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18 Women's Rts. L. Rep. 95 (1996-1997)
Book Review/Commentary

handle is hein.journals/worts18 and id is 103 raw text is: BOOK REVIEW/COMMENTARY
Ecofeminism and Animal Rights*
A Review of Beyond Animal Rights: A Feminist Caring Ethic
for the Treatment of Animals**

For the past several years, Josephine Donovan
and Carol J. Adams, together with Marti Kheel,
Kenneth Shapiro and Brian Luke, have been argu-
ing that animal rights provides an inadequate basis
for the liberation of nonhumans from the often bar-
baric and virtually always exploitative way in
which we treat them.' They have argued that rights
are patriarchal and that rights theory perpetuates
human hierarchy over animals. They claim to go
beyond animal rights by importing a concept cen-
tral to much recent feminist writing-the ethic of
care-into the debate about animals.
The duty of care ethic is located within the
view known as ecofeminism, which maintains
that the patriarchal conceptual framework that has
maintained, perpetuated, and justified the oppres-

sion of women in Western culture has also, and in
similar ways, maintained, perpetuated, and justified
the oppression of nonhuman animals and the envi-
ronment.,2 The solution is to eschew the rights ap-
proach, which tends to be abstract and formalistic,
favoring rules that are universalizable or judgments
that are quantifiable3 in favor of focusing upon
the particulars of a given situation4 and employing
an ethic that 'makes a central place for values of
care, love, friendship, trust, and appropriate reci-
procity-values that presuppose that our relation-
ships to others are central to our understanding of
who we are.'5 Ecofeminists reject universalizable
judgments because general standards supposedly
facilitate patriarchy and dualisms in which women
and animals are marginalized as the less-valued
other in these dualisms. Some ecofeminist writ-
ers reject rights theory because it generally values

* ©1996 by Gary L. Francione. I gratefully acknowledge com-
ments from Anna Charlton, Priscilla Cohn, and Drucilla Cornell.
This essay is dedicated to Stratton, who sat here while I wrote.
** Josephine Donovan and Carol J. Adams, eds., Beyond Animal
Rights: A Feminist Caring Ethic for the Treatment of Animals
(New York: Continuumm 1996). ISBN 0-8264-0836-2. $24.95
t Professor of Law and Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Scholar of
Law and Philosophy, Rutgers University School of Law-New-
ark. Professor Francione is also co-director of the Rutgers Animal
Rights Law Center.
THE TREATMENT OF ANIMALS (Josephine Donovan & Carol J.
Adams eds., 1996) [hereinafter BEYOND ANIMAL RIGHTS]. See
EXPLORATIONS (Carol J. Adams & Josephine Donovan eds., 1995)
[hereinafter ANIMALS AND WOMEN]. Luke and Kheel also have
chapters in ANIMALS AND WOMEN, as does the author. See Gary
L. Francione, Abortion and Animal Rights: Are They Comparable

Issues?, in ANIMALS AND WOMEN, at 149. A number of essays in
BEYOND ANIMAL RIGHTS were originally published as early as
2. Deane Curtin, Toward an Ecological Ethic of Care in
BEYOND ANIMAL RIGHTS, supra note 1, at 60. I do not mean to
suggest that all versions of ecofeminism actually endorse the
application of the ethic of care presented in BEYOND ANIMAL
RIGHTS, supra note 1, or that ecofeminism is necessarily
committed to an ethic of care (as presented) as a theoretical
matter. For the most part, however, most ecofeminist writers
seem to accept that the ethic of care is a foundational element of
3. Josephine Donovan & Carol J. Adams, Introduction to
BEYOND ANIMAL RIGHTS, supra note 1, at 15.
4. Id. at 16.
5. Curtin, supra note 2, at 61 (quoting Karen Warren, The
Power and the Promise of Ecological Feminism, 12 ENVTL.
ETHics, 125, 143 (1990)).

[Women's Rights Law Reporter, Volume 18, Number 1, Fall 1996]
© 1996 by Women's Rights Law Reporter, Rutgers-The State University

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