INHUMANE SOCIETY: The American Way of Exploiting Animals by Michael W. Fox

INHUMANE SOCIETY: The American Way of Exploiting Animals

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This latest of veterinarian Fox's many books on animal topics (The Animal Doctor's Answer Book, 1984, etc.) is a wide-ranging indictment of current practices and a consideration of ethical issues in factory farming, laboratory testing, wildlife management, zoos, genetic engineering and patenting, and other human uses of animals. Among Fox's concerns are whether vegetarianism is an ethical imperative; whether humans have the right to keep ""companion animals"" (""the word 'pet' is demeaning""); how veterinarians can reconcile their commitment to animal well-being with their service to animal exploiters: how the views of conservationists, preservationists, deep ecologists, and animal rightists conflict and agree; and the fine points in what can and cannot be permitted. (For example, ""Encouraging native people to raise wildlife in captivity for commercial purposes can be justified if it helps protect species in the wild and gives local communities 'cottage industries' that are sustainable and not environmentally destructive."") Fox is well read on all these topics and raises a number of interesting questions, though much of this rehashes existing material. Fox's moral pronouncements, which waver between equality-of-species absolutism, and realistic compromise with human and environmental welfare, lack the rigorous philosophical underpinnings of Peter Singer's Animal Liberation (1975), while his more abstract presentation hasn't the impact of Jim Mason's and Singer's Animal Factories (1980)--to name two classics of the field.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1990
Publisher: St. Martin's