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Animal Welfare versus Animal Rights

Many readers have e-mailed asking me to recommend  "the best book" on Animal Rights. I’m just one person, and recommendations of any kind are subjective. What I can say is I find that many people interested in transforming our culture and our government to one that is more animal-friendly are not aware of a major distinction that I touched on in a Greyhound post last week: Animal welfare and Animal Rights have different motivations and goals, and are actually at odds.

I can’t recommend only one book, but I can recommend the three (and a commentary):

  1. Author and attorney Gary L. Francione‘s book, INTRODUCTION TO ANIMAL RIGHTS: Your Child or the Dog? (Temple University Press, 2000). He clearly distinguishes between welfare and rights, although he’s less clear on what the implementation of abolition would look like, on an incremental basis.
  2. I was introduced to the concept of Animal Rights by Peter Singer‘s book ANIMAL LIBERATION (Harper-reprint 2001), which was originally written thirty years ago and informed an entire generation of activists. It’s a must-read.
  3. Tom Regan’s work, particularly THE CASE FOR ANIMAL RIGHTS (University of California Press, 2004).
  4. When you’re done with all that, or if you’ve already read those books, there’s a great deconstruction of the three kings of animal rights, and how they differ (or not) here.

When you’re educated about the various angles on Animal Rights, you’re able to more effectively advocate for animals. And you make the rest of us look good by association!

It’s not enough to "care" about animals. When about 10 BILLION animals are created each year in the United States just to be slaughtered within weeks, months, or a few years, and that number only includes animals that are considered food, immediate action is necessary.

What are you going to do?

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