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Animal Liberation: The Definitive Classic of…

Animal Liberation: The Definitive Classic of the Animal Movement (P.S.) (original 1975; edition 2009)

by Peter Singer

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1,316168,910 (4.17)14
Title:Animal Liberation: The Definitive Classic of the Animal Movement (P.S.)
Authors:Peter Singer
Info:Harper Perennial Modern Classics (2009), Ausgabe: Reissue, Paperback, 368 Seiten
Collections:Your library
Tags:philosophie, ethik, moral, tiere, tierrechte, bewegung, schuld, unschuld, recht, unrecht, manifest, vegan, veganismus, vegetarismus, sachbuch, lang:en

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Animal Liberation by Peter Singer (1975)


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A pioneering work which places animal treatment by people withing the ambit of human ethical behaviour. Whoever else deals with this subject, Peter Singer will always be the first philosopher to have confronted, analysed and resolved many of the key arguments. In the past, I can only think of St Francis of Assisi as a someone of significance who considered how non-human animals should be treated. Singer takes it to the next level which demands we change how we conduct ourselves. ( )
  georgee53 | May 21, 2018 |
In the first half of the book, Singer opens our eyes in regards to how we treat the staggering majority of animals today. In the the second half, he shows us the way to a more ethical life. All with overwhelming evidence, using reason, logic, and unbiased scientific reference. ( )
  JorgeCarvajal | Feb 13, 2015 |
One of the more important books in my life, insofar as it inspired me to switch from eating meat indiscriminately to thinking about the effects of doing so. ( )
  Audacity88 | Feb 7, 2014 |
This is an incredibly eye-opening book and the most widely read on this subject. It starts with the a priori assumption that all beings deserve equal consideration, from which follows the axiom of Utilitarianism that the interest of any one individual is of no more importance than the interest of another. "At an absolute minimum," Singer says, all beings have "an interest in not suffering." Because all animals (or at the very least all mammals) can suffer, there is as much reason to prevent their suffering as to prevent human suffering. The fact that this principle of the equal consideration of interests is usually not extended to non-humans indicates that "speciesism" is a social problem at least as pernicious as racism or sexism.

He illustrates this point with the example of our consideration and treatment of human infants, or adult humans with permanent brain damage or with severe learning disabilities. It is generally assumed that we should consider the interests of humans such as these as no less important than our own, though their cognitive abilities are at most no greater the most intelligent nonhumans. Thus, it follows that if we are consistent we cannot deny the same considerations to any being with the same interests. Or we may also decide that it is acceptable to eat or perform scientific experiments on brain damaged humans, too. But we cannot arbitrarily exclude nonhumans from consideration, unless we baldly admit that we are guilty of speciesism, for reasons no better than the prejudice of racists and sexists.

The biggest part of the book is dedicated to exposing the atrocities that are being committed in animal research labs and in factory farms. Singer's research on these issues is thoroughly documented, based on objective and original sources, and provides many little-known mind-blowing statistics. (Around 60 million mice, rats, guinea pigs, hamsters, and rabbits were used in labs in 1965; of 1.6 million animals reported by the USDA in 1988, over 90,000 were reported to have experienced "unrelieved pain or distress;" p.37) Citing this book, Derrick Jensen rightly says it is not for the faint of heart, but its information is incredibly important given the dismal ignorance about (denial of?) these realities.

Striking a weird note, Singer says that in a totally vegetarian world he hopes that eventually "the only herds of cattle and pigs to be found will be on large reservations" but the question remains whether they should be born at all. He doesn't go into any more detail than this, but the reserve idea strikes me as pretty absurd. I don't see cattle and pigs acquiring the status of pets; their domestication was exclusively agricultural. Their companionship was neither the intent nor a consequence of their breeding, and zoo animals are only interesting for their lack of domestication. (The only tenable alternatives seem to be extinction or readaptation to the forces of natural selection.)

He also raises the issue of nonhuman carnivores, and goes so far as to consider whether humans might have an obligation to eliminate carnivorous species in order to reduce suffering. Thankfully he dismisses this idea, but disturbingly not because he finds it inherently wrong (no joke!); he just thinks that humans have thus far demonstrated a practical inability to police all of nature. Taken to its logical conclusion here, it's obvious to me his whole utilitarian system falls apart, and even a logically less airtight ecological ethic (that values whole species and communities) aligns much better with the larger reality. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that the plight of animals used in labs and factory farms can hardly be represented better than Singer does.

In the final chapter Singer responds to his detractors. He includes a great refutation of the Carrot juice is murder! claim that that we must either cause suffering or starve, which is too clever not to share: Even if plants can feel pain just like animals, it still makes more sense not to eat flesh if we don't want to inflict pain. This is because, by eating an animal, we are "responsible for the indirect destruction of at least ten times as many plants" (100 calories of an animal's flesh required his/her consumption of at least 1000 calories). If carrot juice is murder, then rabbit stew is genocide. ( )
1 vote dmac7 | Jun 14, 2013 |
I read this book for some background research. A philosopher with a specialty in ethics, Singer discusses "specieism" (prejudice toward non-human animals) and offers vivid accounts of its most gruesome by-products--chilling, horrific documentation of animals victimized in military, scientific, and consumer product research, and the gut-wrenching realities of factory farming. Singer makes a well-reasoned, compelling argument for vegetarianism and veganism, but I'm not yet ready to make that leap. Enlightening, provocative, troubling, and consciousness-raising. ( )
  Sullywriter | Apr 3, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060011572, Paperback)

The Book That Started A Revolution

Since its original publication in 1975, this groundbreaking work has awakened millions of concerned men and women to the shocking abuse of animals everywhere -- inspiring a worldwide movement to eliminate much of the cruel and unnecessary laboratory animal experimentation of years past.

In this newly revised and expanded edition, author Peter Singer exposes the chilling realities of today's "factory forms" and product-testing procedures -- offering sound, humane solutions to what has become a profound environmental and social as well as moral issue. An important and persuasive appeal to conscience, fairness, decency and justice, Animal Liberation is essential reading for the supporter and the skeptic alike.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:21 -0400)

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From the Publisher: Since its original publication in 1975, this groundbreaking work has awakened millions of people to the existence of "speciesism"-our systematic disregard of nonhuman animals-inspiring a worldwide movement to transform our attitudes to animals and eliminate the cruelty we inflict on them. In Animal Liberation, author Peter Singer exposes the chilling realities of today's "factory farms" and product-testing procedures-destroying the spurious justifications behind them, and offering alternatives to what has become a profound environmental and social as well as moral issue. An important and persuasive appeal to conscience, fairness, decency, and justice, it is essential reading for the supporter and the skeptic alike.… (more)

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