Bernd Ladwig

A Political Philosophy of Animal Rights

Bernd Ladwig

Bernd Ladwig

Bernd Ladwig is Professor of Political Theory at the Free University of Berlin. His work focuses on questions of human rights, dignity of man and justice within the scope of a normative political theory.

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Every year we cause great harm to billions of animals and kill them only to enjoy insignificant benefits such as the taste of their meat. Since this infraction of the rights of animals belongs to the fundamental order of society, for which all of us are responsible, it is a topic for political philosophy. Philosopher Bernd Ladwig, who teaches at the Free University of Berlin, provides a profound overview of the current international debate.

After conceptualising an original interest theory of animal rights in analysis of utilitarians like Peter Singer or Kantians like Christine Korsgaard, he applies it – empirically informed by the research conducted by Michael Tomasello, among others – to the political realm and discusses controversial topics such as veganism, animal testing or civil disobedience in the service of animal protection. Ladwig shows that we owe non-human animals, whose living conditions we control to a great extent, membership rights, but at the same time he warns of anthropomorphising them. No one but us ultimately carries the political responsibility for a justly regulated relationship with animals.


»[...] going forward, [those] who contest animal rights and their political representation will not be able to ignore Ladwig’s book.« Hilal Sezgin, Frankfurter Rundschau

»Even our oh so enlightened societies behave extremely wrongfully towards animals. Philosopher Bernd Ladwig knows that that is difficult to change. But he ensures moral clarity.« Jens Balzer, Deutschlandfunk Kultur

»The volume can be considered a foundational work on the topic ...« Armin Pfahl-Traughber, Humanistischer Pressedienst