Abolition or Regulation? New Book on the Animal Rights Debate

Law professor and animal rights activist Gary Francione has co-authored a new book about the animal rights debate.

As a law professor at Rutgers, an author, and a lecturer, Francione is one of the most prolific leaders of the animal rights community. He maintains a blog called “Animal Rights: The Abolitionist Approach” which outlines his philosophy on veganism. He is a personal hero of mine and one of very few voices that I trust in the cacophony of the animal rights dialogue.

The new book is called “The Animal Rights Debate: Abolition or Regulation?” and features Gary Francione arguing for abolishing the status of animals as property, while political theorist Robert Garner argues for regulation of the animal agriculture industry.

The importance of the issue debated in this book cannot be overstated. Whether the movement should move forward purely on abolitionist, animal rights objectives or whether we should embrace animal welfare regulation defines everything from our rhetoric to our tactics to our future plans and objectives.

Francione’s philosophy for abolitionism is outlined in six points on his website. As an activist, I have embraced Francione’s view that every sentient being has the right to live without being treated as the property of another being, and that regulation of animal industry is based on the premise that animals are property. Only by changing their status as property can we ever have an ethical relationship with animals.

In the same way that the solution to the issue of African slavery in America wasn’t to pass laws that made a slave’s life marginally more comfortable. The solution wasn’t to enact a “slave welfare act” that outlawed certain specific treatments of slaves. The solution wasn’t to create a “humanely treated slave” label to attach to human beings to make people feel better about buying them. The solution was to abolish slavery, to fight against the status of human beings as the property of another.

In order to truly alleviate the suffering of the animals we torture, persecute, confine, kidnap, and murder, we must never cease to advocate against the status of animals as the property of humans. As long as animals remain the property of human beings, words like “humane” will always be a cruel mockery to the beings we exploit. 

I recommend reading Gary Francione’s projects, books, and blogs. He offers the most consistent and meaningful insights into the true struggle of the animal rights movement.

Consider this my holiday gift recommendation to you. Buy this book for someone in your life and you can consider it a Christmas gift to them and an even bigger gift to the animals.

Related Stories: 

Rights or Wrongs

Animal Welfare Reform: Total Denial, One Step at a Time

Ohio Dairy Farmer Escapes Cruelty Charges


Photo: Gary L. Francione


Dan B.
Dan Brook4 years ago

YOU can protect and save innocent animals EVERY DAY by not eating them. It's YOUR choice, every meal, every day.

YOU decide whether to support torture and murder of innocent animals who think, feel, and experience fear and pain OR whether to support kindness, compassion, good health, biodiversity, and eco-sustainability.

It's up to YOU and it's as simple as that.



Marcia Mueller
Marcia Mueller4 years ago

Using the Bible as a justification for the use and abuse of animals is just a pious cop-out. For one thing, it certainly makes God look bad--what kind of a loving, just, and merciful creator would bring into existence billions of animals to be placed under the control of countless mean, greedy, and irresponsible human beings? Where is the justice of God if people are not punished for their abuse of other creatures, while those same abusive people believe animals are without souls and without the possibility of receiving justice in the next world for their suffering in this one. Such beliefs are irrational, self-serving, and wrong. The other idea justifying abuse of animals is cultural tradition, for example, bullfighting is a part of a culture and therefore should continue. That is also a cop-out and an excuse for doing nothing in the face of gross cruelty.

Joseph B.
Joseph B.5 years ago

Martha: No Amen yet. Lots of people care. It may not be relevant to atheists or pagans, but the Bible has been used and misused as a source of authority for centuries. That's not going to change because some hate or misunderstand it.

DianeL and Debrah: You both make valid points. The Bible does set up the ideal, which is a vegetarian one. Paradise lost and Paradise regained are vegetarian realms. But it also allows for life in our current, imperfect world, and that includes the use of animals for food and clothing. God allows for a lot of things that he never intended or wanted. But he also sees the bigger picture.

In Genesis 9, God established a covenant with man AND animals, demonstrating the value they have to him. Their use as sin and guilt offerings saved his covenant people and underscored our interconnection w/animals and the horrendous state that we're all in, where death rules as king. Jesus abolished the use of animal sacrifices when he became the perfect lamb offering, resulting in perpetual redemption and the establishment of a Kingdom where no human or animal will ever die again (and where those who have died will be brought back to live forever).

But while we're in an imperfect world, God emphasizes human life first. That's not a free-for-all, however. And humans will be accountable for their actions. It is the IDEAL to stop exploiting/eating animals, but those who do the latter are not under condemnation. Those who torture, however...

Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle5 years ago

No one asked me, but in reading a few of the comments, I see that people are asking other people, how to interpret what god told them in the bible, about "using" animals. I'm an atheist, so can't be too hard on these people, but ........ are you fu*kin crazy?!

We're wondering about live forms on this planet, and whether they're sentient or not, whether they "belong" to a human or not. Let's talk real facts and science, not made-up trivia. Who cares what the bible says about animals? Humans have abused them and used them as products from forever. Is that being a steward of god's creation?

There is much life on this planet. We can look and admire, but not enslave. Each piece of life has its purpose in the ecosystem. We're all needed to make it work right.

Can I get an Amen?!!

Diane L.
Diane L.5 years ago

Debrah, I'll never get into a discussion or debate about religion! It's my area of LEAST expertise. I'm not religious, although I have "faith".......bit difference. I quote a statement made by someone far more in the know as to Bible verses than I am, and it says in The Bible, Genesis, that God told his people to "use" the animals at their disposal. Everything depends on how you, as a 21st Century human, wishes to interpret what was written by other humans 2000 years ago and has been consistently revised and interpreted differently ever since then. I think I'm every bit as intelligent as you, but I'd never try to say MY interpretation of what somebody else wrote 2000 years ago is any more "accurate" than yours. I'm not sure I believe there was a "God" as is written in the Bible. It doesn't matter. You are the one who brought religion into this, not me. If one isn't a Christian, should they live differently? You made a big, blanket statement about CHRISTIANS. You are now contradicting yourself. Fact is, it shouldn't matter if one is a Baptist, a Roman Catholic or a Budhist. If you want to play the animal abuse "card", then it shouldn't matter what "religion" you respect or abide by. If you are Hindu, you don't eat beef, but you let your kids starve to death and die of thirst because your "sacred cows" stand in your rivers and reservoirs to pee, making that water undrinkable.

Debrah McCabe
5 years ago

Sorry, it should have read "if you all quit buying meat, they wouldn't BREED any".

Debrah McCabe
5 years ago

As for whether or not it is Big Ag and corporations or consumers who are to blame for the abuse of animals in the food arena, you are all responsible for their abuse and deaths. If the consumer didn't want to buy cheap meat, then the producers wouldn't do what they do. If you quit buying meat, they would breed fewer animals. If you all quit buying meat, they wouldn't buy any. So really, who is to blame for the pain?

Debrah McCabe
5 years ago

Diane, how do you respond to the Genesis story of man being given every seed bearing herb and fruit for food but no mention in those first hours of existence of being allowed to eat the other inhabitants of the new world? Show me the misinterpretation of that. And what do you say to the Isaiah references to the New Earth and how life will be there (with no death, no killing....). Show the error there. Those make reference to the way the world will be when it is renewed. Seems to me that if someone really wanted to live like they believe God intended, they would strive to live, loving, compassionate lives and do NO harm.

Tell me do, what is the true meaning of those verses. What kind of mental gymnastics will you go through in order to ignore what is so obvious. God did not intend (if you believe the Bible as being the written word of God) to have bloodshed in the world that He created. That bloodshed came about because of sin. If you are a Christian, you apparently choose the sinful world instead of what was first intended.

Diane L.
Diane L.5 years ago

Debrah, your lack of knowledge of bible quotes is astonounding. First of all, who died & appointed YOU the official spokesperson as to who is speaking for Christians or not? You said, ".....Your misunderstanding of God's intention as per the Bible is quite typical of most Christians." There is also many verses in the Holy Bible referring to God's commanding his people to take command of all creatures he created and "USE THEM". One must first of all, take what is "written" as that it is interpretations from humans' down thru centuries, and secondly, not everyone is a Christian or believes in The Holy Bible as how one needs to live ones' life.

You are very condenscending and talk down to others as you are the ultimate authority. Get over it. You are only posting your own personal opinion, which holds no more "weight" than anyone else's.

Debrah McCabe
5 years ago

Actually, one could say that every vegan who quit eating meat out of compassion for animals is living a more Godly life than any Christian who proudly proclaims that they were given permission to brutalize other living creatures by eating them. Go vegans!