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Drawing the Line: Science and the Case for Animal Rights Paperback – May 13, 2003


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Drawing the Line: Science and the Case for Animal Rights + Rattling The Cage: Toward Legal Rights For Animals
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Product Details

  • Series: A Merloyd Lawrence Book
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (May 13, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738208108
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738208107
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #775,376 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Whether or not one accepts Wise's premise that certain animal species meet the law's criteria for personhood, his book is a fascinating examination of animal behavior and intelligence. Crammed with data, case studies and reports from the field, it engages the reader in a thoughtful debate about the place of animals in a world dominated by humans. Not only does Wise (Rattling the Cage) know how to build a logical argument for legal rights for some animals, he also knows how to tell a good story. From early morning forays in Ugandan mountain forests, where he observes the complex behavior and social structure of chimpanzees, to the MIT Media Lab, where he chronicles the astounding mental agility of its resident parrot-scholar, Alex, Wise strengthens his case and intrigues the reader with his tales. The narrative includes creatures both exotic (the loving family groups of elephants in Kenya) and common (our beloved companion dogs) and there's even the occasional animal celebrity (Wise visits Koko the gorilla and her teacher, Penny Patterson, and has a somewhat stilted but still very incredible conversation with the primate). Readers who have in the past dismissed the arguments for animal rights as trivial or foolish may not be persuaded to the opposite view, but they will find some of their assumptions strongly challenged. For those who already champion animal rights, this book will further convince them of their just cause.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

A pioneer in the field of animal rights law and author of Rattling the Cage, Wise has written yet another groundbreaking book a page-turner for anyone even remotely interested in the legal status of nonhuman animals. He has devised a taxonomy that allows him (and us) to consider whether an animal possesses self-awareness and has mental abilities, desires, and intentions that resemble those of humans. Using this tool, Wise studies various species, including African Grey parrots, dogs, chimpanzees, dolphins, and even human children to determine whether they are entitled to recognition as legal persons with rights and dignity. His conclusions are based on observation, experiments, and the thinking of such well-known ethologists and neuroscientists as Roger Fouts, Irene Pepperberg, Donald Griffin, and Antonio Damasio. The result is a provocative and solidly grounded book. Essential for all libraries. Peggie Partello, Keene State Coll. Lib., NH
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Steven M. Wise's "Drawing the Line" presents a compelling argument for recognizing the rights of "nonhuman" animals.
Malvin
It highlights some of the most shocking examples of animal intelligence, but also shows how they differ from us and what kinds of abilities they lack.
Jonathan R. Fisher
I also think he does an excellent job of making the information accessible to those of us without a legal background.
Jean Greek

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Lisa on August 7, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Like the critics of slavery abolitionists who asserted that efforts were better spent helping poor young chimney sweeps than African slaves, there will be those who argue that instead of concerning ourselves with the plight of nonhuman animals, we should concentrate on making the world a better place for starving people in Africa, diseased humans, etc. (There is nothing wrong with advancing worthy human causes, but some folks don't seem to realized they can be pursued simultaneously with nonhuman animal causes.) Steven Wise launches a convincing argument that nonhuman animals are remarkably similar to humans on many quantifiable levels, and that some nonhumans may therefore be justified in sharing basic rights with humans.
Among all the cited cases documenting the complex web of human-like (as well as unique) traits among dolphins, honeybees, orangutans, dogs, gorillas, African grey parrots, elephants (and from his previous book, chimpanzees and bonobos), I found one case most interesting. As an economist, I was particularly bemused to discover that orangutans have displayed an understanding of economic value! The author describes the orangutans Azy and Indah who were given bamboo tools to use in public demonstrations. After a demonstration, a human could only retrieve the bamboo tools from the orangutans in exchange for proper compensation. Offering the orangutans a sunflower seed was sufficient payment for a small piece of bamboo. Obtaining a large piece cost much more: an entire walnut. Shrewd bargainers, those orangutans were, and capable of very abstract thinking!
The book is filled with evidence of nonhuman intelligence, emotion, and language (making it an excellent companion to Joan Dunayer's book Animal Equality: Language and Liberation).
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Malvin VINE VOICE on June 24, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Steven M. Wise's "Drawing the Line" presents a compelling argument for recognizing the rights of "nonhuman" animals. As a lawyer who has taught at Harvard and has championed animal rights for over twenty years, Mr. Wise directs our attention in this book to some of the recent scientific studies pertaining to animal intelligence. The evidence strongly suggests that at least some species qualify for dignity rights and other legal protections.
Mr. Wise provides introductory chapters that succinctly defines the struggle for animal rights. The author compares the historic practice of slavery with today's plight of nonhuman animals. Deep-rooted socioeconomic practices conspired to keep slavery alive for most of human history; today, animal slavery is fueled by longstanding cultural and economic forces. Consequently Mr. Wise approaches the daunting task of animal liberation with eyes wide open. He has written this book as a strategic move to further our understanding and with the hope of advancing the struggle.
To that end, I would have to say that Mr. Wise has succeeded brilliantly. The author employs a sound methodology to persuade us of the merits of his case. Mr. Wise rank-orders the intelligence of nonhuman animals by utilizing Piaget's well-known theories pertaining to the study of early childhood development. Consequently most of the chapters in the book are devoted to the study of specific animals (such as Koko the gorilla) who might represent the innate abilities of their respective species. You will be intrigued with how Mr. Wise utilizes Piagetian measures such as mirror self-recognition tests in order to compare animal performances with human intelligence.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Roberts-Zibbel on July 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is the book which introduced me to the world of animal intelligence and emotion. In Steven Wise's book, he dedicates chapters to an African Grey parrot, a pair of dolphins, an elephant matriarch, an orangutan, Koko the gorilla, Wise's own family dog, and even spends a chapter describing the intricate communication of honeybees. Wise is a lawyer, and so his goal in the book is to analyze whether or not these "nonhuman animals" (I love that wording!) fit the criteria to deserve rights under the law. Some of them do (by his estimation), and some of them don't... but Wise's writing style draws you in and his stories about the various animals he meets are fascinating (my favorite was Alex the parrot). Animal lovers will feel vindicated, and those who are unsure on the subject of animal rights may find themselves swayed by Wise's strong arguments. The writing is a little scientific at times, but the book is well worth the effort!
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Robert S. Bruzzi on December 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
If you care about our animals, buy this book.
If you care about our environment, buy this book.
If you care about your health, buy this book.
After reading this book, you'll not only know the issues, you'll understand them - in a way that you'll be able to debate (and hopefully pursuade) those who don't.
you'll also realize that you have feelings.
Powerful reading and, believe it or not, this is not depressing reading; rather it is very uplifting.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By L. Ficks on October 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
While Wise believes that all animals should be treated with compassion and kindness, he uses "pratical autonomy" in this book in order to use the legal system. Wise states that in order for courts to actually grant rights to animals there needs to be more than a philosophical reason. Because many humans lack full autonomy, including infants and the handicapped, Wise sets forth a pratical way of granting rights to nonhuman animals.

He goes through several species of aniamls and lists evidence for autonomy. I even thought he did not give enough credit to animals and "evidence" that I have read about it. However, this works for his case and skeptical readers. By putting animals in categories, although based on a human yardstick, Wise hopes to grant rights to certain animals.
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