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Introduction to Animal Rights: Your Child or the Dog? [Paperback]

by Gary L. Francione, Alan Watson
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 5, 2000 1566396921 978-1566396929
Two-thirds of Americans polled by the "Associated Press" agree with the following statement: "An animal's right to live free of suffering should be just as important as a person's right to live free of suffering." More than 50 percent of Americans believe that it is wrong to kill animals to make fur coats or to hunt them for sport. But these same Americans eat hamburgers, take their children to circuses and rodeos, and use products developed with animal testing. How do we justify our inconsistency? In this easy-to-read introduction, animal rights advocate Gary Francione looks at our conventional moral thinking about animals. Using examples, analogies, and thought-experiments, he reveals the dramatic inconsistency between what we say we believe about animals and how we actually treat them. "Introduction to Animal Rights: Your Child or the Dog?" provides a guidebook to examining our social and personal ethical beliefs. It takes us through concepts of property and equal consideration to arrive at the basic contention of animal rights: that everyone - human and non-human - has the right not to be treated as a means to an end. Along the way, it illuminates concepts and theories that all of us use but few of us understand - the nature of "rights" and "interests," for example, and the theories of Locke, Descartes, and Bentham. Filled with fascinating information and cogent arguments, this is a book that you may love or hate, but that will never fail to inform, enlighten, and educate. Author note: Gary L. Francione is Professor of Law and Nicholas de B. Katzenbach Scholar of Law and Philosophy at Rutgers University Law School, Newark. He is the author of "Animals, Property, and the Law" and "Rain Without Thunder: The Ideology of the Animal Rights Movement" (both Temple).

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Introduction to Animal Rights: Your Child or the Dog? + Animals Property & The Law (Ethics And Action) + The Animal Rights Debate: Abolition or Regulation? (Critical Perspectives on Animals: Theory, Culture, Science and Law)
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Well written, passionately argued, and clearly reasoned, this book still suffers from one major flaw: na?vet?. While no one can argue that there are problems with the way our society views and treats animals, specifically the status of animals as property, Francione expresses the common animal-rights position that every use of animalsAwhether for medical testing, entertainment, or even consumptionAis immoral or inherently wrong. Taking on Descartes, Locke, Jeremy Bentham, and even Peter Singer (known by many for Animal Liberation, long considered a foundation text for the animal-rights movement), Francione argues that animals can only be considered as having moral status or as being thingsAthere is no other choice. While his argument may well have some validity, the status of animals in our society (and beyond) is more like a compromise between the two. Recommended for larger animal-rights collections.AAlicia Graybill, Lincoln City Libs., NE
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Francione, law professor and author of two previous books on animal rights, presents a moral introduction to the concept of animal interests. Departing from an ethical situation (you arrive home to find your house burning so fiercely that you can only save your child or your dog), the author expands on the precept that choosing to save the child does not ascribe a lack of value to the dog. Speaking of "our moral schizophrenia" in the fact that we recognize that animals have some interests that humans are morally and legally obligated to respect, but that we still treat them as our property, the author expands on this schizophrenia with a well-thought out, logical discussion of the way animals should be treated--as fellow, sentient occupants of the planet. Francione's well-crafted arguments are supported by extensive notes and by a clear writing style that continually builds upon his previous points. This scholarly work will appeal to thinking animal-rights activists and is recommended for libraries with large collections in the field. Nancy Bent --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Temple University Press (September 5, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566396921
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566396929
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 5.7 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #338,462 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gary L. Francione is Distinguished Professor of Law and Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Scholar of Law and Philosophy at Rutgers University School of Law-Newark.

He received his B.A. in philosophy from the University of Rochester, where he was awarded the Phi Beta Kappa O'Hearn Scholarship that allowed him to pursue graduate study in philosophy in Great Britain. He received his M.A. in philosophy and his J.D. from the University of Virginia. He was Articles Editor of the Virginia Law Review.

After graduation, he clerked for Judge Albert Tate, Jr., United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor of the United States Supreme Court. He was an associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore in New York City before joining the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1984, where he was tenured in 1987. He joined the Rutgers faculty in 1989.

Professor Francione has been teaching animal rights and the law for more than 20 years, and he was the first academic to teach animal rights theory in an American law school. He has lectured on the topic throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe, including serving as a member of the Guest Faculty of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. He has been a guest on numerous radio and television shows. He is well known throughout the animal protection movement for his criticism of animal welfare law and the property status of nonhuman animals, and for his abolitionist theory of animal rights.

He is the author of numerous books and articles on animal rights theory and animals and the law, including Introduction to Animal Rights: Your Child or the Dog? (2000), Rain Without Thunder: The Ideology of the Animal Rights Movement (1996), Animals, Property, and the Law (1995), Vivisection and Dissection in the Classroom: A Guide to Conscientious Objection (with Anna E. Charlton) (1992), and Animals as Persons: Essays on the Abolition of Animal Exploitation (2007).

Professor Francione and his partner and colleague, Adjunct Professor Anna E. Charlton, started and operated the Rutgers Animal Rights Law Clinic/Center from 1990-2000, making Rutgers the first university in the United States to have animal rights law as part of the regular academic curriculum, and to award students academic credit not only for classroom work, but also for work on actual cases involving animal issues. Francione and Charlton represented without charge individual animal advocates, grassroots animal groups, and national and international animal organizations. Francione and Charlton currently teach a course on human rights and animal rights, and a seminar on animal rights theory and the law. Professor Francione also teaches courses on criminal law, criminal procedure, jurisprudence, and legal philosophy.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!! October 30, 2000
By A Customer
Francione's theory of animal rights forces us to make a choice: either we acknowledge that animals are morally equivalent to inanimate objects and we have no moral obligations that we owe them directly, or animals are members of the moral community to whom we have direct moral obligations. This second option does not require that we regard animals as the same as humans or regard animals as having the same rights as humans--it only requires that we regard animal interests as having moral significance. Francione argues that if we take this second approach--an approach that most of us accept already--we are committed to the abolition, and not the regulation, of animal exploitation. Francione's central argument--that the moral significance of animal interests precludes the use of animals as human property--presents a theory of animal rights that is more radical than either Tom Regan's approach in The Case for Animal Rights or Peter Singer's approach in Animal Liberation. Moreover, Francione's theory applies to all sentient nonhumans; he does not create another hierarchy of "special" animals, as is done in The Great Ape Project or other derivative works that accord special moral value to animals who are "like us." Francione's argument is that sentience is the only characteristic that matters for moral significance, and that any sentient being must have one right--the right not to be the property of others--if that being is to have any moral status whatsoever. Francione also makes clear that just as in the case of human slavery, it will not be the legal system that will end the property status of animals; significant social change will have to occur first. For Francione, the interesting question is not whether the cow should be able to sue the farmer for a violation of the cow's rights; the interesting question is why we have the cow there in the first place. The book is clearly written and easy to understand.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Case is Complete January 14, 2001
Gary Francione is the pre-eminent scholar on the topic of animal rights. If one was not already convinced of this by his body of work on the subject, this new book surely proves it. In it, Francione has synthesized ideas that he introduced to us years ago, and that he has persisted in writing and thinking about ever since. He presents an idea that is seemingly complex in a neat, comprehensible and embarassingly persuasive argument. Embarassing because the logic is so clear that one is left wondering how it wasn't completely obvious from the start.
An animal has the right not to be treated like a thing. It's that simple, not the right to vote or get a good eduction, but the right not to be considered merely human property, or to be used as means that serve human ends. Francione shows clearly why "animal rights" has nothing to do with treating animals "humanely", whatever that might mean. It is about treating animals honestly, in accordance with what we already say we believe they are entitled to.
Twenty years ago, "animal rights" was a term that most people had never heard of. Today, because of people like Francione, that is no longer the case. However, the fact that the term has entered the mainstream and become the subject of common parlance also means that it is sometimes misunderstood, even by those who claim to be its advocates. After reading Francione's latest book, there can be no mistake about what animal rights is and why it is desperately needed. Francione comes to the subject with intellectual honesty and he is one of a very few who has the courage to take his argument, and all of its component parts, to their logical conclusion.
There can also be no doubt, for all the bloody reasons Francione points out, that the societal recognition of animal rights is inevitable and that it is long past time to begin the implementation.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Animal rights- back to basics November 7, 2000
By A Customer
The animal rights "movement" has become somewhat convoluted and to someone trying to familiarize themselves with animal rights theory for the first time, or to someone struggling to stay true to a pure animal rights approach, the mixed messages put out by self-proclaimed animal advocates can be very confusing. While many of today's animal "activists" are chosing to focus on taking small, incremental steps under a welfarist approach, Francione maintains that the insitutionalized use of animals as means to human ends is always anti-thetical to a true animal rights position, no matter how "well" or "humanely" exploited animals are treated. Francione's holistic approach makes animal rights theory accessible to everyone.
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36 of 43 people found the following review helpful
By Jamie
This is an amazing book. Eloquently written, well-thought out arguments, facts to back up their arguements. If everyone read this book, I don't see how our world would be the same. We would be unable to continue our misuse of animals without, at the vary least, a guilty conscience of knowing what we are doing is wrong. Highly recommend to anyone whether or not you already believe in animal rights.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful wake-up call for an animal-expoiting culture February 25, 2001
By Al Clay
Professor Francione's philosophy has never been more concisely or urgently articulated than in this book. Paring the discussion of our treatment of animals down to basic elements and building his arguments with rigorous logic, Francione makes an overwhelming case that may even convince the casual reader to adopt a change in lifestyle. What makes this book so powerful is that rather than convince us that we should believe what he believes about justice and/or morality in human/animal relations, Francione shows that we already DO belive it - it's just that most of us are too confused or too lazy to act on such beliefs. The criticism(s?) of his "all or nothing" stance miss the point - Francione's abolitionist stance provokes all readers to examine the very foundation of their own opinions, and assists animal activists in making coherent arguments for the cause. A cup of very strong, if occasionally bitter, coffee that should wake up every American.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book
Super informative and a great read for anyone looking to learn more about the basic fundamental aspects of animal rights.
Published 4 months ago by Madison
4.0 out of 5 stars The most hardcore position on animal rights
Full disclaimer: I was brought up as a Jain and I've been vegan for a few years now. So as you can imagine, I do have some bias towards his book. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Scientia et veritas
5.0 out of 5 stars Uncompromising logic at its best
G. Francione presents a theoretical framework for animal rights in very clear and understandable language. Read more
Published 19 months ago by A. Flores
I got this book about a year ago and I wish I had done a review sooner. This book is a masterpiece of work on behalf of the rights of non humans. Read more
Published on October 1, 2007 by Nadia
3.0 out of 5 stars An important perspective but ultimately unconvincing
Gary Francione is an important thinker in the animal rights debate. His abolitionist views have proved influential in certain sectors of the movement, and for that reason alone it... Read more
Published on May 4, 2007 by Dave G
5.0 out of 5 stars If you buy one book on animal rights theory...
Buy this book, a coherent, refined and logical approach to animal rights that gets to the root of modern society's animal problem without going out on a limb. Read more
Published on March 16, 2007 by Eric Prescott
5.0 out of 5 stars introduccion a los derechos animales
el libro me parecio fascinante, desde un principio, pero en un par de capitulos daba muchos ejemplos que ya sabia, pero para quien lee sobre derechos animales por primera vez muy... Read more
Published on February 18, 2007 by vegan grapper
5.0 out of 5 stars The most succinct and thorough animal rights book
The three most well known authors of 'animal rights' books are Tom Regan, Peter Singer and Gary Francione. Read more
Published on March 7, 2002 by Myrddin
5.0 out of 5 stars Francione Has the Quintessential Blueprint for Abolition
Gary Francione has published the simplified version of AR --the one that explains the basics of what works (and what doesn't). Read more
Published on March 31, 2001 by Chris Kelly
3.0 out of 5 stars Francione not realistic and nor constructive
Francione's premise is that animal's status as property allows egregious abuse for convenience sake. Read more
Published on January 29, 2001
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