In Defence of Animals
Singer (Peter), Ed.
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Back Cover Blurb

  1. Concern for animal welfare is age-old; the idea that non-human animals have rights is relatively new. An animal liberation movement on a par with campaigns against racial discrimination or the oppression of women is unprecedented. What has inspired such a development? In Defence of Animals brings together some of the movement’s most influential thinkers and activists to explain what they are doing and why.
  2. ‘There is much for everyone to agree or disagree with in this book. It may inspire or enrage the reader; it might well do both. If it can be read with a reasonably open mind, it will enable those involved in the animal rights debate to gain a clearer understanding of the perspectives and motivations of others. This can only lead to better dialogue.’
    New Scientist
  3. ‘An invaluable introduction for those wishing to know more about the animal rights movement.’ Animals International
  4. ‘. . . a thought-provoking catalogue of the various arguments for animal rights ... such a broad spectrum of voices presented in one volume is an indication of the strength to which the movement lays claim.’
  5. ‘. . . a cogent, well-documented and persuasive collection of essays.’
    Times Educational Supplement
  6. Peter Singer is one of the most forceful and best-known proponents of animal rights. His book, "Singer (Peter) - Animal Liberation", published in 1975, has rapidly established itself as the manifesto of the animal liberation movement.

Amazon Customer Review1
  1. The book contains a collection of essays pertinent to the plight of animals used for food, clothing, entertainment and research, edited by Peter Singer. Topics explored include:-
    • the moral status of animals and our obligations to them according to utilitarianism,
    • the scientific basis for assessing suffering in animals,
    • personhood beyond Homo Sapiens,
    • animals' relegation to the status of objects by philosophers in the past and factors that shaped the status quo,
    • speciesism in the laboratory,
    • the harm that factory farms do to animals, humans and the environment,
    • the lack of proper justification for keeping animals in zoos,
    • farming practices that have been outlawed in Europe,
    • the slaughter of great apes in the Congo Basin in Central Africa, and
    • a very inspiring section on animal rights2 activists and their strategies.
  2. Contributors include Richard D. Ryder, Jim Mason, Matt Ball, Karen Dawn, Lauren Ornelas and John Mackey, among others.
  3. Gaverick Matheny's arguments for extending equal consideration to sentient beings not belonging to our species are concise and powerful. David DeGrazia3 opened my eyes afresh to the fact that humans are not the only intelligent animals, and that there is no insuperable line between humans and other animals. I found the accounts of heroic actions taken by those who have taken the plight of unfairly and brutally exploited animals to heart extremely moving.
  4. An essential and enlightening read; I highly recommend it.

      Acknowledgements – vii
      The Contributors – ix
    1. Prologue: Ethics and the New Animal Liberation Movement (Peter Singer) – 1
    1. The Case for Animal Rights4 (Tom Regan) – 13
    2. The Scientific Basis for Assessing Suffering in Animals (Marian Stamp Dawkins) – 27
    3. Good Dogs and Other Animals (Stephen R. L. Clark) – 41
    4. Persons and Non-Persons (Mary Midgley) – 52
    5. Images of Death and Life: Food Animal Production and the Vegetarian Option (Harriet Schleifer) – 63
    1. Speciesism in the Laboratory (Richard D. Ryder) – 77
    2. Brave New Farm? (Jim Mason) – 89
    3. Against Zoos (Dale Jamieson) – 108
    4. Animal Rights5, Endangered Species and Human Survival (Lewis Regenstein) – 118
    1. The Silver Spring Monkeys (Alex Pacheco with Anna Francione) – 135
    2. The Island of the Dragon (Dexter L. Cate) – 148
    3. A Matter of Change (Donald J. Barnes) – 157
    4. Animal Rights6 in the Political Arena (Clive Hollands) – 168
    5. 'They Clearly Now See the Link': Militant Voices (Philip Windeatt) – 179
    6. Fighting to Win (Henry Spira) – 194
    7. Epilogue (Peter Singer) – 209

    Further Reading – 212
    Useful Organizations – 216
    Index – 219

In-Page Footnotes ("Singer (Peter), Ed. - In Defence of Animals")

Footnote 1: This appears to be of the 2nd Edition – In Defence of Animals – The Second Wave, 2005. Most of the authors mentioned by the reviewer don’t seem to feature in my edition.

Footnote 3: The paper - "On the Question of Person-hood Beyond Homo Sapiens" – is not contained in my edition, but "DeGrazia (David) - Human Identity and Bioethics: Introduction" claims to be based on it.

  • Basil Blackwell; First Edition, 1985 (1986 reprint).
  • Later editions contain further papers.
  • Part I papers itemised;
  • Parts II and III are less philosophically relevant.

"Clark (Stephen) - Good Dogs and Other Animals"

Source: Singer - In Defence of Animals (1st Edition), 1985

"Dawkins (Marian Stamp) - The Scientific Basis for Assessing Suffering in Animals"

Source: Singer - In Defence of Animals (1st Edition), 1985

"Midgley (Mary) - Persons and Non-Persons"

Source: Singer - In Defence of Animals (1st Edition), 1985

  1. Is a dolphin a person?
  2. This question came up during the trial of the two people who, in May 1977, set free two bottle-nosed dolphins used for experimental purposes by the University of Hawaii’s Institute of Marine Biology'. It is an interesting question for a number of reasons, and I want to devote most of this chapter to interpreting it and tracing its connection with several others which may already be of concern to us. …
  3. … a ‘choice of evils’ defence. In principle the law allows this in cases where an act, otherwise objectionable, is necessary to avoid a greater evil. For this defence to succeed, the act has to be (as far as the defendant knows) the only way of avoiding an imminent, and more serious, harm or evil to himself or to ‘another’.
  4. But was a dolphin ‘another’? The judge thought not. He said that ‘another' would have to be another person, and he defined dolphins as property, not as persons, as a matter of law. ‘… We get to dolphins, we get to orang-utans, chimpanzees. dogs, cats. I don’t know at what level you say intelligence1 is insufficient to have that animal or thing, or whatever you want to call it, a human being under the penal code.
  5. At this point - which determined the whole outcome of the trial - something seemed perfectly obvious to the judge about the meaning of the words ‘other’ and ’person’. What was it? And how obvious is it to everybody else? In the answer just given, he raises the possibility that it might be a matter of intelligence2, but he rejects it. That consideration, he says, is not needed. The question is quite a simple one; no tests are called for. The word ‘person' means a human being.
  6. I think that this is a very natural view but not actually a true one. and the complications which we find when we look into the use of this very interesting word are instructive. In the first place, there are several well-established and venerable precedents for calling non-human beings ‘persons’. One concerns the persons of the Trinity and, indeed, the personhood of God. Another is the case of ‘legal persons’ - corporate bodies such as cities or colleges, which count as persons for various purposes, such as suing and being sued. …
  7. … Thirdly, an instance that seems closer to the case of the dolphins, the word is used3 by zoologists to describe the individual members of a compound or colonial organism, such as a jellyfish or coral, each having (as the dictionary reasonably puts it) a ‘more or less independent life'. (It is also interesting that ‘personal identity' is commonly held to belong to continuity of consciousness rather than of bodily form in stories where the two diverge. Science fiction strongly supports this view, which was first mooted by John Locke …
  8. There is nothing stretched or paradoxical about these uses, for the word does not in origin mean ‘human being’ or anything like it at all. It means 'a mask’, and its basic general sense comes from the drama. The ‘masks’ in a play are the characters who appear in it. Thus, to quote the Oxford Dictionary again, after ‘a mask’, it means ‘a character or personage acted, one who plays or performs any part, a character, relation or capacity in which one acts, a being having legal rights, a juridical person’. The last two meanings throw a clear light on the difference between this notion and that of being human. Not all human beings need be persons. The word persona in Latin does not apply to slaves, though it does apply to the state as a corporate person. Slaves have, so to speak, no speaking part in the drama; they do not figure in it; they are extras. There are some similar, and entertaining, examples about women.
  9. The issue of whether women must be understood as included by the word 'persons' continued even into the twentieth century. . . .

In-Page Footnotes ("Midgley (Mary) - Persons and Non-Persons")

Footnote 3:
  • Legal persons are well-know; I’d not heard of ‘colonial persons’.
  • But I think these examples – while showing that ‘person’ is not semantically equivalent to ‘human being’ – can be unhelpful as such examples of personhood are not even sentient (or even individuals). It widens the usage so that it’s no longer so important forensically or as laudatory as an honorific.

"Regan (Tom) - The Case for Animal Rights"

Source: Singer - In Defence of Animals (1st Edition), 1985

"Regenstein (Lewis) - Animal Rights, Endangered Species and Human Survival"

Source: Singer - In Defence of Animals (1st Edition), 1985

"Schleifer (Harriet) - Images of Death and Life: Food Animal Production and the Vegitarian Option"

Source: Singer - In Defence of Animals (1st Edition), 1985

"Singer (Peter) - In Defence of Animals: Epilogue"

Source: Singer - In Defence of Animals (1st Edition), 1985

"Singer (Peter) - In Defence of Animals: Prologue: Ethics and the New Animal Liberation Movement"

Source: Singer - In Defence of Animals (1st Edition), 1985

"Singer (Peter), Ed. - In Defence of Animals: Other Papers"

Source: Singer - In Defence of Animals (1st Edition), 1985

  1. Speciesism in the Laboratory (Richard D. Ryder)
  2. Brave New Farm? (Jim Mason)
  3. Against Zoos (Dale Jamieson)
  4. The Silver Spring Monkeys (Alex Pacheco with Anna Francione)
  5. The Island of the Dragon (Dexter L. Cate)
  6. A Matter of Change (Donald J. Barnes)
  7. Animal Rights1 in the Political Arena (Clive Hollands)
  8. ‘They Clearly Now See the Link’: Militant Voices (Philip Windeatt)
  9. Fighting to Win (Henry Spira)

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  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

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