Seventeen years ago, I wrote Rattling the Cage for a specific reason: there was no field of “Animal Rights Jurisprudence;” no book in existence then argued for the legal rights of nonhuman animals, as opposed to the moral rights that philosophers routinely discussed. Legal and moral rights do not necessarily involve the same arguments and judges often are neither educated in philosophy nor value it when making legal judgments. “Rattling the Cage” was intended to establish that field. In a recent law review article the eminent philosopher Martha C. Nussbaum appreciated how well the book had succeeded in its aim: “Wise is one of the most significant pioneers of animal law. His 2000 book Rattling the Cage took the field of animal ethics into law, with striking results.” Nussbaum was not alone in her conclusion. The Boston Globe called it a "seminal work", while Time Magazine observed "(o)nce the domain of activists, animal law has steadily gained respect among law schools and legal scholars since 2000, when ... Rattling the Cage provided an academic argument for granting legal rights to animals." Its arguments have as much validity today as they did seventeen years ago. But now those arguments have been transformed into legal action. Anyone who wants to understand where the now-established field of “Animal Rights Jurisprudence” came from, where it is now, and where it is going around the world will want to read Rattling the Cage.
Tirant lo Blanch , 2018