08 April 2004

John Tuohey and Terence P. Ma on the Animal-Liberation Movement

Animal Liberation [1975; 2d ed., 1990] has played an important role in shaping the animal rights movement in the United States. [Peter] Singer’s work is recognized as central to the movement’s effort to claim legitimation on the contemporary scene. This legitimation remains, fifteen years after the publication of Animal Liberation, largely absent from the movement. The principal success of the movement seems to have more to do with the rise of sentimental attachment to animals due to their movement from the farm to the urban household than it does with a clear and compelling philosophical logic. The flaw in Singer’s approach is that he seeks to establish the equality of animals with humans on the level of characteristics where he finds similarities, rather, and more appropriately, than on the level of nature where there are real distinctions.

(John Tuohey and Terence P. Ma, “Fifteen Years After ‘Animal Liberation’: Has the Animal Rights Movement Achieved Philosophical Legitimacy?” The Journal of Medical Humanities 13 [summer 1992]: 79-89, at 88 [footnote omitted])

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