Modern Believing


Modern Believing (2020), 61, (3), 259–310.


BOOK REVIEWS A. and C. Linzey, eds., The Palgrave Handbook of Practical Animal Ethics. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018. Pp. xxvi, 598. Hb. £129.99. ISBN 978-1-137-36670-2. A. and C. Linzey, eds., The Routledge Handbook of Religion and Animal Ethics. Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2019. Pp. xx, 389. Hb. £175. ISBN 978-1-138-59272-8. K. R. Valpey, Cow Care in Hindu Animal Ethics. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020. Pp. xxx, 269. Hb. £20. ISBN 978-3-030-28407-7. One sign of the maturity of the discipline of animal studies and religion is increasing interest from publishers in volumes that map the field for the benefit of neophytes. Andrew Linzey is making a significant contribution to the production of new work in this field, co-editing these two handbooks with Clair Linzey, and co-editing with Priscilla Cohn a Palgrave Macmillan series on animal ethics, of which Kenneth Valpey’s book is the most recent title. Both the handbooks are identified in the introductions by the editors as projects of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, and most of the contributors are subscribing fellows of the Centre. The introduction to the Linzeys’ Palgrave Handbook of Practical Animal Ethics makes clear that the editors understand ‘animal ethics’ to denote a discipline with particular commitments. The first of these are negative. As understood by the editors, animal ethics rejects first, ‘moral anthropocentrism’ – ‘the assumption that human needs, wants, or desires should have absolute or near-absolute priority in our moral calculations’; second, ‘instrumentalism’ – ‘the assumption that animals exist for human beings, to serve their interests and wants’; and third, ‘reductionism’ – ‘the way in which our moral obligations to animals are reduced to other (non-moral) terms or subsumed under other categories’ (pp. 5–9). Positively, the editors understand animal ethics as committed to the Modern Believing 61.3 2020

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