Professor Francione maintains that “animal law” ought to be concerned about the incremental abolition of the property status of nonhumans, and that the tendency of animal lawyers to focus on anticruelty cases, veterinary malpractice, pet custody, and pet trust cases is mistaken.
Professor Francione argues that there are profound theoretical and practical differences between animal rights and animal welfare. He is critical of what he calls “new welfarism,” or the position that incremental improvements in animal welfare will lead to the abolition of animal exploitation. These views are contained in Rain Without Thunder: The Ideology of the Animal Rights Movement (Temple University Press, 1996).
Professor Francione argues that the property status of animals renders meaningless animal welfare laws that prohibit the infliction of “unnecessary” suffering and require the “humane” treatment of nonhumans. Professor Francione’s book, Animals, Property, and the Law (Temple University Press, 1995), provided the first legal analysis of the property status of animals and was described by Tom Regan as a “work of unquestionable historic importance.”
Professor Francione has developed a theory of animal rights that relies only on the sentience of nonhumans and that requires the abolition, and not merely the regulation, of animal exploitation. Professor Francione’s theory, which is developed in Introduction to Animal Rights: Your Child or the Dog? (Temple University Press, 2000), differs considerably from those proposed by others, most notably Peter Singer and Tom Regan.