Introduction Speciesism is a book that, for the most part, makes highly progressive, radical and laudable claims regarding animal rights theory and practice. It is unfortunate that its author, Joan Dunayer, not only fails to argue for many of these claims but also borrows them from the meticulously argued-for conclusions of another author, Gary L. If one fails to treat a human animal with equal moral consideration of interests and respect because that human animal lacks traits that are prevalently associated with non-human animals or possesses traits that are prevalently associated with human animals one has committed a speciesist act. For example, if one advocates that certain human prisoners, but no non-human prisoners, be the unconsenting subjects of vivisection due to the mere fact that they are human or because human animals as a general class oppress non-human animals , then one has failed to respect and accord equal moral consideration of interests to those humans due to a morally irrelevant quality their species. The perpetrator in this case harms human and non-human animals alike without any regard, in attitude or practice, for their species.
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Introduction Speciesism is a book that, for the most part, makes highly progressive, radical and laudable claims regarding animal rights theory and practice. It is unfortunate that its author, Joan Dunayer, not only fails to argue for many of these claims but also borrows them from the meticulously argued-for conclusions of another author, Gary L.
If one fails to treat a human animal with equal moral consideration of interests and respect because that human animal lacks traits that are prevalently associated with non-human animals or possesses traits that are prevalently associated with human animals one has committed a speciesist act. For example, if one advocates that certain human prisoners, but no non-human prisoners, be the unconsenting subjects of vivisection due to the mere fact that they are human or because human animals as a general class oppress non-human animals , then one has failed to respect and accord equal moral consideration of interests to those humans due to a morally irrelevant quality their species.
The perpetrator in this case harms human and non-human animals alike without any regard, in attitude or practice, for their species. Furthermore, it is noteworthy that Dunayer grounds her questionable definition of speciesism by arguing that it is not immoral to kill or otherwise harm human animals for the reason that they possess abstract reason, language and so on--and this is so because it is immoral and illegal to kill or otherwise harm humans who lack those qualities.
That is, it is logically equivalent to the claim that killing or otherwise harming human animals who may or may not possess abstract reason and so on is immoral because it is immoral to kill or otherwise harm non-human animals who do not possess abstract reason and so on. Dunayer goes on to argue that killing or depriving any human or non-human animal of well-being except in emergencies is immoral because, as sentient beings, harming them causes them to suffer and killing them deprives them of future sense experiences.
Objecting to this, Dunayer states that it violates the moral rights of hens to confine them to the old standard of 48 square inches, the new standard of 67 square inches, or to any amount of confined space. To a rights advocate, the whole idea of attempting to calculate which causes more suffering --torturing and killing fewer chickens over a longer period of time [with forced molting] or torturing and killing more chickens over a shorter period [without forced molting]--is morally objectionable.
Either way, chickens suffer and die. Either way, their moral rights are completely violated. Any proposal to modify the confinement of exploited hens endorses their property status.
A proposal that we abolish the egg industry altogether as a violation of the basic right of animals not to be used as our resources is an animal rights position. While Dunayer asserts that even a carefully crafted prohibition against cages only focuses upon one aspect of hens being exploited for their eggs, Francione notes that the aspect in question is liberty of movement and completely respecting the interest involved in that aspect of exploitation results in the overall property status of hens being partially removed.
To understand why Francione draws these conclusions, it is necessary to examine his analysis. These pillars are that the property status of non-human animals must be abolished and, when pursuing this goal, the interests of non-human animals cannot be violated in the present in order to prevent the interests of other animals from being violated in the future.
Francione notes that replacing battery cages with coops that afford more movement does satisfy the second criterion, but he also argues that the first two criteria are insufficient to respect rights on their own. In most cases, the property owners will be more than pleased to identify such regulations through their opposition to the proposals.
The problem is that the demand for just about any food is elastic and will change as the price changes. The fourth abolitionist criterion states that if the non-institutional interests of non-human animals are to be recognized, then these interests cannot be violated, or traded away, just because doing so would secure a benefit to humans.
As such, following them in any given campaign to impose a legal restriction on non-human animal exploiters will not result in the complete abolition of non-human animal exploitation. Importantly, when discussing abolitionist criteria three through five, Francione does state that the interests that the criteria protect are interests that the non-human animal would have if he or she were no longer property: If, for example, laying hens were removed completely from the battery cage and placed in an environment where the treatment they received was consistent with that which these animals should receive were they no longer regarded as human property--that is, in a way that respected completely their interest in bodily movement--then that change would qualify [as abolitionist].
If animal interests are to be taken seriously, then, to the extent that the law regulates the use of animal property beyond what is necessary to exploit the animal property, that regulation must be held as eliminating the property right [of humans over non-human animals] to the extent necessary to protect the [non-human animal] interest.
Otherwise, the victory for animals will be illusory: as soon as the rights of human property owners are triggered, the animal interest will be ignored. These incremental measures may be seen, however, as recognizing pieces of the basic right not to be regarded as property.
To do either would involve the rights advocate in sacrificing the basic right of animals not to be property in order to secure a less-than-basic protoright that. If animal exploiters. The battery hens will in all likelihood be placed in an alternative form of confinement. But in the absence of such support for alternative forms of exploitation. Francione acknowledges that the likelihood of a campaign that is consistent with rights theory i.
That is, the prohibition entails that non-human animal exploiters are markedly and exceedingly less capable of using the hens in a way that property-law normally permits and encourages; benefiting the property owner and safeguarding her or his right to use the property in a way that maximizes efficiency of time, owner-autonomy and economic value. One indivisible interest of the hens is being completely respected justly at the expense of the owner losing her or his interests in profit and unfettered autonomy.
They ensure for example that hens receive, as a first step among many, the space that is adequate to completely respect their interest in freedom of movement--that is, the territory arrangement that would exist in the environment if human animals never took any eggs or otherwise exploited them. Before chickens were artificially bred by humans, their ancestors were jungle-birds who nested in trees.
The birds would be free to go anywhere in their environment they chose without any human intervention. There would be no fences or any other system of confinement. Humans would not touch or disturb the birds, save for stealing their eggs from their nests when the birds were away. This would still constitute wrongful exploitation, and Francione explicitly states this. After this prohibition has been successfully achieved, the rights activist proceeds to secure additional interests for the birds until they are no longer exploited at all.
Again, Francione wholly acknowledges that a campaign to introduce such a prohibition is unlikely to succeed at this point in history, and focuses instead on its important educational value. It might be objected that it is not the ancestors of modern chickens who are kept in battery cages. Since modern chickens have been artificially genetically selected for centuries, they are inherent slaves who have inborn traits that would frustrate their ability to survive and thrive in a non-exploitative context.
Since the artificial genetic selection that they have been subject to cannot be undone, the rights of modern chickens can never be fully respected. Similarly, after human slavery was abolished in the United States, the fact that some slaves had been maimed and mutilated entailed that their rights could never be fully respected. Thus, after the abolition of human slavery, the ideal of fully respecting the rights of former slaves as much as genuinely unchangeable  circumstances allowed for was pursued.
Since modern chickens who are exploited in battery cages have been artificially genetically selected for centuries, if they were returned to the jungle they would probably not survive. Hence, after complete abolition, they would be placed in sanctuaries that are acceptable to genuine abolitionists.
Again, although the hens would still be wrongfully exploited as property in this way, their interest in liberty of movement would be fully respected, and this would constitute an incremental step towards respecting all of their interests. In this context, the fences do not constitute alternative confinement systems: just as genuinely unchangeable and unwanted circumstances prevented former human slaves from having their rights fully respected,  genuinely unchangeable and unwanted circumstances that do not arise from the speech or actions of rights activists may dictate that hens who were formerly exploited in battery cages are-- instead of being placed in a fenceless jungle amongst predators --placed in a fenced environment that is the same as a sanctuary environment, save for the previously mentioned exception.
Again, the only reason why the exception of humans stealing and consuming eggs is present is because the prohibition in question is incremental and, as such, it does not result in the complete abolition of all non-human animal exploitation.
Additional incremental prohibitions, however, will together result in complete abolition. Francione does not propose modified confinement. Dunayer asserts that it makes more sense to oppose one entire form of non-human animal exploitation, but Francione does just that: directly in  and indirectly in But this does not mean that the rights advocate is left without an incremental program of practical change.
On the contrary, the rights advocate is left with a most important and time-consuming project: education of the public through traditional educational means--protest, demonstrations, economic boycotts, and the like--about the need for the abolition of institutionalized exploitation on a social and personal level. Moreover, in light of the structural defects of animal welfare, any legislative or judicial campaign will need to be accompanied by a vigorous educational campaign.
I have offered several criteria that are intended to ensure that incremental measures erode the property paradigm, not support it. Although I hope that my criteria are useful, they are secondary to the need for an incremental eradication of the property status that causes the pain and suffering in the first instance. If, however, one is bent on perusing legal and regulatory change then Francione argues that one must follow his criteria in order for the change to be abolitionist. Following the criteria is not an absolute, objective guarantee that a change will be abolitionist, but only constitutes a useful negative test or imprecise guide, and the rights activist must further contemplate and examine whether the primary goal of incrementally abolishing the property status of non-human animals is actually being served.
A prohibition against the use of exotic or foreign non-human animals for human companionship fails to protect native or local non-human animals. Using one standard for foreign species and a different standard for local species is arbitrary and speciesist.
Admittedly, this issue is not clear-cut. If I have no other food source, I--like a polar bear--must kill prey if I want to survive.
Francione examines the classic case of Regina v. Dudley and Stephens , in which four men were stranded in a lifeboat without food or reasonable hope of rescue. Two of the men killed and ate a third man against his protests. By what measure is the [equal] comparative value of lives to be measured? While a polar bear has no capacity to make abstract, reasoned moral decisions and any moral sacrifice that might stem from such decisions, most human animals do have that capacity.
To kill another in order to benefit oneself is the essence of what it means to violate a basic right. If I were in such an extreme emergency situation and decided to kill another sentient being, human or non-human, in order to save myself, I would be intensely aware at the time that what I was doing was fundamentally immoral, and that it would be entirely justified if I were convicted of murder afterwards.
I would like to think that I would have the moral courage not to murder someone if faced with starvation. Apparently, Dunayer has no such scruples. Conclusion I have argued that Speciesism appropriates and misrepresents the animal rights theory of Gary L. The following, however, gives one pause. Most U. On one hand, we claim to treat animal interests seriously. On the other hand, our actual treatment of animals stands in stark contrast to our proclamations about our regard for their moral status.
We subject billions of animals annually to enormous amounts of pain, suffering and distress. Hunters kill approximately million animals in the United States annually. And we kill millions of animals annually simply for [fur] fashion. They work to modify, rather than end, the exploitation of particular nonhumans.
This inevitably requires the acceptance of reformist measures. In my view, the repeated and systematic  way in which Dunayer appropriates and misrepresents these ideas, as exposed in this review, is astonishing. Exposing this situation is important so that proper representation can be given to a moral and legal theory, and a method of effecting political change, that has the power to radically transform human society into one that respects the basic rights and personhood of non-human animals.
Sapontzis, Tom Regan and others, her main source is Francione. If the exploitation of non-human animals is to cease, the activists who bring about this result will have necessary been informed by a consistent, well-supported theoretical framework that was readily and effectively applied to practical situations.
HTM ; S. In my view, this course does not teach genuine animal rights law. See generally Gary L. Admittedly, common sense regarding the widely held moral principles that Francione discusses may be open to philosophical scrutiny, but Francione readily acknowledges this.
See Francione , supra note 9, at xxxiv-xxxvi.
Regan says we should throw the dog over, and other animal rights philosophers usually come to similar conclusions in their own versions of this dilemma. What happened to his insistence that all subjects of a life equally possess basic moral rights? Is the same true of most human adults? Because he believes that birds and mammals are persons, he must believe that humans who eat flesh from slaughtered birds and mammals are parties to murder. However, whereas a dog is innocent, an adult human is likely to be guilty, involved in the unjustly inflicted suffering and death of nonhumans. In contrast, most humans routinely participate in the needless infliction of suffering and death on nonhumans. In proportion to their numbers, humans commit incomparably more guilty deeds act of intentional, needless harm than non-humans.
Leave a Comment This book was the most clarifying for me of all of the things I have read on this subject before. Carol Adams and Joan Dunayer represent a side of the argument that I am most likely to agree with, but also that I think just does make more sense in terms of philosophy. I can see that many people would think that the position of this book is radical or extreme, but I think that it is actually coherent- and that consistancy is something many moral codes lack and so it is shocking to realize the extent to which our lives would have to be changed in order to actually reflect what we say our morals are. Dunayer defines speciesism in direct terms- It is drawing a moral distinction between humans and all other animals. This definition is a lot more broad than other definitions which have been proffered by intellegentsia in the animal rights arguement.