16 August 2023

Making a Stand for Animals

Three brown calves looking into the camera. Photo: Colourbox.com
📷 Colourbox.com

Making a Stand for Animals is Oscar Horta’s own English translation of his 2017 book Un Paso Adelante en Defensa de los Animales. In the book Horta describes himself as “an animal activist and moral philosopher”, and clearly both roles have played a part in the writing of the book. Horta the activist aims to encourage, and indeed provoke, the reader – who is addressed throughout in the second person as “you” – to take up the concerns he describes, helping to bring about a radical change in the way non-human sentient animals (which I shall refer to simply as “animals”) are treated by us. Horta the moral philosopher, on the other hand, presents philosophical arguments supported by more than 40 thought experiments to try to underpin the need for change.

A strong feature about the book, and something that distinguishes it from most others in the field, is that it is accessible to readers without expertise in philosophy. The main text is free of technical jargon. References appear in extensive sets of endnotes, placed at the end of each chapter, which can be skipped by readers who just want to proceed with the argument.

In his introduction Horta sets out his two main aims. These are, first, to present the powerful reasons why we must challenge widespread human lack of concern about animals, and second, to bring about large-scale behavioural change in the ways in which animals are treated. According to Horta the latter is by far the most difficult of the two tasks, and therefore more than half of the book is dedicated to it.

Making a Stand for Animals (URL)