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Animal Liberation Hardcover – January 1, 1990

ISBN-13: 978-0940322004 ISBN-10: 0940322005 Edition: 2 Sub
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

"The modern animal rights movement may be dated to the 1975 publication of Animal Liberation by Australian philosopher Peter Singer," declared Newsweek of the first edition, and this "bible" for animal rights activists has just undergone a second edition. Singer continues his "blistering indictment of so-called humane use of animals in scientific research" ( LJ 12/1/75), describes the current (and still atrocious) state of animal testing, and brings up to date the activities of the animal rights movement, nascent at the time of the first edition's release. This is a necessary purchase for any animal rights collection. See also Heidi J. Welsh's Animal Testing and Consumer Products , reviewed in this issue, p. 98.--Ed.
- Judy Quinn, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"It galvanised a generation into action. Groups sprang up around the world, equipped with a new vocabulary, a new set of ethics and a new sense of mission...Singer's book is widely known as the bible of the animal liberation movement." Independent on Sunday "A reasoned plea for the humane treatment of animals that galvanised the animal-rights movement the way the Rachel Carson's Silent Spring drew activists to environmentalism." New York Times "Important and responsible...Everyone ought to read it." Richard Adams "Probably the single most influential document in the history of recent movements concerned with animal welfare" Guardian --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: New York Review Books; 2 Sub edition (January 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0940322005
  • ISBN-13: 978-0940322004
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.5 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #290,790 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

117 of 125 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 3, 1997
Format: Paperback
Want to upset all the pre-conceptions of your life, and look at the world around you in a radically new way? Then read Peter Singer's book Animal Liberation. Written by an Australian philosophy professor in the 1970s, and revised in the early 1990s, Animal Liberation is the founding book of the modern animal rights movement. As such, Animal Liberation be one of the most influential books of the 20th century.

When Singer's book first appeared, animal rights was on the fringe of the fringe. Animal rights advocates, to the extent that they could get any attention from the press at all, were treated as a bunch of nuts. CBS Evening News compared British animal rights advocates to Monty Python charachters.

But today, especially among young people, animal rights is a major part of political and social activism. So even if you think you're inflexibly opposed to animals having rights, Singer's book will help you understand the millions of people who disagree with you.

Folks who believe that animals have no rights will often assert that because animals are animals, they should have no rights. As Singer points out, the argument is simply a tautology. To say that animals should have no rights because they are animals is no more logical than to say that women should not have rights because they are women, or that Blacks should have no rights because they are Blacks. To say that status as a woman must, in itself, imply that women have no rights is sexism; to say the same about Blacks is racism. And, Singer demonstrates, to say the same about animals is "specisim.
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By E. Barrios on November 18, 2007
Format: Paperback
When I was just a seventeen-year-old teenager, the boss at my summer job gave me Animal Liberation to read because he didn't have the heart to throw a book out. He said PETA sent it to him because of his large donation. He wasn't a vegetarian but he did have a soft spot for the animals.

Anyway, half way through the book, I converted to vegetarianism. By the end of the book which coincided with the end of the week, I was a vegan and haven't looked back since that day which was 20 years ago.

Read this book and inform yourself. You don't have to become a vegan but it would be nice if you developed an awareness of how mankind treats animals and how he has forsaken his role as "shepherd."

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56 of 63 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I cannot stress enough what an amazing book Animal Liberation is. I had always known the way we treat animals in our society is wrong, but nothing gave me the concrete and clear arguments I needed like this book to explain why animals do indeed have rights. I have heard many people, a few of whom have read this book, say that rights are a human-only attribute because only we have a moral or ethical structure, but obviously they did not read closely enough in order to see the very convincing argument Peter Singer lays out: there are mentally disabled individuals in our society who may not even be able to communicate at all, but who among us would say they did not have equal human rights, or at least the basic right to be free from pain? People who think "I will give animals rights when they ask for them" are missing the point entirely: it is up to us. Please, even if you don't agree with this viewpoint, read this book. It will give you an awakening into the world of animal rights in a clear and easy to read (but sometimes not easy to stomach) format. It also has an excellent bibliography and list of organizations at the end. If you don't think I've stressed it enough, AN EXCELLENT BOOK!
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46 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Heckman on July 21, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Peter Singer is possibly the most famous living philosopher in the world, and this book is an excellent reason to find out why. His arguments start from premises that almost everyone accepts, and they carefully and logically proceed to conclusions which are definately outside the mainstream of typical opinion (to put it mildly). This book is at once accessible and controversial, and evokes strong opinions -- you either love it or hate it, with very few people in the middle.
The good: The book is comprehensive, attempting to answer both the "why" and the "how" of animal liberation. It provides a decent, although not thorough, overview of most of the shocking treatment of animals raised for human consumption and at times might be very difficult to read. Singer's arguments are not mere emotive appeals and are top-notch.
The bad: Although understandable in a book that is aimed at a popular audience, Singer doesn't really go into the foundations of his ethics at all -- there's no answer to "why be ethical?" addressed in the book; instead it assumes that the reader already agrees that one should be ethical and procedes from there. The footnotes are decent but could be more comprehensive, and at times Singer gets a little wordy, which detracts from the impact of his arguments. However, these detractions are minor compared with the overall quality of the book.
The ugly: Most people who read and disagree with Animal Liberation fall into one of two traps. First, they assume that Singer is arguing for animal rights, and trot out a bunch of arguments about moral agency and so forth. However, Singer specifically does not argue for rights, and his ethical system in general is not based on them (he's a utilitarian).
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