Rain Without Thunder PB

Gary L. Francione, Author Temple University Press $27.95 (269p) ISBN 978-1-56639-461-1
In legal theory, Francione notes, ""Animal welfare, unlike animal rights, rests on the notion that animals are property and that virtually every animal interest can be sacrificed in order to obtain `benefits' for people."" Animal welfare is rather like ""wise use""--i.e., eat animals, experiment on them, but try to avoid ""unnecessary"" suffering. As Francione says, ""I do not think that we can meaningfully speak of legal rights for animals as long as animals are regarded as property."" Francione follows his 1995 book, Animals, Property and the Law, with a scholarly, sometimes dense but generally compelling argument that the modern animal-rights movement is substantially one for animal welfare that ignores the question of whether animals have inherent rights. Even the more radical animal advocates dismiss the idea of rights as a utopian concept without immediate practical application. Discussing the dichotomy and the blurring of the issues, the book sometimes becomes redundant, both in its reiteration of the stands of prominent animal rights activists and in its analyses of definitions, legal and otherwise. The points of contention are multifaceted and occasionally confusing, but that complexity is clarified somewhat by the addition of imaginative anecdotes. As a Rutgers law professor and codirector of the Rutgers Animal Rights Law Center, Francione is clearly trying to affect public policy, but a more accessible book would have given him a better chance to affect public opinion as well. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996
Release date: 09/01/1996
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