There was a particularly nasty court case in my home town of Bristol recently. I forget all the details, but the essence was that a stable-owner was fined for maiming and neglecting her horses and was banned from keeping horses for life. That seems to me to be entirely reasonable. In fact a great deal of animal-cruelty legislation, such as bans on dog and cock-fighting and on bear-baiting, is something that I’d want to support. Leaving aside controversial matters like fox-hunting (on which I have a pretty libertarian view), and just taking those most extreme cases of wanton cruelty, it seems to me that there’s a problem for both libertarians and liberals. Such legislation can’t be justified either in terms of protecting the rights of (human) individuals or without appealing to some controversial conception of what gives value to life that we can’t presume is universally shared. I’d welcome thoughts on how we might adapt or extend liberal or libertarian theories to cope with these cases.