Introduction to Animal Rights
by Professor Gary L. Francione
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.
Francione’s claims are serious ones, urged passionately but with admirable lucidity, and with considerable sensitivity to counterarguments…. Francione seeks to raise the moral status of animals, by making it clear that they are ends in themselves, with intrinsic value, rather than mere means to human ends. In this regard he moves well beyond Bentham, seeking to establish that animals have rights that are inviolate, whatever the consequences…. Francione is right to say that sentient animals have intrinsic value, and that animal well-being is a good in itself. He is also right to reject the widespread view that animals are not entitled to rights because they lack a capacity to think in moral terms. Even if animals lack that capacity—a disputed empirical issue—human beings certainly have it, and we should exercise our capacity so as to act morally. For us, at least, might does not make right.
Cass R. Sunstein, Karl N. Llewellyn Distinguished Service Professor of Jurisprudence, University of Chicago Law School (from book review in The New Republic, January 29, 2001)
In this brilliantly argued and very clear and accessible book, Gary Francione argues that the moral significance of animals necessitates that we reject the use and treatment of animals as resources or as property. If we take animal interests seriously, we must abolish and not merely regulate our use of animals for food, research, and entertainment. This book is required reading for anyone interested in clear thinking about the human/animal relationship.
Drucilla Cornell, Rutgers University
Gary Francione claims that most of us are morally schizophrenic and demonstrates well that there often is a wide gulf between what we claim is due to other animals and what we actually do to them. He argues that animals have a right not to be viewed as things; their lives do matter, they have interests, and they should be firmly entrenched in the moral community.
Marc Bekoff, University of Colorado