Latest news

New Book Exposes Inconsistencies in Animal Protection Laws

4th November 2011

Centre Associate Fellow, Dr Siobhan O’Sullivan’s new book Animals, Equality, and Democracy exposes the inconsistencies in animal protection laws that favour the most popular, best known nonhuman animals.

Published this month as part of the Palgrave Macmillan Animal Ethics book series, Dr O’Sulivan’s work also shows that protections vary depending on how we want to make use of a particular animal, with the most visible animals receiving the strongest level of protection. She argues that contemporary animal welfare laws make the lives of animals akin to a lottery.

Dr O’Sullivan calls this the ‘internal inconsistency’ and argues that animal protection inequalities offend fundamental liberal democratic values. She argues that this is a justice issue and proposes that both human-animal studies scholars, and animal advocates, turn their attention to the internal inconsistency as a pressing matter of social justice.

The work has already garnered strong endorsements:

‘In Animals, Equality, and Democracy, Siobhan O’Sullivan appeals to democratic values to argue that the way we treat many animals is unjustifiable, even when judged by the standards that citizens of most democracies already accept. This is an engagingly fresh approach to the issue of animal equality, and I hope it will be widely discussed.’ – Professor Peter Singer, Princeton University, USA

‘In Animals, Equality, and Democracy, Siobhan O’Sullivan has provided a brave new perspective on the inequalities of our treatment of animals, not the conventional view of how they fare worse than humans, but a thoughtful consideration of why some animals are treated better than others. This approach will challenge us to look after all animals better, not just the ones we derive most benefit from.’ – Clive Phillips, Professor of Animal Welfare, University of Queensland, Australia

Information about how to order the book is here.