How we treat animals arouses strong emotions. Many people are repulsed by photographs of cruelty to animals and respond passionately to how we make animals suffer for food, commerce, and sport. But is this, as some argue, a purely emotional issue? Are there really no rational grounds for opposing our current treatment of animals? In Why Animal Suffering Matters, Andrew Linzey argues that when analyzed impartially the rational case for extending moral solicitude to all sentient beings is much stronger than many suppose. Indeed, Linzey shows that many of the justifications for inflicting animal suffering in fact provide grounds for protecting them.
Because animals, the argument goes, lack reason or souls or language, harming them is not an offense. Linzey suggests that just the opposite is true, that the inability of animals to give or withhold consent, their inability to represent their interests, their moral innocence, and their relative defenselessness all compel us not to harm them. Andrew Linzey further shows that the arguments in favor of three controversial practices--hunting with dogs, fur farming, and commercial sealing--cannot withstand rational critique. He considers the economic, legal, and political issues surrounding each of these practices, appealing not to our emotions but to our reason, and shows that they are rationally unsupportable and morally repugnant.
INTRODUCTION: REASON, ETHICS, AND ANIMALS; PART ONE: MAKING THE RATIONAL CASE; 1. Why Animal Suffering Matters Morally; 2. How We Minimise Animal Suffering and How We Can Change; PART TWO: THREE PRACTICAL CRITIQUES; 3. First Case: Hunting with Dogs; 4. Second Case: Fur Farming; 5. Third Case: Commercial Sealing; ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Professor Linzey has written many acclaimed books but this is surely his most important to date. It is an exhilirating read and its lucid and persuasive style and cogent marshalling and presentation of his powerful central arguments make it a classic philosophical and religious vindication of animal rights. Feargus O'Connor, faith and Freedom 63:1 The book is excellently done... with exhaustive scholarship, meticulous argumentation, and clear organization, making it very suitable as a textbook... one can only welcome Linzey's latest book, which admirably reinforces why we ought to care enough about animal suffering at human hands to strive to end it. Joel Marks, Philosophy Now Those sceptical folk who doubt that anything of practical importance could issue form a theology department will be confused by this book. Linzey, a theologian and director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, here adopts a strategy of rational ju jitsu... A rights-based approach to animal welfare, he succeeds in showing, is not the only game in town. Steven Poole, The Guardian Why Animal Suffering Matters sets out to show us that anthropogenic suffereing is both real and morally relevant... [Linzey] combines arguments familiar in animal ethics with his own viewpoints - a mixture that provides an alluring introduction to the topic... The book is greatly enhanced by Linzey's lucid style of writing. Such lucidity is much needed in the contemporary society that tends to approach animals via what has been called "moral schizophrenia", within which essentially similar animals are treated in radically different ways based on their use-category (thus, pet dogs are mwmbers of the family, while cognitively similar pigs are food). Consisitency and clarity rarely enter the picture... Linzey offers us a convincing alternative... Linzey's book provides a fine introduction to why animal suffering matters. It could, and arguably should, be utilised by universites, schools and laypeople alike. Elisa Aaltola, Times Higher Education informed and balanced... Why Animal Suffering Matters offers a broad, engaging argument on an important, complex issue. Linzey writes his theory with knowledge and clarity, making this book accessible for newcomers as well as those who are already familiar with Linzey's work. Georgina Lea, The Vegan