Abrogating Property Status in the Fight for Animal Rights: Review of 'Rain Without Thunder' by Gary L. Francione
Wicklund (Petra Renée)
Source: The Yale Law Journal, Vol. 107, No. 2 (Nov., 1997), pp. 569-574
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. Gary Francione's Rain Without Thunder sets out to bring order to a discordant animal protection movement. Many pro-animal activists, Professor Gary Francione contends, employ methods that reinforce animals' status as property, thereby ensuring that the law will continually fail to recognize animals as rights-bearing entities.
  2. Francione presents sound evidence that current activist methods have made little progress toward animal rights1. But his analysis falters when he asserts that no one who works within the property structure can secure rights for animals in the long term.
  3. Francione's own reasoning suggests that welfarist reforms, even those attained within the property regime, need not necessarily fail in achieving animal rights2. Instead, they could succeed if they were absolute enough to trump human property rights.

Author’s Conclusion
  1. Francione presents strong empirical evidence that new welfarism thus far has failed. But his theoretical argument fails to show that new welfarism must fail. The abolition of human slavery eventually required (or at least received) an extra-legal rights-based approach: a war that ended the entire institution. But behind the successful end to slavery lay immense popular opposition to the idea that humans could be property.
  2. In the case of animals, until the law begins at least experimenting with the idea of animals as rights-holders, not property, a war remains far-fetched at best. Against Francione's advice, the animal protection movement may have to settle instead for a tandem approach.
  3. Unless animal rightists bring down the animal property regime as a whole, the best chance for the movement to advance may lie with new welfarists, chipping away at property status from inside the legal regime.


Review of Gary Francione - "Rain Without Thunder"

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2019
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

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