Book

Governing Animals

Kimberly K. Smith

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199895755
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950522 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199895755.001.0001
Governing Animals

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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 toward animals, but scholars and activists alike have neglected the important question of how far the state may go to enforce those duties. This book fills that gap by exploring how liberal political principles apply to animal welfare policy. Focusing on animal welfare in the United States, the book argues that 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. The book also examines such questions as 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. More generally, this study asks, what sort of liberalism is suitable for the twenty-first-century United States? It argues that investigating the political morality of our treatment of animals gives us insight into how to design 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.

Keywords: animal welfare; animal rights; liberalism; social contract theory; property rights; representation; social reform

Book.  256 pages. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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Table of Contents

Trials in Governing Animals

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Contracts in Governing Animals

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Property in Governing Animals

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Representation in Governing Animals

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Reform in Governing Animals

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Conclusion in Governing Animals

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