Applied Ethics and Human Obligations
Alasdair Cochrane introduces an entirely new theory of animal rights grounded in their interests as sentient beings. He then applies this theory to different and underexplored policy areas, such as genetic engineering, pet-keeping, indigenous hunting, and religious slaughter. In contrast to other proponents of animal rights, Cochrane claims that because most sentient animals are not autonomous agents, they have no intrinsic interest in liberty. As such, he argues that our obligations to animals lie in ending practices that cause their suffering and death and do not require the liberation of animals.
Cochrane's "interest-based rights approach" weighs the interests of animals to determine which is sufficient to impose strict duties on humans. In so doing, Cochrane acknowledges that sentient animals have a clear and discernable right not to be made to suffer and not to be killed, but he argues that they do not have a prima facie right to liberty. Because most animals possess no interest in leading freely chosen lives, humans have no moral obligation to liberate them. Moving beyond theory to the practical aspects of applied ethics, this pragmatic volume provides much-needed perspective on the realities and responsibilities of the human-animal relationship.
This is the first sustained and comprehensive attempt to base a whole account of animal rights around an interest-based theory of rights, and the first to use such a theory to deny that animals have an intrinsic right to liberty. It dispels once and for all the myth that animal rights must be about condemning all uses of animals and that a failure to do so commits one to an acceptance of an animal welfare ethic.
Robert Garner, University of Leicester
Non-human animals may have morally relevant interests in avoiding suffering and death without also possessing comparable interests in non-interference. By drawing on this neglected insight into the specificity of animals' interests, Cochrane's rigorous yet accessible book exposes a false dichotomy that has divided animal ethicists for decades, making a major advance in our understanding of the subject.
Paula Casal, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Alasdair Cochrane argues that there is a plausible theory of animal rights that allows us to continue to own and use animals. It would be an understatement to say that I disagree with Cochrane but he does a fine job presenting the argument and his book will surely provoke debate and discussion.
Gary L. Francione, Rutgers University
...thoughtful and thought-provoking, making it a welcome and highly recommended addition to personal and academic library Contemporary Ethics reference collections and supplemental reading lists.Midwest Book Review
Acknowledgments1. Introduction2. Animals, Interests, and Rights3. Animal Experimentation4. Animal Agriculture5. Animals and Genetic Engineering6. Animal Entertainment7. Animals and the Environment8. Animals and Cultural Practices9. ConclusionNotesBibliographyIndex