, Volume 46, Issue 4, pp 503-510
Date: 28 Nov 2012

Sue Donaldson and Will Kymlicka. Zoopolis: A Political Theory of Animal Rights

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Since the publication of Peter Singer’s influential Animal Liberation (1975), the philosophical world has witnessed a considerable shift in thinking about our obligations to animals. But in spite of this intellectual shift, the idea of animal rights has won few converts, and in light of this, it is unclear how the intellectual project should proceed. Sue Donaldson and Will Kymlicka argue in their recent book, Zoopolis, that the impasse is partly a consequence of the limited theoretical framework in which the animal rights debate has been conducted. Seeking to do justice to the intrinsic moral status of animals, theorists have focused mostly on our negative obligations to animals, such as the obligation not to kill, at the expense of exploring our positive obligations to animals, such as the obligation to provide medical care. The abolitionist view of Gary Francione, for instance, holds that we respect animal rights by leaving them alone—ending all further interaction (p. 78). But as to ...