“The Rights of an Animal”

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I BELIEVE that when a writer feels himself to have been entirely misrepresented by his reviewer, editorial fairness allows him, at least in such journals as admit correspondence, to set himself right with the reader. The reviewer of my “Rights of an Animal” in NATURE, vol. xx. p. 287, says that, when I claim for animals “the same abstract rights of life and personal liberty with man,” I use an ambiguous word which casts its shadow over the entire work and makes it unsatisfactory. I should have thought “same” clearly meant “identical.” My reviewer says that this cannot be my meaning, because I allow animals to be killed for food and to be worked. He forgets that I have shown how the law of self-preservation overrules the rights both of animals and of men, that it warrants our checking breeding in animals, and that the animals which I allow to be killed or worked were only allowed to come into life for those purposes.

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NICHOLSON, E. “The Rights of an Animal”. Nature 20, 338 (1879) doi:10.1038/020338c0

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