Empty Cages: Facing the Challenge of Animal Rights

Empty Cages: Facing the Challenge of Animal RightsThe question of animal rights is an emotive one. It divides the population of the world right down the middle with one half of the population considering animals a resource to be exploited. One of the main challenges of animal rights is determining where to strike a balance. Should the world take the position of militant animal rights advocates and let all animals roam free without using them for food or amusement. Or should animals be used for food but not amusement?

The Book

Written by Tom Reagan, the book wades into the murky water of animal rights activism. One of the focuses of the book is trying to dispel the notion that animal rights activists are tree hugging weirdos. He goes on to peel the veil behind the notion of humane treatment of animals. He argues that telling people to treat animals in a humane manner is actually a license for cruelty. Reagan in this book establishes himself once again as a leading philosophical voice in the animal rights movement.

The book tries to moderate the view of the general public on the animal rights movement and sensitize them on the best course of action. It explains the rationale behind the movement and also a justification of the methods that activists use to push their agenda. The book is written in form of a manifesto. In the treatise, Reagan says that there should be a codified bill of animal rights which absolutely prohibits any kind of animal exploitation whether the exploitation is for food or any other purpose.

In his attempt to convince the skeptics, Reagan says that animals like mammals, birds and fish are what he refers to as subjects of a life. As such they the author argues that the animals have the capacity to be concerned with what happens to them. in Reagana’s argument. This is an indication that they have freedom form exploitation. The challenge with this argument is that animals end up having more rights than human beings because they cannot waive these rights. If they do not have the capacity to waive these rights under any circumstances for the benefits of anyone, how can they have rights?

Although there appears to have to be glaring holes in his argument, Reagan scores some serious emotional appeal when he narrates the suffering that animals in factory farms go through. Reagan shows his passion for animals through the exasperation with which he treats counter arguments against the animal right proponents.


Reagan comes across as determined and focused on making the world feel ashamed of the way it has been treating animals throughout the years. It is true that he achieved this to some extent. It is however noteworthy that the vast majority of the people who applaud the book are animal rights activist, they are able to get a well articulate vision of why they protect animals and what the role of human beings in the suffering of animals.


Top Tom Reagan Books

Tom Reagan is an American philosopher who was active in writing. Reagan had specialized in writing and campaigning for the animal rights and in the animal rights theory. Also, since 1967, Reagan was a professor in North Carolina State University.

What are Tom Reagan’s Top Books?

As a prolific writer, Tom Reagan has written a couple of which has struck the world of scholars and readers in a stance. Almost all of Reagan’s books address the issue of animal rights and the animal rights theory. Reagan argues that, though nonhuman, animals also have their moral rights and they should be treated with inherent value and respect. Among his top books include:

Top Tom Reagan Books1) The Case for Animal Rights

This is of the Reagan’s famous books. It addresses the need to treat animals in respect and value. In this book, Reagan goals include the exclusion of the use of animal in science, dissolution of animal agriculture for commercial rights, and prohibition of trapping and hunting sports and commercial activities.

Reagan is opposed in the way animals are treated through being eaten, by manipulation using drugs and surgeries, and also by exploiting them in sports or other commercial activities for money and fun. He is also opposed to how the animals such as cats and dogs are treated with contempt especially by the people who do not own them.

Empty Cages: Facing the Challenge of Animal Rights2) Empty Cages: Facing the Challenge of Human Rights

According to Jeffrey Masson, Reagan’s Empty Cages is the best book in the introduction to the issue of the animal rights. The book focuses on introducing the future generations to the importance of animal rights and fair treatment of animals.

The book also addresses the issue of negative image on animal that is instilled by the mass media, the issue of animal exploiters and the image they depict on animals, and how the existing laws only act to enhance institutional cruelty against animals.

3) Defending Animal Rights

Top Tom Reagan BooksThe book is made up of a collection of essays and ideas from individuals who have showcased their determinations in abolishing animal suffering, eliminate their exploitation, and reinstate the animals status quo. In relation to other movements that have succeeded in the past, Reagan links animal rights with movements such as antislavery, gay-lesbian, and feminism.

Reagan also addresses how human beings are entitled to the moral status and are subject to life. In this light, he chips in to bring the animals into the same context citing their value and need for respect.

4) The Animal Rights Debate

Top Tom Reagan BooksIn this book, Reagan questions on whether all animals have rights. He argues that most of the animals do not live in accordance to the animal rights. Reagan questions the ethicality in the usage of mice and dogs in the medical research and the use of rabbit, goats, and cattle for food.

Through using the animals in various purposes, Tom Reagan, among other philosophers, feels that human beings are not morally justified. Through these acts, humans overlook on the rights of the animals which have been put in place to protect them from mistreatment and disrespect.


Tom Reagan devoted all his life to learning and writing about animals and their moral rights. Together with his wife, Nancy, Reagan led as the co-founder and co-president of Culture and Animals Foundation (CAF). CAF is a nonprofit organization aiming at bringing together individuals with positive concern for the well-being of the animals.