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on March 27, 2004
This is a truly exceptional, and excellent, book. It is the best introduction to ethics and animals issues out there. Regan explains how he came to believe that animals have moral rights that make it wrong to eat, wear and experiment on them, and how he became involved in the growing movement to advance that cause. The book is really like no other; check out the book's companion webpage at [...] The book is highly readable and accessible, unlike a more standard strictly philosophical (and academic) discussion of the issues.
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on May 6, 2004
Tom Regan has made his name through relentless philosophical rigor. However, Empty Cages is not written in the style of The Case for Animal Rights. In Empty Cages, Regan pulls out the core his philosophical argument and infuses it into a public friendly form. This book is written for the general public and is highly accessible. It is meant to speak not only to the animal rights faithful, but to those who have not fully considered the issue.
Among the highlights of this book is Regan's story about his personal relationship to animal rights. Regan tells of how his current views evolved, and in doing so empathizes those who have yet to make the move to animal rights. Regan's none judgmental style will make this work a remarkably effective tool in spreading the message of animal rights. Indeed, I believe Empty Cages can and should replace Singer's Animal Liberation as the flagship introduction to the movement.
If you're unsure about the merits of animal rights then read this book.
Those of us who already believe in animal rights need to put this book in the hands of friends, family, co-workers, and local libraries.
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on July 6, 2005
I honestly can not think of a book that I have enjoyed more than this one in my lifetime. I am already an ARA, but I think this book is written in a way that it would be a perfect choice for someone asking the question, "What exactly is animal rights, and what do animal rights activists want us to change?'
Clearly and non-condescendingly written and thought provoking, this book might just change your world-view. Buy this book today.
[...]
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on March 11, 2015
Tom Regan is one of the leaders of the animal rights movement (as opposed to animal welfare which aims to enlarge the "cages" but keep the status quo). He has given a passionate (if sometimes muddled) argument for the intrinsic moral rights of animals to respect, freedom from pain and abuse, and protection of life that humans expect and enjoy in civilized communities. That animals have those moral rights (even though he wobbles on some categories of animals he personally and somewhat illogically excludes from consideration) seems very clear and convincing which makes the cruelty, torture, and death through the food and fashion industries, cosmetic and product testing, medical/pharmaceutical/scientific experimentation, "sport"/hunting/entertainment industries all the more egregious and indefensible. Even if HIS arguments are a bit muddled, the case for animals rights is clear. Our response, both ethical and legal, is the question--What then must we do???? Change our lives (food, dress, etc) to cruetly free product choices whenever and however we can, but more importantly mobilize our legislators, law enforcement and government agencies to create humane laws to protect animals AND ENFORCE THEM.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon January 3, 2013
Tom Regan (born 1938) is professor emeritus of philosophy at North Carolina State University, where he taught from 1967-2001. He has also written The Case for Animal Rights: Updated with a New Preface,Defending Animal Rights, etc. He wrote in the first chapter of this 2004 book, "Animal rights is a simple idea because, at the most basic level, it means only that animals have a right to be treated with respect. It is a profound idea because its implications are far-reaching." (Pg. 9)

He recalls the effect on him of reading Gandhi's Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth: "I had learned how some people in India regard eating cow as unspeakably repulsive. I realized I felt the same way about cats and dogs: I could never EAT THEM. Were cows so different from cats and dogs that there were two moral standards, one that applies to cows, another that applies to cats and dogs? Were pigs so different? Were any of the animals I ate so different? These were the questions that would not go away." (Pg. 30)

He argues, "If you told us that the ice cubes want out of the freezer or that the gravel on the driveway is starving for attention, ordinary English speakers would wonder what on earth you were talking about. But no ordinary English speaker would have the slightest difficulty in understanding what you mean when you say what you do about your neighbor's dogs. There is SOMEBODY THERE, behind those canine eyes, somebody with wants and needs, memories and frustrations." (Pg. 55)

He concedes the possibility that fish do not have minds, but adds, "Well, perhaps. Then again, perhaps not. While it should be clear where my sympathies lie, for the sake of argument I am prepared to limit the conclusions for which I am arguing to the LEAST CONTROVERSIAL cases, by which I mean animals and birds." (Pg. 61) About plants, he asks, "Do tomatoes share our structure, anatomically and physiologically? Does kudzu have a central nervous system like ours, and a brain?... How ARAs [Animal Rights Activists] argue for animal rights does not logically commit us to championing rhubarb rights." (Pg. 63)

He also asserts, "So, yes, some members of the [Animal Liberation Front] are courageous in their acts and sincere in their commitment. And yes, perhaps some of us who reject the violence they employ do so out of cowardice. Nevertheless, violence done by ARAs, in my judgment, is wrong; it does not help, it hurts the animal rights movement." (Pg. 191)

This book will be of great use to persons concerning with animals rights/welfare.
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on January 30, 2014
I still eat meat... very important to respect the humanity of those who can not speak up for themselves.... I will definitely be more cognizant of what kind of products that I buy, perfect book for all consumers!
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on November 12, 2013
In "Empty Cages" Tom Regan offers a brief, articulate and surprisingly comprehensive introduction to the ideas of animal rights and living compassionately in our world. This is an essential title for the home library of anyone who cares for animals.
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on April 16, 2013
This book really articulated well all the reasons I feel in favor of animal rights. It gave me a new philosophical vocabulary of sorts to work with, and the author's writing and tone are enjoyable. Great book!
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on August 20, 2007
Opening with quite a heart-wrenching tale that truly draws in the reader, and then never losing steam, Regan has written a highly intriguing argument in favor of animal rights. Running the gamut from factory farming to animal experimentation, and including the use of animals for entertainment purposes, Regan covers every angle and both sides to each argument. Of course, his degree in philosophy doesn't hurt when providing the reader with convincing evidence and sound logic. However, it must be noted that this book is highly accessible, even with the philosophical arguments posed herein.

Interwoven within the arguments both for and against animal rights are firsthand accounts of not only visits to factory farms and the like, but also Regan's own personal "muddling" journey from lackadaisical animal lover to animal rights activist. One might even see much of their own personal journey reflected in these pages. Furthermore, Regan is never condescending of those who have yet to make the jump to activism, for he himself took some time to blossom into the activist he is today.

The only reason I give this book four stars instead of five is because much of the material is indeed recycled. For the seasoned animal rights activist, there is not much new to be found within these pages. However, if you are on the fence about animal rights, and perhaps are on your own "muddling" journey from animal lover to activist, this book is inclined to push you towards the latter, and for good reason. This book is very highly recommended for anyone curious about animal rights. The book ends on a positive note, calling for more people to act out so that animal rights can become a reality and not just an intriguing notion. This book certainly needs to be placed in the hands of friends and family everywhere.
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on September 22, 2011
This book is a must read. Regan is a great author and I look forward to buying more books from him.
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