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Rebuilding the Wall

Bill Davis


7 Animal L. 221 (2001)
Publish Date:
2001
Place of Publication: Animal Law Review at Lewis & Clark School of Law
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Rebuilding the Wall

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The debate about whether nonhuman animals deserve legal rights encompasses an ever broadening range of theories and strategies. Most thinkers pushing for nonhuman animal rights reject speciesism, which they view as an often tacit foundation for their adversaries’ arguments. Yet almost every current contributor to the debate—whether they favor or disfavor the extension of rights beyond the human sphere—engages in some form of intelligenceism by focusing disproportionate attention on humanlike animals. This essay submits that nonhuman animal advocates must recognize this pervasive intelligenceist bias and be wary of the detrimental effects its substitution for speciesism could have on their long-term objectives. There is a suspicion that some crucial perspective has been omitted from consideration, that the conclusion is as much a product of myopia as of logic.

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