Professor of Law and Philosophy, Francione argues that sentience is the only factor in determining whether a being has a right to freedom from exploitation. Loss of life is the ultimate deprivation. He argues his case for animal rights clearly and succinctly, and provides answers for commonly posed questions. A key text. 2000. 229pp.
Francione is a professor of Law and a philosophy scholar at Rutgers University, New Jersey. Here, he argues that sentience (the ability to be the subject of both painful and pleasurable experiences) is the only factor that matters in the determination of whether a being has the basic right to freedom from exploitation. Contemporaries of Francione, Peter Singer and Tom Regan, have both argued that killing a human causes more harm to the human than killing an animal causes harm to the animal. Francione argues that they are mistaken. While a non-human animal may never experience the pleasure of playing a musical instrument, writing a piece of music or the satisfaction of completing a challenging essay, neither - the author suggests - will most humans. What's more, people will never be able to experience the euphoria of smelling a multitude of scents at the park, or the amazing anticipation of going for a run which most dogs seem to experience. These are all subjective: we can't say that because animals derive pleasure from different things from humans that they don't matter as much. For sentient beings an untimely death is the ultimate harm, since loss of life is the ultimate deprivation (i.e. deprivation from pleasurable experiences).
Francione argues his case for animal rights clearly, thoroughly and succinctly, without any of the problems I found in the work of Singer or Regan. At the end of the book he has provided answers to commonly posed questions, which I found intelligent, original and highly persuasive. In my opinion Francione's book is the true bible of the Animal Rights movement. It is a must buy.