Animals, Property, and the Law

Gary L. Francione
Temple University Press, 1995

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“Pain is pain, irrespective of the race, sex, or species of the victim,” states William Kunstler in his foreword. This moral concern for the suffering of animals and their legal status is the basis for Gary L. Francione’s profound book, which asks, Why has the law failed to protect animals from exploitation?

Francione argues that the current legal standard of animal welfare does not and cannot establish rights for animals. As long as they are viewed as property, animals will be subject to suffering for the social and economic benefit of human beings.

Exploring every facet of this heated issue, Francione discusses the history of the treatment of animals, anticruelty statutes, vivisection, the Federal Animal Welfare Act, and specific cases such as the controversial injury of anaesthetized baboons at the University of Pennsylvania. He thoroughly documents the paradoxical gap between our professed concern with humane treatment of animals and the overriding practice of abuse permitted by U.S. law.

What People Are Saying:

Francione’s analysis reflects his practical experience as a lawyer who has been at the cutting edge of litigating animal rights cases for over a decade…. [It] is meticulously researched and rigorously argued, but is written with a level of clarity often lacking in books about legal subjects. It is my expectation that this book will provoke our rethinking about the status of animals as property and the consequent denial of justice that they suffer under the law.

William M. Kunstler, Esq., American jurist, self-described “radical lawyer” and civil rights activist (from the Foreword)

Here is a work of unquestionable historic importance the likes of which the world of ideas has never seen before: profound in its conception, execution, and its possible consequences. Gary Francione brings a real world understanding second to none in how American law impacts animals. It will be of interest to professionals in law, philosophy, government, veterinary medicine, and political science, but also among those who ‘use’ animals and those who profess the desire to protect them.

Tom Regan, North Carolina State University

Francione plunges into the maelstrom of the animal rights debate with a compelling and provocative analysis of the consequences of characterizing nonhuman animals as property. This book will undoubtedly spark a debate that will have widespread repercussions for the ways in which we think about animals.

Priscilla Cohn, Pennsylvania State University

Animals, Property, and the Law is a first-rate work of scholarship that deserves praise for its breadth of primary sources, the application of complex legal and philosophical concepts, its challenging analysis, and the quality of its exposition.

Robert Garner, University of Leicester, United Kingdom

Animals, Property, and the Law is a comprehensive analysis of our legal system’s institutional inability to protect nonhuman animals. While other publications describe the “black letter” law of animal protection, Francione’s book thoroughly examines the moral theory, actual dynamics, and resultant ineffectiveness of our society’s primary animal protection laws. Francione has succeeded completely in making his discussion in these areas extremely readable for anyone.

Satya, Volume 2, Number 5

Francione is in the first rank of those who examine [animal rights] jurisprudentially.

Coleman McCarthy, The Washington Post, October 1st, 1995

In a dispassionate and brilliantly argued manner, law professor Gary Francione unfolds, documents, and validates his thesis on the legal status of animals–which is that animals are the “property” of humans and thus receive no justice under the law. [Francione] writes with a style that is clear and concise without compromising the rigor of his arguments.

Vegetarian Voice, Volume 21, Number 2, Summer 1995

Animals, Property, and the Law should be read by every animal advocate that has ever been asked, “But aren’t there laws against that kind of thing?” While talking about the United States, his comments are equally valid in Canada.

Lesli Bisgould, Esquire, Reviewed for Animal Alliance of Canada

Francione’s book is extremely thorough and thought-provoking. Francione’s background as a philosopher and legal scholar is apparent throughout the book. [His] discussion is surprisingly broad.

Houston Journal of International Law, Volume 18, Number 2

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