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A legal scholar and animal-rights expert argues for a practical approach to using animals respectfully.
In this fresh approach to the animal rights debate, a legal scholar and expert on the humane treatment of animals argues for a middle ground between the extreme positions that often receive the most public attention. Professor Favre advocates an ethic of respectful use of animals, which finds it acceptable for humans to use animals within limited boundaries. He looks at various communities where humans and animals interact: homes, entertainment, commercial farms, local wildlife, and global wildlife.
Balancing the interests of the animal against the interests of the human actor is considered in detail. The author examines the following questions, among others: Is it ethically acceptable to shoot your neighbor's dog for barking hours on end? Is it ethical for a zoo to keep a chimpanzee in an exhibit? Is it ethical to eat the meat of an animal?
Finally, he discusses how good ethical outcomes can best be transported into the legal system. The author suggests the creation of a new legal category, living property, which would enhance the status of animals in the legal system.
This thoughtful, well-argued, and elegantly written book provides readers with a comprehensive and practical context in which to consider their personal and social relationships with animals.
About the Author
David S. Favre is a professor of law at Michigan State University College of Law. His books include the casebook Animal Law: Welfare, Interest, and Rights (2nd ed.), Animal Law and Dog Behavior, and International Trade in Endangered Species. He introduced the concept of "Living Property" which was developed in a number of law review articles over the past decade. He is the creator and editor in chief of the largest animal legal web resource, www.animallaw.info. He was a founding officer of the Animal Legal Defense Fund for 22 years, serving as president of the board for the last two years. Presently he is a vice chair of the American Bar Association /TIPS Committee on Animal Law and in 2012 was chair of the AALS Animal Law Committee. He has received a lifetime achievement award from the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the America Bar Association Animal Law Section, and the American Association of Law Schools, Animal Law Section. Besides being a professor of law, he served as the dean of the College of Law for four years over two periods of time.
“A reasoned approach to the ethical use of animals that weaves a path between the radicals on both sides of many animal ethics issues.”
—Temple Grandin, author, Animals Make Us Human
“A refreshing and practical perspective on how we should treat the creatures with which we share our world. Combining moral philosophy, logic, and law with personal stories and even poetry, noted legal scholar David S. Favre raises the big questions and offers some surprising answers.”
—Hal Herzog, author of Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It’s So Hard to Think Straight about Animals
“Favre is one of the nation’s leading thinkers on animal rights. What sets him apart is his attempt to find a middle ground between the extreme positions of no rights for animals and a full ‘personhood’ status. I found his decades of work incredibly informative in preparing my own book on the evolving social and legal status of cats and dogs, and I think his book will become a must-read for anyone interested in the evolving status of animals in society.”
—David Grimm, PhD, online news editor at Science and author of Citizen Canine: Our Evolving Relationship with Cats and Dogs
“Building on four decades of legal and ethical scholarship, in Respecting Animals, Favre carefully constructs a middle way between the exploitation of animals and abolition of their use. While so many within the animal movement scream for attention, Favre provides a quieter and thoughtful vision of the way forward, advocating for the creation of positive ethical obligations.”
—Joyce Tischler, founder and general counsel, Animal Legal Defense Fund
“Today’s discussions surrounding humans’ treatment of animals, especially for food, is fraught with polarized accusations and counter-accusations. Favre’s is a calm, informed, and necessary voice, shedding much light, rather than heat, on this important and timely subject.”
—Nicolette Hahn Niman, author, Righteous Porkchop and Defending Beef
“The beauty and challenge of this excellent volume is that the arguments found here about ethics and animals do not fit neatly into the categories of either free use of animals or total abolition of their use. Therefore, Favre’s journey does not permit the reader to utilize ready-made definitions, assumptions, goals, and conclusions as he explores the personal, legal, and ethical implications of ‘living property.’ Even central concepts such as ‘use,’ ‘community,’ and ‘respect’ take on important and expanded meaning.”
—John P. Gluck, PhD, Professor Emeritus, University of New Mexico; faculty affiliate, Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University; and author, Voracious Science and Vulnerable Animals: A Primate Scientist’s Ethical Journey
“In an ever more polarized debate over different forms of animal use, Favre carves out an important middle position that he calls ‘respectful use.’ Adopting a highly engaging and accessible style, he defends the morally legitimate use of animals in contexts such as companionship and small-scale farming, developing these ideas in tandem with his influential related idea of animals as ‘living property.’”
—Peter Sandøe, professor of bioethics, University of Copenhagen