The Politics of Animal Rights

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This article documents and analyses the key developments in British animal protection politics. It argues that there is a strong case for the philosophical validity of at least part of the animal rights position. In addition, the philosophy of animal rights has had a significant influence on the reinvigoration of the animal protection movement. Despite this, it is suggested that the achievement of animal rights objectives is currently unrealistic, and animal welfare, despite its weaknesses, remains the underlying justification for legislation protecting animals. Moreover, animal welfare is a sufficiently flexible concept to offer the best hope for future reforms, and this fact is recognized by most parts of the animal protection movement.