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Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions

11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195305104
ISBN-10: 0195305108
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Editorial Reviews


"Eloquent essays."--The Atlantic Monthly

"...a wide range of thought-provoking accessible survey of the major ideas in this intellectually challenging debate."--The Federal Lawyer

"This collection of essays provides a fine introduction to a number of difficult and controversial questions. It is particularly strong in its treatment of the philosophical and legal issues that surround animal rights."--Science

"These 14 skillfully edited, high quality, and nicely balanced essays present a wide range of legal, political, and ethical perspectives on animal rights, and include some well-arranged sequences of competing arguments.... Recommended."--Choice

"Our society is in the midst of a major debate over animal rights, our duties, and the legal status of animals. This new compilation of essays has profoundly contributed to this debate.... Animal Rights is an incredible resource introducing readers to the basic issues in animal rights and highlighting directions animal advocates may go..."--Animal Law

"An important and thought-provoking work. Sunstein and Nussbaum illuminate issues that have the power to unite or divide those of us who care deeply about animals. By fostering better understanding, their book can help light the pathway to common ground."--Kathryn S. Fuller, President, World Wildlife Fund-US

"Several chapters...discuss political and legal changes that could drastically improve the lives of animals without giving them rights or personhood. ...This is a book political decision makers should read."--The Law and Politics Book Review

About the Author

Cass R. Sunstein is Karl Llewellyn Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago and Martha C. Nussbaum is Ernst Freund Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago. Together, they previously edited Clones and Cloning. They are frequent contributors to popular journals and newspapers. Sunstein's recent books include Why Societies Need Dissent and Designing Democracy; Nussbaum is recently author of Upheavals of Thought and For Love of Country.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (November 24, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195305108
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195305104
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #539,143 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By George Seymour on September 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions explores the human - animal relationship from a range of perspectives. It aims to assist in the fundamental rethinking of the relationship between human beings and nonhuman animals. The book consists of fourteen chapters, each written by a different author. It is this format of the text, drawing on an impressive list of contributors, which makes it so distinctive and significant. The chapters flow surprisingly well, in some cases engaging with each other's arguments. While the great proportion of the book is concerned with positive reforms towards the increased recognition of the interests of nonhuman animals it does, rather uniquely, contain contributions from both sides of the animal rights debate.

Those acquainted with recent animal rights literature will be familiar with some of the contributors' work. Steven Wise contributes an excellent chapter which is adapted from his book "Drawing the Line", while Gary Francione's chapter draws on ideas mapped out in his groundbreaking work "Animals, Property and the Law". In addition to the contributions of the more prominent authors, the book contains a number of stimulating and fresh ideas from thinkers who haven't published extensively in this field.

The book represents a comprehensive exploration of the major contemporary animal rights debates. The chapters on law and policy reform are particularly engaging and insightful, with a number of the contributors putting forward substantial and compelling suggestions for reform.

It is certainly not an introductory type of text. The book is distinctly academic in tone, as one would expect given the overwhelming majority of the contributors are professors from prestigious universities.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Paul Franciosa on September 21, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

* - if you have to chose between torture and reading this book, then you might want to consider reading the book - although it depends on just how severe the torture would be.

** - if you've lost your job and have quite a bit of free time on your hands, and don't have anything else better to do, then you might want to consider reading this book; don't expect to learn much or really be entertained. It will however, help you pass the time until your death.

*** - meh...I'm indifferent. Reading this book will not alter your life in any significant way, yet it is not so horrendously dreadful that your taking the time to read it will be a complete waste of time.

**** - Good book to great book zone here. You should probably read this book if you have some spare time. This book could be interesting, entertaining, or informative.

***** - Outstanding book! Make time to read this book - you'll learn or be entertained or intrigued. The book might even be good enough to provide original or helpful insights into the world that we live in.


Sunstein and Naussbaum have put together a fantastic collection of essays on the controversial and often incompletely understood topic of animal rights. This book is a must for any self-proclaimed animal rights proponents and, I think, a very informative read for anyone interested in the subject of the interaction between humans and animals. While the essays can, at times, be dense and academic (after all, there are some real intellectual heavyweights who have contributed to this book), I found most of the essays to be well worth the time and energy required to go through them.
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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Matt on May 2, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Nussbaum and Sunstein have put together something very special. This book mixes the standard animal rights fare of Singer, Wise, and Francione with exciting new contributions by thinkers like Catharine MacKinnon, Richard Posner, as well as Sunstein and Nussbaum themselves. The book is well edited, with the various chapters flowing from issue to issue, and responding to each others arguments. The work explores not only what we own to animals, but also what practical approaches might deliver. The animal rights issue show not merely to be a "for or against" issue. Instead, we see a nuanced debate about the place of animals in theory and practice.
This book is essential to academic audiences, but should also prove accessible to general audiences. I suspect this will become a standard text for future animal rights courses.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are a thoughtful person in any way curious about animal rights - how different thinkers define and conceptualize the issue, debates within the animal rights movement, and the debate between those who favor increasing rights for animals and those that do not - this book is the best possible place to begin attempting to understand this fascinating and complex issue. With the notable exception of the absence of Tom Regan, almost everyone that has said anything important about animal rights (pro or con) in the past several decades is here. Well known scholars like Martha Nussbaum, Peter Singer, Cass Sunstein, and Catherine McKinnon share the spotlight with gems of essays by lesser known scholars like Gary Francione and Elizabeth Anderson. Maybe this book will inspire you to become vegan. Maybe it will make you realize that the idea of animals rights is something you don't fully agree with. In any event, after reading this book your thinking on these issues will be clearer. The book is a joy to read.
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