Fifteen Years After "Animal Liberation": Has the Animal Rights Movement Achieved Philosophical Legitimacy?

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Fifteen years ago, Peter Singer published Animal Liberation: A New Ethics for Our Treatment of Animals. In it, he proposed to end "the tyranny of humans over nonhuman animals" by "thinking through, carefully, and consistently, the question of how we ought to treat animals" (p. ix). On this anniversary of the book's publication, a critical analysis shows that the logic he presents, though popularly appealing, is philosophically flawed. Though influential in slowing and in some cases stopping biomedical research involving animals, the animal rights movement in the United States has yet to offer a clear and compelling argument for the equality of species.