Animal Rights: A Very Short Introduction

By David DeGrazia | Go to book overview

Chapter 1
Introduction

Acting on an anonymous tip in April 2001, Compassion Over Killing (COK), a Washington, DC-based animal rights organization, began investigating an enormous industrial hen house owned by agricultural company ISE-America in Cecilton, Maryland. After ISE officials ignored their request for a tour, COK activists surreptitiously entered the facility at night with video cameras. The video footage, which COK representatives later revealed at a press conference, shocked many viewers. Those present saw thousands of hens, many featherless and apparently dying, crowded into small ‘battery’ cages made of wire and stacked atop one another. Some birds were covered in faeces; several were immobilized, caught in cage wires. A few of the chickens appeared to be dead and decomposing. The activists, who freed eight chickens judged to be in very poor health by a local veterinarian — are, at the time of this writing, mobilizing a national campaign to ban battery cages. Thus, their target is not ISE in particular, whose facility is fairly typical, but rather the egg production system as a whole.

Such campaigns by animal activists have sometimes been successful. Facing pressure from activists, the European Union has decided to phase out battery cages by 2012. And, in summer 2000, McDonald's announced that its restaurants would purchase eggs only from suppliers who give hens 72 square inches of cage space — almost 50 per cent more than the American industry standard.

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Animal Rights: A Very Short Introduction
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Preface and Acknowledgements xi
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction 1
  • Chapter 2 - The Moral Status of Animals 12
  • Chapter 3 - What Animals Are like 39
  • Chapter 4 - The Harms of Suffering, Confinement, and Death 54
  • Chapter 5 - Meat-Eating 67
  • Chapter 6 - Keeping Pets and Zoo Animals 81
  • Chapter 7 - Animal Research 98
  • References, Sources, and Further Reading 117
  • Index 127
  • Visit the Very Short Introductions Web Site *
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