It’s not new that the animal rights movement mostly focuses on what humans mustn’t do to animals but doesn’t really offer serious suggestions regarding what humans should do with animals, and that it basically ignores entire issues regarding animals. In recent years some political philosophers are trying to fill this vacuum. Traditionally, animals were totally disregarded in political philosophy but it is starting to change, especially in the last 15 years. Probably the most famous political thesis is the one presented in the book Zoopolis, which was published exactly a decade ago. Therefore Zoopolis will be in the center of the following discussion regarding political thesis about humans relations with animals.
Zoopolis offers a new model for human-animal relations, one which is based on a political theory rather than on an ethical one. Sue Donaldson and Will Kymlicka, the book’s authors, argue that humans have different obligations to different animals according to the relations they have with them. Based on that premise they suggest employing concepts from the Citizenship Theory. Therefore, the framework is that domesticated animals should be recognized as full citizens of humans’ communities, wild animals who live outside of humans’ communities should be recognized as members of their own sovereign communities, and non-domesticated animals who live within humans’ communities (whom they call “liminal” animals) as denizens which means they are recognized as residents of humans’ communities, but not as full citizens.
Before elaborating on the theory and on each category, it is important to address the origin and motive behind it. Intuitively it may seem as if it is aimed for a post-institutionalized exploitation world, and/or is a result of frustration that so far political philosophy had contributed very little to the status of nonhuman animals. Although both things are true in the sense that the authors are coming from the realm of political philosophy, and that they are also motivated by the need for a sustainable and just model for human-animal relations the day after factory farms are gone, these are not the main motives. The central claim of the book is that the animal rights movement is failing, and that it fails because the animal rights theory is lacking and has some structural problems:
“The animal advocacy movement is at an impasse. The familiar strategies and arguments for articulating issues and mobilizing public opinion around animal welfare, developed over the past 180 years, have had some success, on some issues. But the built-in limits of these strategies have increasingly become clear, leaving us unable to address, or even to identify, some of the most serious ethical challenges in our relations with animals. Our aim in this book is to offer a new framework, one that takes ‘the animal question’ as a central issue for how we theorize the nature of our political community, and its ideas of citizenship, justice, and human rights. This new framework, we believe, opens up new possibilities, conceptually and politically, for overcoming current roadblocks to progressive change.”
The following post, which is the first in a series of posts dedicated to a critical review of Zoopolis, would focus on the claim that the animal rights movement’s problem is the animal rights theory, as well as the general idea of humans’ different obligations to different animals according to the relations humans have with them. The next four parts would focus on each citizenship category according to the books’ order, so the next part, as well as the one following it would be dedicated to domesticated animals, the fourth part to wild animals, and the fifth and last part to “liminal” animals.
An Anthropocentric Division Perpetuating Human Rule
The very idea of categorizing animals on the basis of their relations with humans is anthropocentric. The relation to animals must be based upon animals’ independent qualities, not upon humans’ relations with them. It is supposed to be based on who the animals are in themselves, not who the animals are for humans.
Since it is human tyrannical occupation of the planet which created the grounds for such segmentation in the first place, it is wrong to base human-animal relations on it, even if the motive is undoubtedly positive such as in the case of Zoopolis.
All animals were “wild” before the human animals conquered the whole world. The grounds for this division is derived from humans’ domestication of many animals, and from humans’ absolute takeover of the planet which caused many other animals to have no other option but to try and live near humans.
This division is a result of violent invasion to animals’ bodies, minds and habitats. And going along with a division based on human domination is anthropocentric.
Even among the human race alone, the relational obligations model is very problematic, in theory and practice (problems of nationalism, classism, immigration, refugees and etc.), and it is even more so when it comes to animals which humans have unquestionably put in this position in the first place. To set the criterion on the basis of geographic location, dependency, and relation to humans is extremely problematic, anthropocentric and unjust.
Searching for historical justice for animals or for just political relations with animals is supposed to require cutting off humans’ domination – by cutting off all the sorts of animals’ dependencies on humans, and by cutting off humans’ control of the whole planet, and by cutting off human population.
What animals would have probably asked of humans if they could, after that they would stop systematically abusing them of course, is to have their independence and their homes back. So the demand must be that humans would go back to being just another species, just another monkey. That would be closer to historical justice and to just relations between humans and other animals. But that is not even imaginable, not even by the theorists who aspire for a revision in and constitution of just relations between humans and nonhumans.
During an interview Will Kymlicka was asked won’t this require an end to some forms of economic growth as well as an end to human population growth? And Kymlicka replied Yes, to both questions. However, this was his full answer: “While it might be possible for humans to live sustainably, at current population levels, on the lands that we already occupy, this would be enormously challenging. It probably makes a lot more sense to gradually reduce our population: a) by making sure that girls and women have full access to education, employment, health care, and contraception—policies which have proven their effectiveness in reducing population growth to replacement or below-replacement levels; and b) by challenging excessively pro-natal policies and norms.”
That is while obviously he should have replied that humans must at least restrict their reproduction to one child policy, at least for several decades, conduct an extensive reduction in human living areas aiming at a serious restriction of humans’ global spread, initiate a global massive and safe dismantling of the numerous polluting and other ways damaging facilities they have built along the years, make climate change the most important human mission in the following decades and etc., but he didn’t. He made do with education for responsible reproduction.
Considering humans’ infinite harm toll all along history, what kind of justice is it to make do with not systematically intensifying these harms? There are over 7.8 billion humans. The human population needs to be about one thousandth of that to even start talking about justice.
As earlier mentioned the authors’ point of departure is that the animal rights movement is failing:
“factory farm system keeps growing to meet (and fuel) the demand for meat. World meat production has tripled since 1980, to the point that humans today kill 56 billion animals per year for food (not including aquatic animals). Meat production is expected to double again by 2050, according to the UN report Livestock’s Long Shadow (UN 2006). And corporations-always looking to cut costs or to find new products-constantly search for new ways to exploit animals more efficiently in manufacturing, agriculture, research, and entertainment.
These global trends are truly catastrophic, dwarfing the modest victories achieved through animal welfare reforms, and there is no sign that these trends will change. For the foreseeable future, we can expect more and more animals every year to be bred, confined, tortured, exploited, and killed to satisfy human desires.”
On that, unfortunately, we must agree. It is where they put the blame for the failure which we highly disagree with. They put the blame for the failure of gaining animals with rights, on the Animal Rights Theory (ART). They criticize the animal rights theory for aspiring for a total separation from animals, an idea they find unattainable and unjust. They argue that according to the animal rights theory: “the development of a theory of positive relational rights is unnecessary since, once the abolition of animal exploitation is achieved, domesticated animals will cease to exist, and wild animals will be left alone to lead their separate lives.”
However, they claim that: “In the classical model of ART, there is only one acceptable relationship to animals: treating animals ethically means leaving them alone, not interfering with their negative rights to life and liberty. In our view, non-intervention is indeed appropriate in some cases-particularly in relation to certain wild animals who live far from human settlement and activity. But it is hopelessly inadequate in many other cases, where animals and humans are connected through dense bonds of interdependence and shared habitat.”
“In our view, limiting ART to a set of negative rights is not only unsustainable intellectually, it is also damaging politically, since it deprives ART of a positive conception of human-animal interaction. Recognizing relation-specific positive duties may make ART more demanding, but in another sense, it also makes it a much more appealing approach. After all, humans do not exist outside of nature, cut off from contact with the animal world. On the contrary, throughout history, and in all cultures, there is a clear tendency perhaps even a human need-to develop relationships and bonds with animals (and vice versa)-quite apart from the history of exploitation. Humans have always had animal companions, for example. And from the first paintings at Chauvet and Lascaux, animals have preoccupied human artists, scientists, and myth-makers. Animals have ‘made us human’, in Paul Shepard’s phrase (Shepard 1997).”
Animals’ alleged preference to live with humans is false. That is even in the case of dogs as the reason dogs like humans’ company is because they were selected according to their liking of humans. That doesn’t reflect natural affection but artificial selection. They are built to prefer humans. And it is not very convincing to claim that some animals should live with humans as evidently they prefer to live with humans after they were selected according to this preference and dependency. That does not solve an historical injustice but perpetuates it.
Furthermore, it is not very likely that wolves would prefer human company over a wolf pack. Even feral dogs (who are most of the dogs in the world) prefer their alike and not human company.
Maybe some animals who are depended upon humans prefer to live with them but why should animals be depended upon humans in the first place?
If Donaldson and Kymlicka were right about humans’ natural tendency to connect with animals, it should have been common, widespread, and universal. But this is not the case. The anthropologist Donald Brown of the University of California compiled a list of nearly 400 human universal behaviors that ranged from thumb-sucking to beliefs about death. While “Interest in bioforms” appears on the list, “pet-keeping” is absent. In many parts of the world most people do not form close bonds with animals.
And even if humans truly had a tendency to develop relationships and bonds with animals, the basis for these relations has always been exploitative, even when it comes to animal companions, an issue we’ll elaborate about in the next part of this series.
And the paintings they refer to are also of exploitive content, usually hunting.
To suggest that humans and animals must not live separately because humans have a tendency to develop relationships and bonds with animals is to treat animals as objects for humans’ needs in the best case and to perpetuate their systematic exploitation in the worst case.
The reason animal rights activists seek for separation between humans and other animals is not necessarily because they don’t want to develop relationships and bonds with animals, but because they want to protect animals from exploitative relationships with humans. And they have the entire history of the human race as precedent for this fear.
Donaldson and Kymlicka are aware of this fear and therefore write:
“To be sure, this human impulse for contact with the animal world-our ‘special relationships’ with animals as companions, icons, and myths-has usually taken a destructive form, forcing animals to participate in human society on our terms, for our benefit. But it is also true that this impulse for contact motivates much of the animal advocacy movement.”
That claim is despite that they themselves argue that they wrote this book in the first place because of the failure of the animal rights movement, so if the impulse for contact they are talking about had so far failed to protect animals from the destructive form of the very same impulse, we fail to see the justification for encouraging and supporting human relations with animals.
The claim that the impulse for contact motivates much of the animal advocacy movement is like suggesting that the historical antislavery movement was consisted of “Negro lovers”. Animal rights activists are not “animal lovers” but are freedom and justice fighters. Loving animals is not necessary for one to argue that animals deserve ethical treatment.
Furthermore, although it is very intuitive to assume that the animal advocacy movement has its roots in the impulse for contact with animals, as we claimed in the post about Norbert Alias, historically this claim is wrong.
Another claim in favor of relationships between humans and animals is the following:
“If ART insists that all such relationships must be abolished, it risks alienating many of its potential allies in the campaign for animal justice. It also risks giving ammunition to anti-ART organizations, which delight in citing ‘anti-pet’ statements by AR advocates, and using these statements to argue that the true agenda of the animal rights movement is to sever all human-animal relationships.”
Again they suggest an objectification of animals, treating them as platforms for convincing other humans that these “platforms” actually deserve rights. It is speciesist to suggest that because humans might use the argument against speciesism as an excuse to remain speciesist, we should also be speciesist.
Must we not advocate against animal dependency on humans because humans might use it against activists? Should millions of dogs be imprisoned in puppy mills because humans might be alienated by animal rights activists who claim that humans mustn’t own other animals as pets? Should tens of millions of cats be hit by cars, die of hunger, dehydration, diseases and what not so speciesist humans would not be alienated?
But Donaldson and Kymlicka insist and argue that the appropriate response to humans’ hypocrisy (letting some animals sleep in their beds while others are on their plates) is not to reduce the level of care they give to companion animals, but rather to treat all domesticated animals as citizens, with the full benefits and responsibilities of membership.
They write: “Equal concern and respect for all citizens is not a sentimental indulgence, but a matter of justice. The love and care that many humans direct to their animal companions is not misdirected sentiment to be despised, but a powerful moral force to be harnessed and expanded.”
No animal activist thinks that humans shouldn’t treat their companion animals the best way they can. That would be ridiculous. The idea is to point at humans’ hypocrisy in order to encourage them to rethink their treatment of other animals, not to criticize them for the alleged exaggerated love they share with their companion animals.
And many activists are trying to use humans’ sentiment to some animals in order to raise their awareness towards their harm to other animals, as Donaldson and Kymlicka suggest that they should. The problem is not that activists are not trying to show humans their hypocrisy, the problem is that humans prefer to stay hypocrites.
“In our view, the abolitionist/extinctionist call to end all relations with domesticated animals has been a strategic disaster for the AR movement. After all, many people have come to their concern for animal rights precisely through their relationship with a companion animal, which has opened their eyes to the rich individuality of animals’ lives, and to the possibility of a relationship with animals that is not based on exploitation. To insist that support for AR requires condemning all such relationships is to alienate many potential supporters.”
Because every once in a while we hear stories about vegans who one day made the connection between the dog they love and the animals they eat, we tend to think that this story is common. But we are misled to think so because we hear the stories of humans who have become vegans because of their dogs, and not the stories of humans who haven’t become vegans despite having a dog. Clearly there are more humans who have or had a dog yet they are non-vegans than there are humans who became vegans because of their dog. So even if it was true that living with a dog or a cat was such a crucial factor and these people wouldn’t have become vegan had they never had a dog or a cat, still the statistics don’t support this argument. And the idea of using animals as means to other ends is very problematic, as what exactly is suggested, to keep breeding cats and dogs because that might function as a bridge to veganism?
This suggestion is also very speciesist since currently most dogs are not vegan, so not only that dogs would serve as means to others ends, but more importantly some “farm animals” would be abused to feed some dogs so these dogs might serve some other “farm animals” by maybe convincing their human companion to go vegan.
For some humans the existence of animals that humans like, doesn’t function as a bridge to humans developing compassion towards other animals as well, but the other way around. Once they have identified themselves as animal lovers or at least not as humans who don’t care about animals at all (as evidently they like cats or dogs or wild animals), they are giving themselves a moral license to consume other animals who they don’t care about.
Donaldson and Kymlicka offer dogs as a service in other areas as well:
“Formerly strict prohibitions on dogs are being relaxed to allow service dogs who assist people with disabilities or who perform other services for humans. The justification for integration of these dogs is to benefit humans, but the impact of their presence is often to raise doubts about more general restrictions on dogs. It becomes much harder to cling to ideas about the dangers of dogs in public spaces when you regularly witness the opposite. In this way, service dogs are acting as agents in the public sphere, altering attitudes, and changing the terms of public debate. In fact, the category of ‘service dog’ is becoming a site of civil disobedience in the struggle for social reintegration.”
This is a double objectification of dogs, one because dogs are in service of humans, and second because dogs are in service of the idea that animals can be present in public spaces. That is exactly not to view animals as subjects, since in this example the justification for their existence and their presence in the public sphere is to serve humans and not the other way around.
They also suggest dogs as an ice-breaker to conversation between neighbors. After all, what is dogs’ separation anxiety compared with humans’ social anxiety…
A much severer and very surprising claim in the area of relationships with animals is the following:
“It has also provided an easy political target for those hostile to ART, including hunter and breeder organizations, which invoke these extinctionist quotes as a reductio of the very idea of animal rights.”
So now domesticated animals should exist so hunters wouldn’t have anything to say in response? Don’t they realize how objectifying these claims are? Do they really think it is ok to treat animals as non-subjective playthings in humans’ debates?
“Thus ART flattens our moral landscape in a way that is not only intellectually implausible but unattractive: it ignores the inevitability of, and desire for, ongoing and morally significant relationships with animals.”
It is true that humans’ interactions with animals are inevitable, but that doesn’t necessitate the perpetuation of domestication. Humans’ desire for relationships with animals, even if was true, is not a justified reason to keep these relations, especially given the current dreadful manifestation of these relations. It is no coincidence that the most adherent animal liberationists argue that their morally significant relationships with animals is that there would be none.
Donaldson and Kymlicka argue that interactions between humans and other animals are inventible since humans and nonhumans do not inhabit separate worlds, but inevitably share the same homes, cities, and territories, and so the animal rights movement can’t keep ignoring that and keep suggesting, what they call, the Species Apartheid Vision which according to them:
“ignores the fact that we have acquired moral responsibilities towards particular groups of animals due to our own past actions, including responsibilities to attend to needs arising through domestication or through human-induced changes to habitat. Our previous actions have made some animals vulnerable to new types of harm and risk. To simply “let them be” at this point in history is to wash our hands of moral responsibilities we have inherited.”
“The species apartheid vision is not just unrealistic; it’s unattractive to many people who love animals, and want to live with animals in a just social arrangement.”
We totally agree with the premise that a disconnection between human and nonhuman animals is technically impossible. It is the rest of the analyzation which we disagree with. As mentioned earlier these kinds of claims are first of all ethically wrong for being speciesist, but they are also factually wrong as animal rights theorists, let alone activists, don’t aspire for a separation between humans and animals because they don’t want any relations with animals, or because they think that animals can’t take place in political communities, but because they want to save them from humans’ claws. Most activists think that animals are innocent and that humans are scumbags and therefore they wish to separate them.
It is not that animal activists themselves personally don’t want anything to do with animals, but that they don’t want humans in general to have anything to do with animals. They don’t want dependency. They don’t want sad lonely animals with separation anxiety. They don’t want run down animals or sad and lonely animals in pounds. And they refuse to give humans the chance to restore animal exploitation if they’ll ever agree to end it.
The reason activists wish to bring about the extinction of domesticated species is so that no animal will live under human domination. It is not so they can wash their hands of moral responsibilities they have inherited, but to protect these animals from the most tyrannical animal ever, and to prevent their suffering from the genetically inherited problems that humans have caused them. After everything that humans have caused to other animals all along history this position is not only understandable, it is required and obvious.
The fact that there is no possible world in which animals are not constantly affected by humans is not a reason to maintain and perpetuate dominion relations. Why should these kinds of relations be encouraged? Why must domesticated animals who are depended on their masters and who are doomed to suffer from inborn impairments and diseases, exist?
We agree that the animal rights theory ignores many interactions with many animals which most are inevitable, but to argue that this is the reason for the political stagnation of animal rights is simply ridiculous. It is not because animal rights theorists have failed to include all types of humans’ interactions with animals that most humans keep participating in the most violent interactions ever. It is not because the animal rights theory is thinking only in terms of intrinsic qualities of animals and disregards the significance of relationships between animals and humans, that humans maintain such abusive relationships with animals. Humans maintain such abusive relationships with animals because it is convenient, tasty, easy, cheap, and they are used to it. Not because the animal rights movement has yet to internalize that it must make a political shift and include animals as citizens. It is not as if had humans been offered to treat the domesticated animals (that currently they couldn’t care less about the lives they are forced to endure for their sick pleasures) as full citizens, they would have realized that they mustn’t hurt them.
The animal rights theory is so much less demanding than the citizenship theory and yet the vast majority of the human race still chooses time and again to abuse animals.
Donaldson and Kymlicka argue that:
“Thinking about human-animal relations in light of the familiar categories of citizenship theory-such as citizens, denizens, aliens, sovereigns can help us identify both the distinctive claims that certain animals have upon us, and also the distinctive sorts of injustices we visit upon them.“
But how is it plausible to suggest such a far-reaching framework as embracing the very same animals that humans currently treat in the most torturous manner, when asking them to just leave them alone doesn’t work? Are humans not willing to leave the animals alone and insist on treating them in the most torturous manner because they are not told that they must grant them full membership, and citizenship?
Some criticize the citizenship theory not only for being delusional but for being so delusional to the point of being dangerous because it might alienate humans who have not yet been convinced by the most minimal demand of not torturing animals for such trivial pleasures.
We disagree with this assertion because humans who claim that since one of the theories is too extreme for them, that gives them the moral license to torture animals, are looking for excuses to keep their violent habits, and if it wasn’t for that theory they would have found other excuses. Humans can easily think that the citizenship theory is a step too far but there is no reason to keep torturing animals for unnecessary reasons and therefore go vegan. They don’t because they don’t want to, not because of Zoopolis.
The sad thing about the ‘too delusional’ criticism is that it is itself delusional, and that is because humans in general are so indifferent to the fate of nonhumans and to their personal responsibility for the torture of nonhumans, that they don’t need “extreme” theories to keep their violent habits. All they have to do is paint even the most extremely logical ones as extreme. And that’s exactly what they are doing all the time.
So we disagree with the claim that the citizenship theory dynamics with the animal rights theory is dangerous, however we do find it extremely odd that the authors claim that they have arrived to their view as a result of the animal rights theory failure, yet they are offering a much more complex and demanding theory of their own, which human society would find much harder to accept, let alone accomplish, than leaving the animals alone.
We think that the citizenship theory reveals the despair and helplessness within the movement when it comes to solving human-animal relations. It is another case of very smart and highly aware people being very good at describing problems, but awful at solving them. If currently humanity is failing with granting animals negative duties, how is it sensible to raise the bar so high to the point where humanity would have positive duties to animals such as health care? Humans are not yet ready to stop eating foie gras and they suggest it is because they have not yet encountered their citizenship theory?! Billons of birds are still cramped in battery cages and they are asking for relations with domesticated animals to be similar to parent-children and teacher-student? We haven’t yet made humans realize that it is wrong to rape cows and steal their babies from them, so telling humans that we must provide them everything they need?
The book’s authors seem aware of the implausibility of their theory:
“We are not optimistic about the prospects for dramatic change in the short term, and we certainly have no delusions that one can somehow change the world simply by articulating better moral arguments. Humans have built our societies-our cultures and economies-on animal exploitation, and many people have vested interests in perpetuating those practices in some form or another. Moral arguments are notoriously ineffective when they run so fully against the grain of self-interest and inherited expectations.
Most of us are not moral saints: we’re willing to act on our moral convictions when it costs us relatively little, but not when it requires us to give up our standard of living or way of life. People may be willing to ban fox hunting, but are notably less keen about giving up meat or leather, let alone ceasing colonization of wild animal habitat, extending co-citizenship to cats and cows, or embracing coexistence with pigeons and coyotes. Any theory that asks people to become moral saints is doomed to be politically ineffective, and it would be naive to expect otherwise.”
But still think it can change despite being way more demanding than animal rights theory:
“Today, much of what ART demands will undoubtedly be seen by many people as an enormous sacrifice. The gap between the moral theory we are advancing and people’s perceived interests or self-conceptions is vast. But that can change, in unpredictable ways, and perhaps more quickly than one might think. As the environmental and economic costs of our system of animal exploitation and colonization become increasingly apparent, it will become increasingly urgent to develop new conceptual frameworks to help identify alternative visions of human-animal relations.”
On the face of it, it is very easy to dismiss the citizenship theory and for several reasons. For example for being, as they themselves admit, very unlikely if not utterly delusional. It is even delusional to suggest human rights as a model in a world so lacking in universal human rights. If anything, the human model should have been a warning sign, not an inspiration, since if even among the human race alone the citizenship theory is such a failure, what are the odds that it would ever work between humans and nonhumans? How is it plausible to seriously suggest health care to domesticated animals when even most humans don’t have one yet? How is it plausible to seriously suggest including animals in political debates (by human representatives) when even slaughter welfare regulations, as lame and outrages as they are, are not applied on fishes and chickens who are by far the greatest number of victims of systematical exploitation?
But, despite all the problems, Zoopolis does point at very serious and significant structural problems within the animal rights movement, which does have tremendous blind spots when it comes to some domesticated animals, “liminal” animals and especially “wild” animals. The rest of the posts in this series would deal with each, so here we’ll just briefly argue that the animal rights movement doesn’t seriously address the speciesism of keeping animals which were not only domesticated but were also selected for neoteny, meaning they are bound to remain puppies their entire lives for human pleasure, and are bound to be totally depended on humans for everything they need, not to mention the greatest speciesist aspect of keeping companion animals – feeding them with other animals.
The animal rights movement doesn’t seriously address suffering in nature. On the one hand it ignores the fact that every human activity has a significant impact on animals, and on the other hand it ignores the fact that every moment in nature is a nightmare regardless of human activity, yet in both cases the general approach is that we must let wild animals be.
The animal rights movement doesn’t seriously address the fact that species apartheid is truly unattainable since squirrels, rats, mice, snakes, porcupines, opossums, raccoons, wild boars, turtles, crows, pigeons and numerous other species of birds live within humans’ living areas. A separation is impossible and conflict of interests is inevitable.
But the fact that separation is impossible and conflict of interests is inevitable, in our view, shouldn’t be a criticism of the animal rights movement specifically but of existence generally. It is not that a solution to every problem is within reach but the animal rights theorists have so far failed to notice it or chose not to address it – it’s that there is no solution. There is no solution because conflict of interests is inevitable and is happening everywhere all of the time between all of the species.
On the one hand, ideas such as Zoopolis at least try to address issues that the animal rights movement is overlooking, but on the other hand it can only illuminate the blind spots, and not only those of the animal rights theory but of ethics in general, as there is no possible way whatsoever for anyone to exist without harming others. Everything is at someone else’s expense. The problems that Zoopolis addresses are not inherent to the animal rights theory and movement, but to life on earth.
The citizenship idea isn’t so delusional only because of the current reality in our world, it is even theoretically delusional, and that is very important to internalize because it means that even the brightest future of the relations of humans and animals is very gloomy. It is important to understand that the day after the end of systematical exploitation would still be extremely horrible. And unfortunately that day would never come. Therefore as delusional as theories such as these are, their significance is in emphasizing the structural problems which no political theory could ever solve. They are significant because they could make activists realize how extremely unideal even the most ideal option is.
Basically Zoopolis, despite its authors’ attempts to go around it in every possible way, is a human policing resolution. And if human policing the world is a good idea it is only in the framework of global human recruitment to the goal of total extinction of every sentient being on earth including itself of course, so that no one would suffer ever again. But practically that is obviously even more delusional than the ideas specified in Zoopolis. Therefore activists must focus on ways to implement it without a global human recruitment. And if you think that this is even theoretically impossible, then focus on the eradication of the greatest suffering causers ever in history with no proportion to any other cause and extinct the human race.