- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Columbia University Press (November 19, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0231139519
- ISBN-13: 978-0231139519
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,385,210 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Animals as Persons: Essays on the Abolition of Animal Exploitation
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adds greatly to the understanding of both the ethical thinking about human and nonhuman animals and the campaigning and claims-making that occurs on behalf of animals.(Roger Yates Sociology)
Virtually all the articles and essays collected here are milestones in the formation of the modern theory of the legal and moral rights of animals. Gary L. Francione knows his philosophy as well as his law and these juridical studies work close to the line where law and philosophy merge. His prose, furthermore, is clear and free of legal jargon. I strongly recommend this collection of important essays. It provides a lucid summary of a significant body of thought on animal rights.(Julian H. Franklin, professor emeritus of political philosophy, Columbia University)
Coolly, lucidly, and uncompromisingly, with a minimum of horror stories, Gary L. Francione argues for the right of all sentient beings to a full life. His critique of animal-welfare legislation, with its many escape clauses that allow the business of animal exploitation to proceed as usual, is particularly devastating.(J. M. Coetzee, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature)
Gary L. Francione builds on the themes of his first three rights-based books, synthesizes them, adds new ingredients, and bring it all up to date in a striking restatement of animal rights philosophy for the twenty-first century. As the pioneer of the abolitionist approach to animal rights, Francione is an extremely important figure in animal ethics. This new volume is not only high-quality scholarship but also provides the theoretical foundations for a new social movement which takes rights seriously as its core claims about human-nonhuman relations.(Roger Yates, University College, Dublin)
Darwin once made a note to himself: "Never use the words 'higher' or 'lower.'" Well it took all this time before finally somebody did just that! That somebody is Gary L. Francione, thinking, as always, just beyond what anyone else has already thought. He is a radical, in the best sense of that word, always striking out (sometimes on his own) into areas where the rest of humanity has feared to tread. He goes out, and he comes back with treasure that the rest of us are only to happy to use and appropriate. That's o.k., I am sure, with him. He is not in this for his sake, but for their sake. So anything that will get us to take the vegan plunge (as I recently did, partly because I can see no way to avoid the arguments that Francione so cogently sets forth in this wonderful collection of essays), to stop making excuses for the Eichmann's of the animals and to recognize that when a nonhuman animal dies before his or her time, and under conditions of someone else's making, a tragedy has occurred that is every bit as momentous as the same tragedy in the life of a human animal. We are, all of us who are concerned with the lives (as opposed to the deaths) of animals, deeply in Francione's debt, whether we know it or not, whether we like him or not, and whether we want to acknowledge it or not.(Jeffrey Masson, author of Altruistic Armadillos, Zenlike Zebras: A Menagerie of 100 Favorite Animals)
The most wholly consistent animal rights position available today is Gary L. Francione's. In philosophical essays such as these his dedication to defining what it means to give the interests of nonhumans equal moral consideration shines through in a remarkably clear and uncompromising way. Francione conducts a rigorous cross-examination of utilitarianism (animal liberation theory), alternative animal rights and animal welfare views, feminist care ethics as applied to animals, and United States animal protection law, all of which creates a more meaningful and compelling context for his own approach. Those who seriously engage with this book will not only expand their horizons but also demand a much higher standard of argument in this field ever after.(Michael Allen Fox, professor emeritus of philosophy, Queen's University, Canada, adjunct professor, School of Humanities, University of New England (Australia), and author of Deep Vegetarianism)
Gary L. Francione's searing and insightful theoretical vision shines through in this key work that extends and deepens the substantive area of inquiry in abolitionist animal studies that he has singlehandedly created. Part iconoclast, part theorist, and part activist, Francione is unafraid to upend conventional theoretical and practical approaches to our treatment of animals in his analytical rigor. Without a doubt, this volume will remain a central work in animal studies for years to come.(Bob Torres, assistant professor of sociology, St. Lawrence University, and author of Making A Killing: The Political Economy of Animal Rights)
In this uncompromising and stimulating call for the abolition of all forms of oppression of other animals, Gary L. Francione establishes himself as one of the leading advocates for justice in the world today. In these powerful essays, Francione methodically and unflinchingly examines and deconstructs the ineffectual positions of many professed advocates for other animals and points the way toward true animal liberation. He exposes the pragmatic and moral flaws in the arguments of those who call merely for reduced cruelty and better regulation of industries that are based on animal oppression. His forceful and compelling arguments against contemporary 'animal welfarism' and in favor of true animal rights should be required reading for scholars, activists, and anyone interested in justice for all the inhabitants of this planet.(David Nibert, author of Animal Rights/Human Rights: Entanglements of Oppression and Liberation)
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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.
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.
Lost a single star only because I believe it might be slightly academic and too overwhelming for people who are brand new to animal rights issues. As such, I probably wouldn't recommend it as a first introductory book to get someone interested in animal rights. I think it's more for people who are already into the issues and want a deep overview of Francione's philosophy.
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