Political Liberalism, Human Cultures, and Nonhuman Lives

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


There are a great many minority cultural and religious practices that harm animals. A difficult question facing liberal democratic communities is whether these practices should be legally exempt from generally applicable anti-cruelty legislation. Here I consider two recent appeals to Rawlsian political liberalism to manage disputes over minority practices that harm animals. My analysis draws out the different implications of these approaches by considering how they apply to the case of religious slaughter. I argue that the first approach is internally incoherent, and that the second effectively guarantees the protection of religious freedoms over the interest of animals in not suffering. I conclude by suggesting that political liberalism is not a useful framework for those looking to defend animal interests.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnimals, Race, and Multiculturalism
EditorsLuis Cordeiro-Rodrigues , Les Mitchell
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages59
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-66568-9
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-66567-2
Publication statusPublished - 22 Dec 2017


  • multiculturlaism
  • nonhuman animals
  • religious slaughter
  • political liberalism
  • Rawls
  • animal rights
  • animal welfare

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