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'Animal Liberation Now' makes the case for more humane treatment

Fifty years ago, Princeton University ethicist Peter Singer made the case that humans assume they’re morally superior to other animals and that their actions against them are justified.

At the time, speciesism was a radical concept that was adopted by some animal rights groups but was largely ignored by the general public.

But the Animal rights tides are turning. Today, roughly 10 to 15 percent of Americans identify as vegan or vegetarian according to researchers at Oklahoma State and Kansas State University. California passed a sweeping law last year that requires any pork that is sold within the state to come from farms that allow pigs to roam freely. A recent challenge to the law by pork producers was blocked by the Supreme Court. Forty-three countries and 10 U.S. states now ban the practice of testing cosmetic products on animals.

But Singer argues there’s still much more progress that needs to be made on animal rights, pointing to themass extermination of pigs in Iowa at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and the massive growth in China’s meat industry as the country’s population and economy grow.

His new book “Animal Liberation Now” revisits the themes of his 1975 seminal classic, Animal Liberation, and examines how the animal rights movement intersects with climate change, social justice, and more.

From the book’s preface:

Animal Liberation Now shows that despite the greater prominence of the animal movement, we continue to mistreat animals on an incomprehensible scale. This book advocates a new ethic for our relations with animals that starts from the premise that they are sentient beings, with lives of their own to live, who have done nothing to deserve the suffering we inflict on them. This book is a call to join with others to bring about a radical change in the way we treat them.

We speak with Singer about the animal rights movement in 2023 and take your questions.

 

Copyright 2023 WAMU 88.5

Chris Remington