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Rain Without Thunder

Rain Without Thunder: The Ideology of the Animal Rights Movement

Gary L. Francione
Copyright Date: 1996
Published by: Temple University Press
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    Rain Without Thunder
    Book Description:

    Are "animal welfare" supporters indistinguishable from the animal exploiters they oppose? Do reformist measuresreaffirmthe underlying principles that make animal exploitation possible in the first place? In this provocative book, Gary L. Francione argues that the modern animal rights movement has become indistinguishable from a century-old concern with thewelfareof animals that in no way prevents them from being exploited.

    Francione maintains that advocating humane treatment of animals retains a sense of them as instrumental to human ends. When they are considered dispensable property, he says, they are left fundamentally without "rights." Until the seventies, Francione claims, this was the paradigm within which the Animal Rights Movement operated, as demonstrated by laws such as the Federal Humane Slaughter Act of 1958.

    In this wide-ranging book, Francione takes the reader through the philosophical and intellectual debates surrounding animal welfare to make clear the difference between animal rights and animal welfare. Through case studies such as campaigns against animal shelters, animal laboratories, and the wearing of fur, Francione demonstrates the selectiveness and confusion inherent in reformist programs that target fur, for example, but leave wool and leather alone.

    The solution to this dilemma, Francione argues, is not in a liberal position that espouses the humane treatment of animals, but in a more radical acceptance of the fundamental inalienability of animal rights.

    eISBN: 978-1-4399-0522-7
    Subjects: Biological Sciences, Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. Introduction: Animal Rights and Animal Welfare
    (pp. 1-6)

    During the past hundred years or so, until the late 1970s, concern about animals had been limited to assuring that they were treated “humanely” and that they were not subjected to “unnecessary” suffering. This position, known as theanimal welfareview, assumes the legitimacy of treating animals instrumentally as means to human ends as long as certain “safeguards” are employed. For example, animal welfarists argue that the use of animals in biomedical experiments and the slaughtering of animals for human consumption are acceptable as long as these activities are conducted in a “humane” fashion.

    The late 1970s and 1980s marked...

  5. CHAPTER One Animal Rights: The Rejection of Instrumentalism
    (pp. 7-31)

    Throughout history, many people have expressed concern about the way in which we treat the other sentient beings with whom we share this planet. This concern has, in the past several hundred years, regularly given rise to efforts to protect animals through the adoption of laws. Although it is thought that laws to protect animals originated in England in the later part of the nineteenth century, the first such law can be traced to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, whose 1641 legal code protected domestic animals from cruelty.¹ In 1822, the courts of the State of New York held that wanton...

  6. CHAPTER Two The New Welfarists
    (pp. 32-46)

    I argue that the defining characteristics of the modern animal movement are the rejection of the instrumentalism of animal welfare and the acceptance of the view that at least some nonhumans possess the basic right not to be considered as human property. These defining characteristics are recognized both by scholars who have analyzed the modern animal protection movement and by those who support institutionalized animal exploitation. Curiously, the only real disagreement about a distinction between animal rights and animal welfare, and about the significance of such a distinction, existswithinthe animal rights movement itself.

    Although virtually all modern animal...

  7. CHAPTER Three The Philosophical and Historical Origins of New Welfarism
    (pp. 47-77)

    The animal protection movement has for a number of reasons chosen a modified version of animal welfare that purports to challenge the orthodoxy of animal welfare while at the same time claiming that animal rights can be achieved only though reformist measures and, ironically, rejecting the distinction between rights and welfare on a practical level. These reasons are theoretical and practical. As a theoretical matter, the modern animal movement has from the outset been fundamentally confused about the philosophy of animal rights. As a practical matter, the modern animal movement has from the outset seen itself as “radical” in the...

  8. CHAPTER Four The Results of New Welfarism: The “Animal Confusion” Movement
    (pp. 78-109)

    People concerned about nonhumans face a situation in which animals are daily exploited in the most horrendous ways, and those who object to this exploitation are powerless to do anything about it. The magnitude of animal exploitation can be overwhelming, and the resultant frustration can easily produce a mindset that says something like, “Animals are suffering, theoretical differences are irrelevant, and we have to put aside individual differences and work for the common goal.” To put the matter another way, many animal advocates argue that intramovement differences are irrelevant and that, despite our differences, we must stand together against the...

  9. CHAPTER Five The Empirical and Structural Defects of Animal Welfare Theory
    (pp. 110-146)

    An underlying assumption of new welfarism is that welfarist reform will somehow lead incrementally to the abolition of institutionalized animal exploitation. As Finsen and Finsen point out, many animal advocates “see the possibility—or even the necessity”—of achieving their long-term goals, which are “conceptually distinct from the notion of welfare,” through the very “gradual and reformist” means used by the animal welfarists.¹ New welfarists maintain that although the abolition of animal exploitation is the desired long-term goal, it is acceptable and necessary to pursue short-term welfarist reform as a means to that end.

    Advocates of animal rights are not...

  10. CHAPTER Six Is Animal Rights a “Utopian” Theory?
    (pp. 147-189)

    The modern animal movement has assumed that animal rights theory is “utopian” and does not provide a blueprint for incremental change that is qualitatively different from welfarist reform. For example, PETA’s Ingrid Newkirk dismisses animal rights as involving an “all-or-nothing approach” that requires nothing less than the immediate cessation of all animal exploitation and that cannot accommodate incremental change different from that pursued through welfarist reform.¹ Similarly, Animal Rights International’s Henry Spira maintains that animal rights theory requires an “all-or-nothing” approach and that “[i]f you push for all or nothing, what you get is nothing.”²

    At least some scholars come...

  11. CHAPTER Seven Rights Theory: An Incremental Approach
    (pp. 190-219)

    In the preceding chapter, I argued that, as far as conceptual, theoretical, and practical matters are concerned, there is nothing in rights theory that prohibits the advocate of animal rights from urging incremental change on a sociolegal level (changes in law, regulations, policy) as long as these incremental changes do not compromise the status of nonhumans as moral rightholders. I argued that what the animal rights advocatecannotdo while remaining consistent with rights theory is urge that welfarist reform be pursued as a short–term means to achieve the abolition of institutionalized exploitation.

    Here I propose some criteria that...

  12. Conclusion
    (pp. 220-225)

    Scholars who have studied the modern animal movement have argued that a number of differences separate the animal rights position from the animal welfare position. The most important difference, however, is that animal rights theory recognizes that animals have inherent value that cannot be sacrificed to achieve “benefit” for humans. Animal welfare, unlike animal rights, rests on the notion that animals are property and that virtually every animal interest can be sacrificed in order to obtain “benefits” for people. It is accepted in the academic literature and by the media as well that the animal rights movement “contemptuously attacked the...

  13. Postscript: Marching Backwards
    (pp. 226-230)

    In Chapter Two, I stated that certain more conservative animal advocates, led by the National Alliance for Animals (NAA), planned a June 23, 1996, march for animals in Washington, D.C. The promotional materials for the march did not initially mention “rights” at all; instead, they used expressions like “animal protection” and the “humane movement.” I contrasted the 1996 march with the 1990 march for animals, which had an explicitly rights–oriented theme. Certain events that have occurred since I completed the manuscript for this book deserve further attention.

    The 1996 march is being sponsored by a number of organizations that...

  14. Notes
    (pp. 231-264)
  15. Index
    (pp. 265-269)