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Rain Without Thunder: The Ideology of the Animal Rights Movement Paperback – September 3, 1996
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From Publishers Weekly
In legal theory, Francione notes, "Animal welfare, unlike animal rights, rests on the notion that animals are property and that virtually every animal interest can be sacrificed in order to obtain `benefits' for people." Animal welfare is rather like "wise use"--i.e., eat animals, experiment on them, but try to avoid "unnecessary" suffering. As Francione says, "I do not think that we can meaningfully speak of legal rights for animals as long as animals are regarded as property." Francione follows his 1995 book, Animals, Property and the Law, with a scholarly, sometimes dense but generally compelling argument that the modern animal-rights movement is substantially one for animal welfare that ignores the question of whether animals have inherent rights. Even the more radical animal advocates dismiss the idea of rights as a utopian concept without immediate practical application. Discussing the dichotomy and the blurring of the issues, the book sometimes becomes redundant, both in its reiteration of the stands of prominent animal rights activists and in its analyses of definitions, legal and otherwise. The points of contention are multifaceted and occasionally confusing, but that complexity is clarified somewhat by the addition of imaginative anecdotes. As a Rutgers law professor and codirector of the Rutgers Animal Rights Law Center, Francione is clearly trying to affect public policy, but a more accessible book would have given him a better chance to affect public opinion as well.
Copyright 1996 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
"Francione cogently argues that the Animal Liberation Movement, though using rights rhetoric and espousing the eradication of animal exploitation, actually represents a new, self-defeating welfarism because its tactics embody the animal welfare position. Consequently, the plight of animals is worse than it was twenty years ago."
"[A] must-read for those teaching animal ethics and for any laboratory animal specialist wanting to obtain a deeper understanding of the Animal Rights Movement."
"Gary Francione's work is both refined and exhaustively documented. [He] makes a strong case for viewing the animal rights position as both realistic and practical.... This is, in itself, a major contribution to the literature and one that will change the course of debate over animals."
Michael Fox, Professor of Philosophy, Australian National University, Faculty of Arts
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Top Customer Reviews
I highly recommend this book. A must-read for everybody, vegan or non-vegan.
In everyday language with respect to human animals, the word "welfare" has very good connotations. However, in the areas of _law_ and _institutional policy_ with respect to non-human animals, words like "welfare," "humane," "care," "unnecessary suffering," and so on only mean _one_ thing. Namely, they mean that the interests of non-human animals will be protected only to the extent necessary to exploit them in an economically efficient manner. For example, in law and policy, the welfare of a pig not to starve is protected because it is necessary to feed the pig in order to get her or his meat. The same is necessarily true of every animal welfare law and regulation. Therefore, any advocacy that attempts to achieve animal rights and the abolition of animal exploitation in the long-term by using the supposedly short-term strategy of trying to pass welfare regulations achieves only _one_ thing. Namely, if those measures are implemented, it will be further ensured that the only interests of non-human animals that will ever be protected are those that are required to exploit them efficiently. In other words, the supposed "success" of implementing a welfare measure only further ensures that the interests of other animals that are not required to exploit them efficiently will *always* be violated in the most abhorrent ways imaginable. In short, welfare measures *only* harm non-human animals and never help them.
Again, before I read Francione's arguments and evidence, I found his claim to be counter-intuitive. If this describes your views on the subject, for the sake of non-human animals who are exploited everywhere, I urge you to read and seriously consider _Rain Without Thunder_. Francione offers an excellent practical alternative to welfarist advocacy that, if followed, will further the rights of other animals on a workable *incremental* basis. As an animal rights advocate, I am extremely grateful that this book exists.