Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism
In a set of essays that reflects his thinking on animal and human rights over the past decade, Tom Regan sketches the philosophical positions espoused by those who want to abolish animal exploitation, reform it to minimize suffering, or maintain the status quo. He considers the moral grounds for limiting human freedom when it comes to human interactions with other animals. He puts the issue of animal rights in historical context, drawing parallels between animal rights activism and other social movements, including the antislavery movement in the nineteenth century and the gay-lesbian struggle today. He also outlines the challenges posed by deep ecology and ecofeminism to using other animals for human purposes and addresses the ethical dilemma of the animal rights advocate whose employer uses animals for research.
Systematically unraveling claims that human beings are rational and therefore entitled to superior moral status, Regan defends the inherent value of all individuals who are "subjects of a life" and decries the speciesism that pretends to separate human from animals other than human. Independent of any benefits humans might derive from exploiting other animals, Professor Regan shows how, on a philosophical level, there is no sustainable defence for separating human and other animals as beings of absolute, as opposed to instrumental, value.
"Tom Regan is a master of clear argumentation, and here he expresses his views more clearly and incisively than ever. Packed with important insights and observations, Defending Animal Rights is a valuable contribution to the ongoing debates regarding animal rights and related issues." -- Susan Finsen, coauthor of The Animal Rights Movement in America: From Compassion to Respect