Jessica Pierce


Over the last two decades, Jessica Pierce has written extensively within the field of bioethics, beginning with an early interest in the interconnections between health care systems, environmental degradation, and health (The Ethics of Environmentally Sustainable Health Care). Over the past decade, her work has increasingly turned toward one of her principle passions in life: animals. Her 2009 book Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals, written in collaboration with cognitive ethologist Marc Bekoff, builds a scientific case that nonhuman animals exhibit of a broad range of prosocial behaviors, including empathy, cooperation, fairness.

Her 2012 book, The Last Walk: Reflections on Our Pets at the Ends of Their Lives, explores end-of-life care, dying, and euthanasia in the lives of companion animals, weaving analysis together with a journal chronicling the decline and death of my beloved dog Odysseus.

Her most recent book, which is being released on May 7, is Run, Spot, Run: The Ethics of Keeping Pets, and makes the case that the keeping of pets is, at best, morally ambiguous and, at worst, a serious problem.

Two more books are in production. My friend and colleague Marc Bekoff (co-author on Wild Justice) and I have written another book together.  Freedoms for Animals: Compassion and Coexistence in the Anthropocene (Beacon Press) explores the role of science in helping (or harming) the billions of animals under human care.

Hospice and Palliative Care for Companion Animals: Principles and Practice (Wiley), is a collaboration with veterinarians Amir Shanan and Tami Shearer.

After graduating from Scripps College in Claremont, California, Jessica went on to earn a Master of Divinity from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in religious ethics  from the University of Virginia.