J Value Inquiry
Christine Overall, ed., Pets and People: The Ethics
of Our Relationships with Companion Animals
Oxford University Press, New York, New York, 2017, 295 pp.,
ISBN: 978-0-19-045607-8, $36.95 (Pbk.)
Gary L. Francione
© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018
When it comes to our thinking about ethical issues concerning our use of nonhuman
animals, the only thing that is clear is that our thinking is terribly confused.
On one hand, many of us live with nonhuman companions whom we love and
think of as members of our families. They play a signiﬁcant role in our lives, and,
in some cases, our emotional bonds to them are at least as strong as those we share
with other humans. When our animal companions die, we often grieve as or more
intensely than we do for those humans we have loved and who have passed.
On the other hand, we eat, wear, and use animals. We kill approximately 70 bil-
lion land animals worldwide annually for food alone. The number of ﬁshes and
other sea animals killed annually is not known but a conservative estimate is one
trillion. Let’s put this in some perspective. Since the beginning of time, there have
been—in total—about 110 billion humans who have lived and died. We kill more
nonhuman animals than that every single year just for food. Most animals raised
for food have horrible lives that end amidst the frenzied terror of a slaughterhouse.
The most “humanely” produced meat and animal products involve what would be
characterized as torture if humans were so treated. Most government agencies and
I am grateful to Anna E. Charlton and Gary Steiner for helpful comments, and to James Taylor, the
book review editor, who was more than patient while I wrote a review that was much longer than
what he had requested. This essay is dedicated to our six canine refugees, whom we love dearly but
who should never have existed.
* Gary L. Francione
Rutgers University Law School, 123 Washington Street, Newark, NJ 07102, USA
Philosophy Department, Norwich Research Park, University of East Anglia, Norwich,
Norfolk NR4 7TJ, UK