For all the diversity of views within the animal protection movement, there is a surprising consensus about the need for more severe criminal justice interventions against animal abusers. More prosecutions and longer sentences, it is argued, will advance the status of animals in law and society. In Beyond Cages: Animal Law and Criminal Punishment (Cambridge UP, 2019), Professor Justin Marceau demonstrates that a focus on 'carceral animal law' puts the animal rights movement at odds with other social justice movements, and may be bad for humans and animals alike. Animal protection efforts need to move beyond cages and towards systemic solutions if the movement hopes to be true to its own defining ethos of increased empathy and resistance to social oppression. Providing new insights into how the lessons of criminal justice reform should be imported into the animal abuse context, Beyond Cages is a valuable contribution to the literature on animal welfare and animal rights law.
Mark Molloy is the reviews editor at MAKE: A Literary Magazine.