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Interview with Professor Gary L. Francione On the State of the U.S. Animal Rights Movement 


Richard Epstein, a Professor of Law at the University of Chicago , once asked whether the animal advocacy movement would grant rights to bacteria. Similarly, people challenge ethical vegetarians by asking whether mosquitoes should have rights. Perhaps the next question will be whether the horse should sue the horsefly.

 Francione puts such discussions into the appropriate perspective.  By explaining that animals need one right -- the right not to be property -- we place the energy of the movement right where it must be:  into liberating the animals we systematically exploit.

 In this interview, Francione answers the question of whether rights theory is an "all-or-nothing approach," whether it is unfair to decline to assist in providing welfare improvements for the animals who are alive and suffering now, and what we can do to help living animals as we work for animals' interests to be taken seriously in a future society. Francione also speaks to the matter of putting the philosophy of liberation into practice at the grass roots level. Here, Francione reveals his own changes in perspective over the years.

 Francione discusses the ramifications of advocates' shift from an emphasis on sentience to an emphasis on cognitive ability. Then, Francione returns the animal rights movement to the goals we came here to achieve, providing a set of principles that might be used as shorthand for "the moral baselines of a real animal rights movement."

 The interview appears in the Summer 2002 issue of ActionLine, available to current members and new members, by contacting Friends of Animals at (203) 656-1522, or joining online at http://www.friendsofanimals.org/ .

 The interview is also published on the Friends of Animals website at http://www.friendsofanimals.org/programs/animal-rights/interview-with-gary-francione.html

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