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The Philosophy of Animal Rights

A Brief Introduction for Students and Teachers

Mylan Engel and Kathie Jenni

In this clear elucidation of the philosophy of animal rights, professors Mylan Engel Jr. and Kathie Jenni explore the fundamental outlines of the debate over our duties and responsibilities toward nonhuman animals. They also examine how the issue of animal rights plays out in a classroom setting and address some of the questions that arise for both students and teachers in presenting and studying this subject. In two course syllabi, Engel and Jenni place animal rights in the context of ethical practice and the environmental movement. The book also contains an extensive bibliography of references and philosophical resources.

The Philosophy of Animal Rights grew out of a chapter published in Teaching the Animal: Human–Animal Studies across the Disciplines (Lantern, 2010), and contains an introduction to, and appendices on, Human–Animal Studies by Margo DeMello.


Foreword by Margo DeMello
Introduction to Human–Animal Studies by Margo DeMello

The Philosophy of Animal Rights
Preface by Mylan Engel Jr. and Kathie Jenni
1. Introduction
2. Central Issues and Positions
3. Course Development
4. Challenges
5. Benefits to Students
6. Syllabi
         “Humans and Other Animals” by Kathie Jenni
          “Environmental Ethics” by Mylan Engel Jr.
Philosophical Resources

Appendices by Margo DeMello
1. Marketing Human–Animal Studies at Your University
2. HAS Resources across the Disciplines

140 pp.  
5" x 8"

Lantern Books


Published:  July 2010


Mylan Engel Jr. is a philosophy professor at Northern Illinois University, where he received NIU’s 2009 excellence in undergraduate Teaching Award. He earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Arizona. He specializes in epistemology, philosophy of religion, and animal and environmental ethics. Representative publications include: T"ierethik, Tierrechte, und moralische Integrität" [Animal Rights, Animal ethics, and Moral Integrity] in Tierrechte: Eine interdisziplinäre Herausforderung; “Hunger, Duty, and ecology: on What We owe Starving Humans" in Environmental Ethics: Readings in Theory and Application; “The Mere Considerability of Animals" in Acta Analytica, “Why YOU Are Committed to the Immorality of eating Meat" in Social and Personal Ethics; and “The Immorality of eating Meat" in The Moral Life. As some of these titles suggest, Mylan is a “moral vegetarian"—that is, he believes we are morally obligated to refrain from eating meat—and has argued that virtually all humans hold beliefs that, if consistently applied, would make them moral vegetarians as well. He is the executive secretary of the Society for the Study of ethics and Animals, a position he has held since 2002.

Mylan grew up in Alabama along the Gulf Coast, where his grandfather and two of his uncles were hog farmers. Steeped in Southern culture, he often went hunting and fishing during the first twenty years of his life. In graduate school, he discovered that eating meat is not necessary for good health. It was then that he realized that all of the suffering he had witnessed animals endure on his uncle’s farm served no significant human interest. He became a vegetarian as a result. In 1996, he became vegan and founded NIU’s Vegetarian education Group with Lisa Joniak and Ray Dybzinski. He has been faculty advisor for the group ever since. Mylan lives with three cats who graciously share their home with him. He is an avid garden
See all books by Mylan Engel
Kathie Jenni earned her Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of California, Irvine, then spent a year as an ethics in Society fellow at Stanford university before taking her current position at the University of Redlands. She has taught environmental ethics, animal ethics, moral psychology, ethics and law, and other courses at Redlands for twenty years. Her publications include “The Power of the Visual” (Journal for Critical Animal Studies), “Vices of Inattention” (Journal of Applied Philosophy), ”The Moral Responsibilities of Intellectuals” (Social Theory and Practice), “Western Environmental Ethics: An Overview” (Journal of Chinese Philosophy), and “Dilemmas in Social Philosophy: Abortion and Animal Rights” (Social Theory and Practice).

Kathie’s interest in animals originated with her upbringing on a cattle ranch in central Montana and was intensified in graduate study in ethics, when she realized the scope of animal exploitation and embarked on the path toward veganism.

Her life changed again when she discovered Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in southern Utah. Having long wanted to work more actively for animals, she found a way to incorporate that aspiration into academic life when she created the May term course that she has taught at Best Friends for ten years. “Taking Animals Seriously” combines a four-week internship in animal care with study in animal ethics; it won the university’s “Innovative Teaching Award” in 2004. Kathie currently directs the interdisciplinary Human–Animal Studies minor that she introduced to the College of Arts and Sciences in 2008. She lives with eight adopted companions—five cats and three dogs—who bring her inexpressible joy and make her laugh every day.
See all books by Kathie Jenni

Related Titles

  • Human-Animal Studies : A Bibliography
  • Humans, Animals, and Society : An Introduction to Human-Animal Studies
  • Related Titles by Subject:

    Animal Advocacy: Animal Rights

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