Animal Rights: What Everyone Needs to Know

By Paul Waldau | Go to book overview

1
GENERAL INFORMATION

In the phrase “animal rights,” the word “animal” is rarely, if ever, understood to refer to humans. Instead, it is virtually always a reference to living beings outside our own species. Humans are, of course, primates, mammals, vertebrates, and so forth. Since all of these categories are animal categories, it can be said that scientifically humans are “animals” in every sense of the word. Further, since humans clearly have rights (however we end up defining this term), in one minor sense it is true that everyone already acknowledges that at least some animals (namely, humans) have and deserve rights.

But the driving issue in the animal rights movement discussed in this book is the question of which other animals, that is, which other primates, other mammals, other vertebrates, and so on, might also be said to have rights? If the answer to this question is that no others now have them, is it the case that any of the living beings beyond the species line need or deserve rights of one kind or another?

We later turn in this chapter to more discussion of just who and what fits into the category “animal.” Here we turn to some preliminary issues that can be seen better if we look at the other important word in this controversial phrase.

The word “rights” gives virtually any discussion a special quality. Because many people today assume that only humans should have legal rights, controversy can arise when someone

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Animal Rights: What Everyone Needs to Know
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface xi
  • 1 - General Information 1
  • 2 - The Animals Themselves 10
  • 3 - Philosophical Arguments 56
  • 4 - History and Culture 74
  • 5 - Laws 81
  • 6 - Political Realities 104
  • 7 - Social Realities 129
  • 8 - Education, the Professions, and the Arts 143
  • 9 - Contemporary Sciences– Natural and Social 162
  • 10 - Major Figures and Organizations in the Animal Rights Movement 173
  • 11 - The Future of Animal Rights 189
  • Time Line/Chronology of Important Events 201
  • Glossary 205
  • Suggestions for Further Reading 209
  • Index 215
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