Animal Rights as a Mainstream Phenomenon
Department of Philosophy, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
Received: 21 December 2010 / Accepted: 4 January 2011 / Published: 19 January 2011
The twentieth century has witnessed a bewildering array of ethical revolutions, from civil rights to environmentalism to feminism. Often ignored is the rise of massive societal concern across the world regarding animal treatment. Regulation of animal research exists in virtually all western countries, and reform of “factory farming” is regnant in Europe and rapidly emerging in the United States. Opponents of concern for animals often dismiss the phenomenon as rooted in emotion and extremist lack of appreciation of how unrestricted animal use has improved human life. Such a view totally ignores the rational ethical basis for elevating legal protection for animals, as explained in this essay.