on March 27, 2009
I am the author of this book.
A reviewer, "Lataavi" claims that I maintain that vivisection is acceptable if it is necessary.
This claim is false.
In Chapter 2 of the book, I make quite clear that even if animal use were necessary to find cures for human illness (a position that I criticize), such use could not be justified as a moral matter.
"Lataavi" has for whatever reason blatantly and explicitly misrepresented the content of the book.
Gary L. Francione
Professor, Rutgers University
on October 9, 2008
In Animals as Persons -- which is composed of seven separate essays, given thematic unity by an introductory section -- Francione explains, clarifies, and elaborates on the major themes of the abolitionist approach to animal rights, which are as follows:
-- The abolitionist approach to animal rights is based on veganism as the rejection of the commodity status of nonhumans and a recognition of their inherent value;
-- as long as animals are property, they can never be members of the moral community;
-- sentience is all that is rationally required for membership in the moral community;
-- animal welfare fails to provide significant protection for animal interests and because it allows the use of animals in circumstances in which we use no humans, it necessarily deprives animals of equal consideration.
The latter point is demonstrated by a number of so-called ''major victories'' of animal advocacy in the past dozen years (and before) which Francione criticizes, among other things PETA's (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) agreement with McDonald's on higher slaughter standards for its meat suppliers and on providing increased space for hens in egg batteries.
Francione also tackles the ecofeminist approach to animal ethics, responds to some objections to his theory of the property status of animals, analyses the use of animals in biomedical research, and refutes the argument made in Tom Regan's book The Case for Animal Rights (1983) that throwing a dog out of a lifeboat in order to save a human would be required by rights theory.
Francione shows the objections with which the abolitionist approach continually has to contend to be invalid; indeed, the clarity, soundness, and consistency of abolitionism make its being dismissed, especially by self-identifying animal rights advocates, difficult to explain. Excellently written and easy to read, this book is a significant part of a work which, as I hope, will reach an increasingly wide audience and obtain due recognition worldwide as by far the most important contribution to animal rights theory to date.
on July 22, 2014
Animals as Persons is a crucial book for those that wish to become vegan. I've already contacted Gary twice [if you have any questions to ask him as well, he has a blog called abolitionist approach], and he's politely answered two questions I had, being very precise and answering them in full.
But, onto the book itself.
Gary Francione is a lawyer and it shows well in this essay. Not only does he strike down many welfare arguments with precision, giving historical examples in human context, but references many thinkers of the modern animals welfare movement. Make no mistake, this book probably isn't for you if you're not already vegan, vegetarian, or at the least, on the fence of this issue. Each essay answers numerous objections welfarists may have to the abolition movement, as well as quandaries vegans may personally have about the abolitionist approach. In essence, this book is more less objections to the modern animal rights activists. Those that follow the similar minds theory, or other animal rights activist that share similar views to Gary, but not quite. This is also not to say he by any means ever attacks anyone personally. He always goes for a calm, rational approach and explains the problems with the approaches.
Each essay talks about a slightly different issue, from sentience, to the new welfarism, to responses to criticisms from his other books, and so on.
What's more, the essays are highly quotable not only in response for new welfarists, but omnivores as well. It's a great book that can give you educated retorts to common objections to those that claim we have the right to eat animals. Here's one in particular I am fond of, as the cognitive minds argument comes up every so often for omnivores:
"Any attempt to justify treating animals as resources based on their lack of cognitive characteristics claimed to be uniquely human begs the question from the outset by assuming that certain human characteristics are "special" and justify different treatment. Although there are thing that only humans can do (although not all humans may be able to do them), there are things that only nonhumans can do. Humans alone may be able to write symphonies, do calculus, or recognize themselves in mirrors, but only nonhumans can fly or breathe underwater without assistance. What makes our characteristics special is, of course, we say so."
-Gary L. Francione, Animals as Persons.
Though that quote doesn't cover the entirety of the argument and out of context it's slightly butchered in it's beauty, but it's one of the many juicy paragraphs Gary provides in his essays.
That said, there are one or two shortcomings: first, Gary tends to refer to the same quotes or even directly copy pastes himself a few times. This isn't a bad thing inherently, since the essays WERE written years apart [to my understanding] however, if you go through this book in a week like I did, you'll get a bit of deja vu. This is a shortcoming that probably could have been avoided with some editing, however, when a quote is good, you wanna use it. This isn't a total negative, but I got weary after reading 'can they suffer' quote for the fourth or fifth time. Not Gary fault directly, but it detracted from my personal experience.
Secondly, Gary doesn't [to my understanding] directly say HOW to take the abolitionist approach. Best to my understanding, he'd rely on public and consumer influence. Get a few friends to go vegan abolitionist and they rest is history. However this was said rather indirectly and only once; compared to the exhaustive lengths he went to disprove the welfarist, this felt unsatisfying and I felt he could've answered this question better.
Despite that initial complaint that makes the book lose a star, it's an extremely concise and well written book. It regards questions vegans may have that are a bit uncomfortable if you're a nonspeiciesist [such as the burning house example].
Gary is a man the animal rights activists should follow [funnily enough today [7/22/2014] he posted a blog saying he didn't want followers] by example.
Animal exploitation is unnecessary. If you wanna be nonviolent, go vegan. If you want to be a true environmentalist, go vegan. If you think killing an animal unnecessarily is wrong, go vegan. Gary will not waver from this spot. After reading his book, neither will I.
on February 10, 2015
An outstanding work. Professor Francione completely transformed my views and attitudes about nonhuman animals, veganism, and the animal rights movement. I had been a vegan for well over a year but still didn't realize how blinded I was by my own ignorance and the mixed messages sent by all of the popular and well known animal welfare organizations. If you are serious about not causing harm to animals, you must read this book.
on May 4, 2012
A great book by a genuine vegan animal advocate , living example for a compassionate life and ethical diet. The very fact that the writer took a vegan commitment for life , gives high credit to a profound analytic book where the major principles regarding animal rights are explained in a revealing way that many of all us didnt think was possible to realize. Animals are equo then humans, the differences are peculiar characteristics we shall embrace, observe with interests and learning enthusiasm, finally ...love.
Under these highly moral and refined principles, the harsh reality about animal exploitation and cruelty, starts to show the horror that we have the duty to fight and change, by all mean.