The Animal Rights Debate by Gary Francione and Robert Garner is an important book for those who worry over ethics and politics and the tension of strategy within both. My review is forthcoming; however, Ben Mepham‘s is a good place to start. For example, I thought this was an astute remark.
Without attempting a blow-by-blow summary of the exchange, I doubt that I am the only reader to be left with an impression of a discussion characterised by Francione’s somewhat strident approach, to which Garner responded with remarkable amiability. And while Garner was prepared to acknowledge several areas of agreement, Francione’s only reciprocal response was the single word ‘agreed’, in the book’s final sentence, to the proposition that currently animals endure unacceptable levels of suffering. Not even the revelation that Garner was a dietary vegan, in reply to Francione’s ‘personal’ question, elicited any recorded response (p. 257). A discussion where one participant seems unprepared to concede any merit in the opposing perspective, a condition which is perhaps intrinsic to an absolutist, abolitionist stance, hardly provides fertile ground for intellectual enquiry. Yet it might have been anticipated that the fact that both participants reputedly sought to achieve desired changes incrementally would have provided a sound basis for fruitful discussion.