This book is out of print.
“Speciesism is destined to become the definitive statement of the abolitionist animal rights position, not only in philosophy but also for the law and for conducting animal rights advocacy. With uncompromising clarity and abundant, up-to-date evidence, Joan Dunayer details the logical conclusions of the basic animal rights proposition that all that is required for moral rights is the ability to suffer. Her keen ear for speciesist language and her sharp eye for logical inconsistency provide a wealth of information, insights, and thought provocation even for those who have been active in the animal rights movement for decades, and her criticisms of the hierarchical variety of speciesism still found in the writings of some of the best-known advocates of animal rights will provide a constructive focus for lively discussion both within and beyond that movement.”—Steve F. Sapontzis, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, California State University, Hayward and author of Morals, Reason, and Animals
“With sound science and reason, this book brilliantly expands on the limited views of many animal rights philosophers.”—Dr. Michael W. Fox, author of The Boundless Circle
“Joan Dunayer thoroughly exposes and discredits the ideas and laws that have legitimated and sustained the oppression of other animals. Using gripping examples, and showing an impressive command of the scientific literature, she has produced an uncompromising call for true justice. This thoughtful and carefully written book is a significant contribution to contemporary animal rights literature.”—David Nibert, Professor of Sociology, Wittenberg University and author of Animal Rights/Human Rights
“In this unique and impressive book, Joan Dunayer forcefully develops the most rigorous and consistent definition of speciesism ever offered. She also advances, in significant ways, the case for regarding sentience as the only criterion for possessing basic rights.”—Michael A. Fox, Professor of Philosophy, Queen’s University and author of Deep Vegetarianism
Defining speciesism as “a failure, in attitude or practice, to accord any nonhuman being equal consideration and respect,” this brilliant work critiques speciesism both outside and inside the animal rights movement. Much moral philosophy, legal theory, and animal advocacy aimed at advancing nonhuman emancipation actually perpetuate speciesism, the book demonstrates. Speciesism examines philosophy, law, and activism in terms of three categories: “old speciesism,” “new speciesism,” and species equality.
Old-speciesists limit rights to humans. Speciesism
refutes their standard arguments against nonhuman rights. Current law is old-speciesist; legally, nonhumans have no rights. “Animal laws” such as the Humane Slaughter Act afford nonhumans no meaningful protection, Dunayer shows. She also explains why welfarist campaigns are old-speciesist. Instead of opposing the abuse or killing of nonhuman beings, such campaigns seek only to make abuse or killing less cruel; they propose alternative ways of violating nonhumans’ moral rights. Many organizations that consider themselves animal rights engage in old-speciesist campaigns, which reinforce the property status of nonhumans rather than promote their emancipation.
New-speciesists espouse rights for only some nonhumans, those whose minds seem most like humans’. In addition to devaluing most animals, new-speciesists give greater moral consideration and stronger basic rights to humans than to any nonhumans. They see animalkind as a hierarchy with humans at the top. Dunayer explains why she categorizes such theorists as Peter Singer, Tom Regan, and Steven Wise as new-speciesists.
Nonspeciesists advocate rights for every sentient being. Speciesism
makes the case that every creature with a nervous system should be regarded as sentient. The book provides compelling evidence of consciousness in animals often dismissed as insentient—such as fishes, insects, spiders, and snails. Dunayer argues that every sentient being should possess basic legal rights, including rights to life and liberty. Radically egalitarian, Speciesism
envisions nonspeciesist thought, law, and action.