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The past decade has witnessed a major revolution in social concern with animals. Philosophically, this revolution entails a significant revision in traditional ways of conceiving our mod obligations to other creatures. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the social and conceptual basis for what is widely termed “animal rights.” The agricultural community has mistakenly tended to dismiss this new thinking as tkinge and emotionally based. In actuality, it is a natural extension of earlier social thought. The case of new laws regulating biomedical research illustrates the rapidity of social change in this area, as do recent developments in European regulation of agriculture. The relevance of this new moral thought to what has hitherto been understood purely in economic terms must be assimilated by the American agricultural community before the agricultural community can respond appropriately and non-reactively