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Tim Barford from VegfestUK reviews ‘Animal Rights: The Abolitionist Approach’

Tim Barford from VegfestUK reviews ‘Animal Rights: The Abolitionist Approach’

| by Editor

‘It’s a lifeline to the survival of the whole planet, and a must read book for every vegan activist across the globe’

Tim Barford, founder of the VegfestUK events, reviews the new book by Professors Gary L Francione & Anna E. Charlton



‘Having been away for a bit of a break and away from the ever busy VegfestUK office, it’s been time to do a bit of reading and catch up on several books that have been winking at me for a while now. It has recently been a pleasure to read ‘Animals as Persons’, ‘Rain Without Thunder’ , ‘The Animal Rights Debate’ and ‘Eat Like You Care’ in the last few weeks (all written by Professor Francione), and also a chance to catch up with ‘Circles of Compassion’, a compilation of around 30 authors (all vegan, as far as I know), edited by Will Tuttle and published by Vegan Publishers. I’ve also had a chance to read Kim Stallwood’s ‘Growl’ recently, and aim to review them over the coming weeks and months.


But the outstanding pick of the bunch right now has to be the very recently published new book by Professors Francione and Charlton – Animal Rights: The Abolitionist Approach.



The book is ‘only’ 140 pages long and is an ‘easy’ read, in that the language is simple, clear, and straightforward. It’s written in a style that really anyone who can read English can understand clearly. Although the issues are complex, the ideas are simply laid out and anyone wanting to learn the basis of the Abolitionist Approach can do so in an afternoon pretty much.


For those already familiar with Francione’s work, the book is a total joy as it’s a clear clarification and refinement of a number of ideas and theories that Gary has written about for some 30 years now. And for those new to the work of this prolific, crystal clear yet controversial and very challenging author (and his equally well thought out and articulate partner Anna), it’s a really straightforward and easy-to-grasp explanation of the 6 basic principles of the Abolitionist Approach to ending the exploitation of non-human animals.



And there’s also the added bonus of a whole range of links to additional information and essays on the topics discussed, so that you can read up in more detail as and when you wish.


Two things happened when I read this book that stand out. I was on the train a few days ago coming back from Brighton, starting the book.... and having only finished the in depth and through provoking ‘Animals as Persons’ a few days before.....and I had an insight into animals as persons, right there on the carriage somewhere short of Portsmouth. It was like a veil being lifted, seeing through the body of animals into their person, and seeing them as equals for the very first time. Like as in really seeing it and feeling it deep deep down inside of me, not just knowing it and articulating it and agreeing with it. It was illuminating. And emotional. I had to behave because we were in public. And so I have found this book profoundly moving, in a way very few books if ever have moved me before.



And then another thing happened. I was on the BBC Radio Bristol interview a couple of days ago, for around 20 minutes, talking in part about veganism as a matter of justice and morals: 

These are not always straightforward things to talk about in public, especially live on the BBC with a presenter firing questions at you. I found myself talking about the whole wider philosophy of the vegan approach as first presented by the founder of The Vegan Society Donald Watson, who was a conscientious objector......and referring to other social justice movements including the suffragette movement and the abolition of slavery, even back to Galileo. It was emotional. As has happened a few times recently since advocating for veganism as the least we can do and as a matter of justice for others rather than our own ‘journey’, my sanity was questioned to my face.  I’m not sure anyone had ever advocated for veganism quite like that on the BBC before. And afterwards, as I walked out and up the Whiteladies Rd and Blackboy Hill in Bristol, I thought about how Thomas Clarkson must have felt in 1787 when he first came to Bristol to these very same streets to launch the campaign for the abolition of slavery.......and how people must have mocked him.....


....and my mind wandered to how those miners trapped so far underground in the mine in Chile in 2010 must have hoped and prayed that somehow a lifeline would emerge...and it did....and they were rescued...... how in the bigger picture we are in a similar mess, born into and trapped in a cycle of destruction of our planet and so many species within, and ultimately ourselves, and how we have a lifeline... and it’s vegan......



And I realised that this book and the ideas, practical assistance and theory contains the route map and the blueprint within that will get us to a vegan world quicker than any other.


Which is why I would suggest that everyone reads it.

And if you read it, and disagree with anything, say so.

And I would especially challenge anyone who dismisses the work of Professor Francione to read this book. It’s a game changer.


You can get a copy of Professor Francione’s new book at


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