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EMPTY CAGES: FACING THE CHALLENGE OF ANIMAL RIGHTS
Book by Tom Regan
Rowman & Littlefield $21.95 ISBN 0742533522
New Scientist, May 22, 2004
David Thomas, a solicitor and chairman of the Royal Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, writes in this review that no one reading
this lucidly written book could be left in any doubt that man's inhumanity to man, terrible though it is, is dwarfed by our inhumanity to other
Thomas says that the question is whether the exploitation is ethically justified: do animals have rights? In Empty Cages Tom Regan, who is a professor of philosophy at North Carolina State University, describes how he
started with the traditional assumption that animals are here for our convenience. He bought his wife a mink hat, visited zoos and ate meat.
However, reading Mohandas Gandhi's condemnation of our treatment of animals led him to re-evaluate his thinking.
Regan examines how animals are treated on the factory farm, in the
laboratory, in the name of sport and entertainment, and elsewhere. The raw statistics - billions of animals are factory-farmed every year in the US alone - bear testimony to the scale of suffering we cause animals.
Science and technology play key parts in all this: not simply in animal research but also in the manipulation of animals' genes, and the design of equipment, to make them more productive.