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Why Animal Suffering Matters published

9th July 2009

Centre Director, Professor Andrew Linzey’s new book Why Animal Suffering Matters is published by Oxford University Press this month. The core argument of the book is that the rational case for extending moral solicitude to animals is much greater than many suppose. Our exploitation of animals rests on a range of “differences” that are supposed to justify their inferior treatment. But when analyzed, these very differences, so often regarded as a basis for discriminating against them, are the very grounds for discriminating in favour of them. When reconfigured, these considerations include:

  • The inability of animals to give or withhold their consent
  • Their inability to verbalise or represent their interests
  • Their inability to comprehend
  • Their moral innocence or blamelessness
  • Their relative defencelessness and vulnerability

When these are taken fully into account, it becomes as difficult to justify the infliction of suffering on animals as it is to do so in the case of human infants. Andrew Linzey offers a radical new paradigm for our treatment of animals, maintaining that animals, like young children, should be accorded a special moral status. The argument is buttressed by a detailed analysis of three practical issues: hunting with dogs, fur-farming, and commercial sealing.

In an advance review, the Library Journal commented that: “This is a well-written, challenging, and important study of a subject that should have a wide readership, not only by academicians, but more so, by the vast majority of readers who are involved with and concerned about animals in one way or another.”

And in a remarkable endorsement, Professor Mark Rowlands (Professor of Philosophy of Miami University) has written: “Andrew Linzey is virtually synonymous with the discipline of animal theology: a discipline that he has legitimate claim to have single-handedly invented. Therefore, we can safely say that a dearth of originality has never been among Linzey’s faults. This book, I believe, ranks as one of his finest works – perhaps even the finest. It is original, engaging, and impressive, and comprises a skilful interweaving of theological and ethical argument, systematic analysis and (mercilessly destructive) criticism of hugely significant public documents on hunting with dogs, fur farming and commercial sealing, underwritten by a form of Chomskyan social criticism.”

The official US publication date is 23rd July, and the UK publication date is 17th September, 2009, but the book is now available, and can be ordered direct from OUP here or from Amazon here. For US media enquiries, please contact Purdy at, for US sales or marketing enquiries, please contact Brian Hughes at, and for UK enquiries, please contact Rachael Huttly at