First published in 1975, Animal Liberation created a sensation upon its release, shaking the world's philosophical and animal-protection circles to their cores. Now, 40 years later, Peter Singer's landmark work still looms large as a foundational and canonical text of animal advocacy. Arguing that all beings capable of suffering deserve equal consideration, Singer contends that the only justifiable treatment of animals is that which maximizes good and minimizes suffering. In examining the cruelty of factory farming and the exploitation, both commercial and scientific, of laboratory animals, he identifies a kind of "ethical blindness" and calls for political action. A moral wake-up call from one of the most influential and controversial ethicists of our time, Animal Liberation tackles an emotionally charged social issue with a compelling rational argument in a rousing and riveting listen.
©2009 Peter Singer (P)2015 Tantor
Even though the discourse clearly has evolved since Peter Singer's groundbreaking publication and the long listing of specific cruel forms of animal (ab)use might feel like taking a bit too much space within this book of popularized philosophy (which therefore should still have a lot of philosophy in there), Singer's arguments haven't lost their bite and are an essential read. For those who are either looking for a horizon-widener, an strife for more depth in their discussion about the relationship between humans and non-human animals, and those who are interested in the history of ideas and discourses within the animal rights movement, this book is a valuable source.
It should be more read as a starting point rather than a finished basis of the discussion, however. For continuation (and partly also refutal), the works of Regan, Francione, Bagel, Nozick, Nussbaum, Korsgaard, but especially the vision of a socially and politically embedded "Zoopolis" by Sue Donaldson and Will Kymlicka are strongly recommended.
I listened to the audio sample, expecting a philosophical discussion about the cognition and mental capacity of animals to justify rights for their welfare, backed by scientific articles. Instead, I am treated to 1 chapter in this area, followed by 5 chapters regarding our abuse to animals, then 1 chapter promoting vegetarianism with 1-2 pages about alternatives to animal protein, concluding not to eat oysters because it's too troubling, with no mention of alternatives such as insects or lab-created animal proteins. It continues with commenting the Western viewpoint of animal exploitation through religion and then concluding. By the way, nice job mentioning Hitler towards the end; way to make us feel guilty.
The performance was great, though. Calm, collected, soothing, and consistent throughout, despite the humorously controversial work.
Sincerely, an animal activist.
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