Online Readings

What is all this animal rights stuff and why should it concern me?

The fundamental principle of the animal rights movement is that nonhuman animals deserve to live according to their own natures, free from harm, abuse, and exploitation. This goes further than just saying that we should treat animals well while we exploit them, or before we kill and eat them. It says animals deserve to be free from human cruelty and exploitation, just as humans possess this right. The withholding of this right from the nonhuman animals based on their species membership is referred to as "speciesism".

Animal rights activists try to extend the human circle of respect and compassion beyond our species to include other animals, who are also capable of feeling pain, fear, hunger, thirst, loneliness, and kinship. When we try to do this, many of us come to the conclusion that we can no longer support factory farming, vivisection, and the exploitation of animals for entertainment.
--Excerpted from Animal Rights Frequently Asked Questions.

In a world filled with human rights abuses and environmental destruction, is animal exploitation really a top-priority issue? Read these essays to learn why animal liberation is a serious moral concern and about how animal liberation intersects with social justice and environmental issues.

Serious Moral Concern Is Not Species-limited by Nedim C. Buyukmihci, V.M.D

Animal Liberation Philosophy: Overviews

Root Causes of Animal, Human, and Environmental Exploitation

Science and Animal Suffering
Do Animals Feel Pain? by Peter Singer 
The Scientific Basis for Assessing Suffering in Animals by Marian Stamp Dawkins

Social Justice and Animal Liberation
The American Left Should Support Animal Rights: A Manifesto by Gary Francione, Anna Charlton, and Sue Coe

Conservation/Environmentalism and Animal Liberation
Think Like a Chicken (animal rights/ecofeminist critique of deep ecology) by Karen Davis

Further Readings in Animal Liberation Philosophy

Animal Advocacy and Abortion by Larry Rosenfeld 
Animal Suffering by Donald Graft 
Beyond Might Makes Right by Matthew Ball and Jack Norris
Gaps in the Mind by Richard Dawkins 
Ill-Gotten Gains by Tom Regan
Keeping Species on Ice by Mary Midgley
Peace on Earth by C. David Coates
Xenografts and Animal Rights by Gary L. Francione
The Origins of Speciesism by Hugh Lafollette