14 May 2008

R. G. Frey on Animal Rights

The question of whether animals possess rights is once again topical, largely as a result of the recent surge of interest in animal welfare and in the moral pros and cons of eating animals and using them in scientific research. If animals do have rights, then the case for eating and experimenting upon them, especially when other alternatives are available, is going to have to be that much stronger; and those who engage in and support these practices are going to be increasingly beleaguered. Animal rights may not give vegetarians and animal liberationists all that they want, but the existence of such rights would unquestionably strengthen the cases of both camps. Arguments to show that animals do have rights, therefore, are at a premium.

(R. G. Frey, "Animal Rights," Analysis 37 [June 1977]: 186-9, at 186 [italics in original; footnotes omitted])

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