Why Veganism Matters

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UPC: 9780231199612
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Authors: by Gary Francione (Author)
  • Publisher : Columbia University Press (April 13, 2021)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 224 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0231199619
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0231199612

Most people care about animals, but only a tiny fraction are vegan. The rest often think of veganism as an extreme position. They certainly do not believe that they have a moral obligation to become vegan.

Gary L. Francione―the leading and most provocative scholar of animal rights theory and law―demonstrates that veganism is a moral imperative and a matter of justice. He shows that there is a contradiction in thinking that animals matter morally if one is also not vegan, and he explains why this belief should logically lead all who hold it to veganism. Francione dismantles the conventional wisdom that it is acceptable to use and kill animals as long as we do so “humanely.” He argues that if animals matter morally, they must have the right not to be used as property. That means that we cannot eat them, wear them, use them, or otherwise treat them as resources or commodities.

Why Veganism Matters presents the case for the personhood of nonhuman animals and for veganism in a clear and accessible way that does not require any philosophical or legal background. This book offers a persuasive and powerful argument for all readers who care about animals but are not sure whether they have a moral obligation to be vegan.


The arguments in Gary Francione's Why Veganism Matters are directed at those who think that animals matter. That is not a niche audience. Many―perhaps most―people agree that animals are not things that may be treated in any way one pleases. Given that starting point, Professor Francione argues that veganism is a moral imperative. In doing so, he argues against other prominent defenders of animal interests who reach lesser conclusions. He does so in the clear, accessible manner befitting the broad intended audience. The book contains many engaging arguments that advance our understanding of just how much animals are owed. -- David Benatar, author of The Human Predicament: A Candid Guide to Life's Biggest Questions

Professor Francione offers a clear and compelling argument that animals, not being merely 'things,' have the same essential right as other 'persons': namely, the right not to be treated as property and used merely as means to others' ends. This goes far beyond both the 'welfarist' view that animals should be spared undue suffering and the more recent 'animal liberationist' accounts associated with Singer and Regan that those animals that are (probably) self-aware and 'subjects of a life' have the same right as human persons not to be treated merely as means. This revolution in human understanding, he contends, must outlaw both the more obvious forms of oppression and even our enjoyment of our 'pets' and 'animal companions.' No-one who admits that animals merit moral consideration should ignore the force of his argument, however difficult it may be to accept so radical a disarrangement of our lives together. -- Stephen R. L. Clark, author of Can We Believe in People?: Human Significance in an Interconnected Cosmos

If the suffering and death of 70 billion land animals and 1 trillion sea animals, weighs no more to you than a sack of feathers, read no further. Veganism is not extreme. What is extreme is the mental daily effort required to be indifferent to the senseless violence inflicted onto the innocent, because they are 'only animals.' Abolition of all animal exploitation, is now a global movement, thanks to Gary Francione’s vision. He saw animals truly as persons, not things, not property, when so few others did. -- Sue Coe, artist

Gary Francione argues with great force and clarity for radical change in our relations with animals. Why Veganism Matters is especially noteworthy for its sharp critique of current approaches to animal ethics. This is a gripping and deeply challenging book, every page of which conveys the significance of the moral stakes. -- Cora Diamond, author of Reading Wittgenstein with Anscombe, Going On to Ethics

In this inspiring work, Professor Gary Francione, one of the most powerful voices against the oppression of nonhuman animals of our time, provides a compelling argument for recognizing the moral status of nonhuman animals. A profound and critical call for ending the institutionalized commodification of nonhuman animals and abolishing all forms of their oppression. -- David A. Nibert, author of Animal Oppression and Human Violence: Domesecration, Capitalism, and Global Conflict

About the Author

Gary L. Francione is Board of Governors Distinguished Professor of Law and Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Scholar of Law and Philosophy at Rutgers University Law School and visiting professor of philosophy at the University of Lincoln (UK). He is the author of many books, including Animals as Persons: Essays on the Abolition of Animal Exploitation (Columbia, 2008).