Governing Animals: Animal Welfare and the Liberal State

Governing Animals: Animal Welfare and the Liberal State

by Kimberly K. Smith
     
 

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What is the role of government in protecting animal welfare? What principles should policy makers draw on as they try to balance animal welfare against human liberty?

Much has been written in recent years on our moral duties towards animals, but scholars and activists alike have neglected the important question of how far the state may go to enforce those duties

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Overview

What is the role of government in protecting animal welfare? What principles should policy makers draw on as they try to balance animal welfare against human liberty?

Much has been written in recent years on our moral duties towards animals, but scholars and activists alike have neglected the important question of how far the state may go to enforce those duties. Kimberly K. Smith fills that gap by exploring how liberal political principles apply to animal welfare policy. Focusing on animal welfare in the United States, Governing Animals begins with an account of the historical relationship between animals and the development of the American liberal welfare state. It then turns to the central theoretical argument: Some animals (most prominently pets and livestock) may be considered members of the liberal social contract. That conclusion justifies limited state intervention to defend their welfare - even when such intervention may harm human citizens. Taking the analysis further, the study examines whether citizens may enjoy property rights in animals, what those rights entail, how animals may be represented in our political and legal institutions, and what strategies for reform are most compatible with liberal principles. The book takes up several policy issues along the way, from public funding of animal rescue operations to the ethics of livestock production, animal sacrifice, and animal fighting.

Beyond even these specific policy questions, this book asks what sort of liberalism is suitable for the challenges of the twenty-first century. Smith argues that investigating the political morality of our treatment of animals gives us insight into how to design practices and institutions that protect the most vulnerable members of our society, thus making of our shared world a more fitting home for both humans and the nonhumans to which we are so deeply connected.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In this book the distinguished political theorist and scholar of social movements Kim Smith turns her attention to animals and how they are, can be, and should be governed in a liberal state. Integrating a wide range of materials, Smith provides an alternative history of the animal protection movement and articulates a distinctive vision for its future."—Dale Jamieson, Director of Environmental Studies and Professor of Philosophy, New York University

"Governing Animals is a truly fine, important piece of work. It relates liberal political theory to nonhuman animal issues in a very creative, insightful manner and provides a cogent, well-documented argument that humans' engagement with other living beings already is reflected in political realities and discussions."—Paul Waldau, Associate Professor of Anthrozoology, Canisius College, and Bob Barker Visiting Associate Professor in Animal Law, Harvard Law School, Spring 2012

"Governing Animals is a smart, readable entry in the growing literature on animals and politics making a political argument for animal welfare. Highly recommended."— CHOICE

"Zoopolis (OUP) and Governing Animals are both worthwhile exercises of political theory. They raise interesting questions, seek to fill important gaps in our theoretical frames, and advance our conceptions especially in the realm of liberal political thought. They will therefore be of interest at least to scholars who study political theory, moral philosophy, and law. Both works will also be of interest to those beyond the academy. Both are well written, and, while academic and theoretical in orientation, they are readable and accessible." —Tulsa Law Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199895755
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
07/05/2012
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
1,123,687
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.90(d)

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