The Feminist Care Tradition in Animal Ethics: A Reader

In Beyond Animal Rights, Josephine Donovan and I introduced feminist "ethic of care" theory into philosophical discussions of the treatment of animals.

In this new volume, seven essays from Beyond Animal Rights are joined by nine new articles--most of which were written in response to that book--and a new introduction that situates feminist animal care theory within feminist theory and the larger debate over animal rights.

Contributors critique theorists' reliance on natural rights doctrine and utilitarianism, which, they suggest, have a masculine bias. They argue for ethical attentiveness and sympathy in our relationships with animals and propose a link between the continuing subjugation of women and the human domination of nature. Beginning with the earliest articulation of the idea in the mid-1980s and continuing to the theory's most recent revisions, this volume presents the most complete portrait of the evolution of the feminist-care tradition.


From the introduction to The Feminist Ethics of Care: A Reader

  1. It is wrong to harm sentient creatures unless overriding good will result for them.
  2. It is wrong to kill such creatures unless in immediate self-defense of oneself or in defense of those for whom one is personally responsible.
  3. Humans have a moral obligation to care for those animals who, for whatever reason, are unable to adequately care for themselves, in accordance with their needs and wishes, as best the caregivers can ascertain them and within the limits of caregivers’ own capacities.
  4. Finally, people have a moral duty to oppose and expose those who are contributing to animal abuse.

Praise for The Feminist Care Tradition:

Ten years after the foundational collection of essays moving Beyond Animal Rights to a feminist ethic of care for all animal species, the work in this field has doubled in size and scope.

Collected in this volume are essays calling for a feminist animal care ethic that is political and activist in orientation. Here are the paths to interspecies justice, with arguments that appeal equally to reason and emotion, logic and empathy. They prove that true emotional intelligence requires a compassionate ethical response to animal suffering and human complicity alike. 

– Greta Gaard, author of Ecofeminism: Women, Animals, Nature

Ecofeminism: Feminist Intersections with Other Animals and the Earth

Leading feminist scholars and activists as well as new voices introduce and explore themes central to contemporary ecofeminism. The result is an up-to-date resource for students and teachers of animal studies, environmental studies, feminist/gender studies, and practical ethics.

Ecofeminism demonstrates that ecofeminism and its emphasis on care, emotion, affect, and compassion are more relevant than ever today. It is a must-read for both feminist and animal rights activists and scholars and is destined to become a new classic in the field.” – Margo DeMello, Program Director for Human-Animal Studies, Animals & Society Institute, USA

“This provocative new anthology is to be warmly welcomed for the diversity of its voices and the breadth of its critical analyses and agenda. Ecofeminism encompasses theory and lived experience at the multiple and sometimes contested intersections of gender identity, disability rights, race, and animal advocacy.” – Martin Rowe, Author of The Polar Bear in the Zoo: A Speculation

“Ecofeminism provides us with valuable insights into an important approach to advocating for justice—an approach that makes fundamental connections between complex issues. As a woman of color working at the intersections of social justice, I quickly identified with many of the ideas here and felt like I was not alone. Readers will learn a lot from this empowering book. – Lauren Ornelas, Founder and Executive Director, Food Empowerment Project, USA

“This book demonstrates why ecofeminism is the most important politics of our time. Richly interdisciplinary and provocative in the very best ways—at times playful and humorous too—Ecofeminism presents fresh, invigorating and inspirational scholarship on the intersecting relationships between humankind and the other than human world." – Annie Potts, Associate Professor and Co-Director of New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

Ecofeminism and the Sacred

The first multicultural anthology on ecofeminism focusing on spiritual and religious issues.

The Ms. Magazine reviewer recommended this volume saying, "This multicultural anthology is a thoughtful contribution to an evolving body of analysis and action."