Question 94: Can you give
a brief Who's Who of the AR movement?
Professor of Philosophy at North Carolina State University.
His book "The Case For Animal
Rights" is arguably the single best recent
work on animal rights. It is a demanding text but one that is well worth
the effort to read and study carefully. Everybody that is seriously
interested in the issues should read this rigorously argued case for AR.
It starts with some core concepts of inherent value theory, the same
concepts that played an important and significant role in the progress
human civil liberties since the 17th century and which began to be
extended to nonhumans during the 19th century. The notion of inherent
value continues to be vital and important for progress in both human and
animal rights. A less demanding but still informative book by Regan is
"The Struggle for Animal Rights". One might wish to first read
before tackling Regan's more difficult text.
Professor of Philosophy at Monash University, Melbourne.
Singer is best known for his book "Animal Liberation",
probably the most
widely read book on AR philosophy. Singer, unlike Regan, is not an
abolitionist as many people incorrectly surmise. His utilitarian position
allows for the possibility or necessity of killing animals under certain
circumstances. What is often lost sight of is that the obvious and patent
abuses of animals covers so much ground that both Regan and Singer share
common views on far more issues than those on which they differ. Other
important books by Singer include "In Defense of Animals" and
Senior Lecturer of Philosophy at the University of Newcastle.
Midgley's book "Beast and Man" has not been given the
attention that it
deserves. She deals with the contemporary facts of biology and ethology
head-on to provide an ethical argument for the respectful treatment of
animals that takes seriously scientific discoveries and thoughts about
animals. The "Humean fork" (or so-called logical divide) between
values is here carefully crossed by observing that we are foremost
"animals" ourselves and that the similarities between ourselves
animals is more important and relevant for our ethics and
self-understanding than are the often over-inflated differences.
Adams' book "The Sexual Politics of Meat" has made a
in combining cultural and ethical analysis by pointing out the political
implications of the metaphors we unthinkingly employ. The primary
metaphors she analyses in her book relate to meat. Such metaphors have
been applied to women, but the most insidious aspect of the metaphors is
the way that they hide the life that is killed to produce meat. Instead
"cow", we have "beef" on our plates. Adams argues that
the system that
kills animals is the same system that oppresses women; hence, there is
important and striking connection between vegetarianism and feminism.
Senior Clinical Psychologist at Warneford Hospital, Oxford.
Ryder is the originator of the key term "speciesism".
"Animal Revolution" provides both an historical perspective and
critical analysis of animal welfare and attitudes towards animals.
Salt was a remarkable social reformer who championed the humane
schools, prisons, society, and our treatment of animals. He also exerted
critical and important influence upon Gandhi. His book "Animals' Rights"
was the first to use that title and therein he gives voice to almost all
of the essential arguments for AR that we see being advanced and refined
today. The book provides an excellent biography of earlier European
writers on animal issues during the 18th and 19th centuries.
Moran's book "Compassion the Ultimate Ethic" makes a
regarding the less discursive but perhaps more fundamental intuitive basis
for animal rights.
Spiegel's book "The Dreaded Comparison" is a slim but
comparing the treatment of African-American slaves and the treatment of
nonhuman animals. In text and pictures, Spiegel discloses remarkable
similarities between the two systems. A picture of slaves packed into
a slave ship is matched with a photograph of battery hens. A picture
of a woman in a muzzle is paired with a picture of a dog in a muzzle.
The parallels are striking and revealing. Few other writers have been
as open or as unequivocal as Spiegel in likening cruelty to animals to
traffic in human beings.
It is hard to keep a Who's-Who list at a reasonable length. Here are
a few other prominent people:
STEPHEN R. L. CLARK
Professor of Philosophy at Liverpool University.
MICHAEL W. FOX
Vice President of Humane Society of the US, nationally known veterinarian,
and AR activist.
Founder of the Animal Liberation Front (ALF).
Attorney and journalist.
Co-founder of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA); prominent
Co-founder of PETA; exposer of the Silver Spring monkeys abuses.
Founder of ALF in the United States.
Question 95: What
can I do in my daily life to help animals?
Indeed, the buck must first stop here in our own daily lives with
elimination or reduction of actions that contribute to the abuse and
exploitation of animals.
Probably the single most important thing you can do to save animals,
help the ecology of the planet, and even improve your own health, is to
BECOME A VEGETARIAN. It is said that "we are what we eat". More
accurately, "we are what we do" and what we do in order to eat
profound consequence on our self-definition as a compassionate person.
long as we eat meat, we share complicity in the intentional slaughter of
countless animals and destruction of the environment for clearly trivial
Why trivial? No human has died from want of satisfying a so-called "Mac
Attack", but countless cows have died in order to satisfy our palates.
On a more positive note, vegetarians report that one's taste and enjoyment
of food is actually enhanced by eliminating animal products. Indeed, a
vegetarian diet is not a diet of deprivation; far from it. Vegetarians
actually eat a GREATER variety of foods than do meat-eaters. Maybe the
best kept culinary secret is that the really "boring" diet actually
out to be the traditional meat-centered diet.
Next, STOP BUYING ANIMAL PRODUCTS LIKE FUR OR LEATHER. There are plenty
of good plant and synthetic materials that serve as excellent materials
for fabrics and shoes. Indeed, all the major brands of high-quality
running shoes are now turning to the use of human-made materials. (Why?
Because they are lighter than leather and don't warp or get stiffen after
There are many less obvious animal products that are being used in many
of our everyday household and personal products. After first attending
those obvious and most visible products like leather and fur, then
consider what you can do to reduce or eliminate your dependency on
products that may contain needless animal ingredients or were brought to
market using animal testing. Two very good product guides are:
Shopping Guide for the Caring Consumer, PETA, 1994.
A Shopper's Guide to Cruelty-Free Products, Lori Cook, 1991.
Then GET INFORMED AND READ AS MUCH AS YOU CAN ON THE ISSUE OF ANIMAL
RIGHTS. Besides reading about animal rights from the major theorists,
also read practical guides and periodicals. Question #92 lists many
appropriate books and periodicals.
Finally, you can GET INVOLVED IN A LOCAL ANIMAL RIGHTS OR ANIMAL WELFARE
ORGANIZATION. Alternatively, if you lack the time, consider giving
donations to those organizations whose good work on behalf of
animals is something you appreciate and wish to materially support.