Long-standing problems of humans harming other humans still command enormous amounts of time in our political discussions, even as new issues like global warming and public health threats clamor for attention. Whether morally based concerns for harms to other animals will be given a voice in future political discussions is a hotly debated topic. Politics, it turns out, has long been extremely narrow-minded. The words “political,” “policy,” “police,” and “polite” stem from the Greek word polis, which means “city.” Since Greek cities were typically walled off from the outside world, discussions of citybased matters and passions were understandably not particularly connected to nonhuman animals. While there were some ancient discussions driven by passions for “countryside” or “nature,” and today in some political discussions people talk of “the environment” and even “wilderness,” the concerns that most decisively shape political discussions still remain humancentered in ways that cause participants not to consider the relevance of animals to much of human life.
The discussions regarding animal issues now going forward in individual societies and their legislatures, as well as in the global community generally, are pushed by a diverse range of