981. ISBN 1-59102-421-8.
  • The Teaching of Responsibility. Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW). 1983. ISBN 0-900767-33-2.
  • with M. Lynne Kesel (eds.). The Experimental Animal in Biomedical Research: A Survey of Scientific and Ethical Issues for Investigators, Volume I. CRC Press (1989). ISBN 0-8493-4981-8
  • Farm Animal Welfare: School, Bioethical, and Research Issues. Iowa State Press. 1995. ISBN 0-8138-2563-6.
  • The Frankenstein Syndrome: Ethical and Social Issues in the Genetic Engineering of Animals. Cambridge University Press. 1995. ISBN 0-521-47807-3.
  • The Unheeded Cry (1 ed.). Wiley. 1999. ISBN 0-8138-2575-X.
  • with David W. Ramey. Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine Considered. Wiley-Blackwell (2003). ISBN 0-8138-2616-0.
  • with G. John Benson. The Well-Being of Farm Animals: Challenges and Solutions. Wiley-Blackwell (2003). ISBN 0-8138-0473-6
  • Science and Ethics. Cambridge University Press. 2006. ISBN 0-521-67418-2.
  • An Introduction to Veterinary Medical Ethics: Theory And Cases, Second Edition (2 ed.). Wiley-Blackwell. 2006. ISBN 0-8138-0399-3.
  • Putting the Horse before Descartes: My Life's Work on Behalf of Animals . Temple University Press (2011). ISBN 978-1592138258

See also


  1. "Bernard Rollin". College of Liberal Arts. Colorado State University. Archived from the original on May 2, 2017. Retrieved November 21, 2021.
  2. Udell, Erin. "CSU professor and 'father of veterinary medical ethics' Bernie Rollin dead at 78". The Coloradoan. Retrieved November 24, 2021.
  3. Newton, David E. (2013). The Animal Experimentation Debate: A Reference Handbook. ABC-CLIO. p. 206. ISBN 978-1-61069-318-9.
  4. "Bernard Rollin Obituary - Ft. Collins, CO". Dignity Memorial. Retrieved November 21, 2021.
  5. "The Superior Human?", official website.
  6. McAnallen, Samuel. "The Superior Human?". Youtube (video). Archived from the original on December 12, 2021. Retrieved July 14, 2021.
  7. McIlwraith, C. Wayne; Rollin, Bernard E. (February 2, 2011). Equine Welfare. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9781444397819.
  8. Guiden, Mary (March 30, 2016). "Bernard Rollin lauded with lifetime achievement award". SOURCE. Colorado State University. Archived from the original on April 3, 2016. Retrieved November 21, 2021.
  9. "Bernard E. Rollin". Voiceless. Retrieved November 21, 2021.
  10. "Farm Forward Mission". Archived from the original on May 29, 2016. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
  11. "Animal ethicist Bernie Rollin's milestone: 50 years at CSU". College of Liberal Arts. Colorado State University. April 24, 2019. Archived from the original on April 25, 2019. Retrieved November 21, 2021.
  12. Dodge, Jeff (February 19, 2021). "Bernie and Linda Rollin reflect on their five decades at CSU". College of Liberal Arts. Colorado State University. Archived from the original on February 19, 2021. Retrieved November 21, 2021.
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