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An Introduction to Animals and Political Theory

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Alasdair Cochrane
Palgrave Macmillan (October 2010)

How should political communities govern their relations with animals? Are animals owed justice? What might justice for animals involve?

Alasdair Cochrane introduces the most prominent schools in contemporary political theory - utilitarianism, liberalism, communitarianism, Marxism and feminism - and examines their implications for issues such as meat-eating, intensive agriculture, animal experimentation, religious slaughter and hunting.

An Introduction to Animals and Political Theory explores the debates and discusses controversies over what makes an entity worthy of justice: is it rationality, the ability to contribute to society, sentience, or something else? It also introduces and engages with debates about what our political obligations to animals might entail: is it simply not to cause them unnecessary suffering, or do we have much more demanding obligations not to kill, own, or even use non-human animals?

  • Dr Alasdair Cochrane is Lecturer in Human Rights in the Centre for the Sudy of Human Rights, LSE

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This book will be welcomed by all who are interested in the relationship between non-human animals and political theory, a relationship that has been underexplored by scholars. Highly recommended!'
Daniel A Dombrowski, Seattle University, USA

'If only Cochrane had been writing when I was an undergraduate political science student! But this book's appeal will not be limited to students. This is one of the first comprehensive articulations of what mainstream political values might mean for animals - something the academic community has desperately needed for far too long. It's a great read and an important contribution.'
Siobhan O'Sullivan, University of Melbourne

'The joy of this book is the way in which Cochrane simplifies and synthesizes a hige and complex literature, whilst retaining high scholarly standards. It is a must-read for anyone interested in the ethical debate about how we ought to treat animals.'
Robert Garner, University of Leicester, UK

An Introduction to Animals and Political Theory