In the past decade, philosopher Bernard Rollin has pointed out, we have "witnesed a major revolution in social concern with animal welfare and the moral status of animals." Adopting the stance of a moderate, the author of this text attempts to provide an unbiased examination of the paths and goals of the members of the animal rights movement and of its detractors. Given the level of confusion, suspicion, misunderstanding and mistrust between the two sides, Guither admits the difficulty in locating, and much less staying in, the middle ground. The philosophical conflict, however, is fairly clear: those who resist reform, fearing that radical change in the treatment of animals will infringe on their business and property rights, versus the new activists who espouse a different set of moral and ethical obligations towards animals. From his position as a moderate, Guither presents a brief history of animal protection and the emergence of animal rights, describes the scope of the movement and identifies major players, such as Paul and Linda McCartney and organizations such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who are actively involved in the movement.
He concentrates on what is actually happening in the 1990s, discussing in detail the possible consequences of the current debate for those who own, use or enjoy animals in entertainment and leisure pursuits. A reference work for students in animal sciences and veterinary medicine, the book should also pose questions for philosophers, sociologists and public policymakers, as well as animal owners, animal and biomedical researchers and manufacturers and distributors of animal equipment and supplies.