Governing Animals: Animal Welfare and the Liberal State

By Kimberly K. Smith | Go to book overview

Thus although this book focuses on animal welfare, it does so with the understanding that human welfare matters and that animal welfare matters to us largely because all of us are deeply interdependent with animals. I don’t assume that pursuing animal welfare will necessarily be helpful to human welfare. There are ways of protecting animals that could make social inequality among humans even worse. But there are also ways of not attending to animals that could make life worse for the socially marginalized. My goal here is to consider how we can design political practices and institutions to improve the welfare of the mixed human/animal community overall. In particular, I try to be attentive to the fact that humans’ life chances are still too greatly determined by race, class, gender, and ethnicity. These inequalities affect our relations to animals, and the politics of animal welfare will affect these inequalities one way or another. Ultimately, I hope that by investigating the political morality of our treatment of animals, we can figure out how to design practices and institutions that protect the most vulnerable members of our society. In short, this work asks how we can make of our shared world a more fitting home for human lives—lives that embrace the nonhuman beings and phenomena to which we are so deeply, intimately, and variously connected.

I had quite a lot of help writing this book. I benefited considerably from conversations on these issues with Sheri Breen, Ted Clayton, Andrew Rehfeld, Kerry Whiteside, Melvin Rogers, and Jennifer Rubenstein. Jane Caputi, Gavin Van Horn, Adrienne Cassel, Bryan Bates, David Keller, and the other members of the 2009 NEH summer workshop on Aldo Leopold were also very helpful. And I would like to thank my many readers for their generous and insightful feedback. They include Tun Myint, Clara Hardy, David Schlosberg, Rebecca Potter, Annette Nierobisz, Chris Heurlin, Lester Spence, David Schraub, Daniel Groll, Breena Holland, and most of the members of the Environmental Political Theory section of the Western Political Theory Association, as well as the anonymous reviewers for Oxford University Press. Mike and Shane Peterson, Marlene Halverson, and Charlotte Laws generously agreed to be interviewed for this book, and Carleton College, as always, provided the vibrant and supportive intellectual community in which the work took shape. Finally, I am grateful to Don Herzog and Dale Jamieson, whose scholarship, in different but complementary ways, inspired this project.

-viii-

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Governing Animals: Animal Welfare and the Liberal State
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Introduction ix
  • 1 - Trials 3
  • 2 - Contracts 35
  • 3 - Property 70
  • 4 - Representation 99
  • 5 - Reform 126
  • Conclusion 155
  • Notes 167
  • Selected Bibliography 193
  • Index 201
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