Loving Animals: Toward a New Animal Advocacy

Loving Animals: Toward a New Animal Advocacy

by Kathy Rudy
     
 

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The contemporary animal rights movement encompasses a wide range of sometimes-competing agendas from vegetarianism to animal liberation. For people for whom pets are family members—animal lovers outside the fray—extremist positions in which all human–animal interaction is suspect often discourage involvement in the movement to end cruelty to other

Overview

The contemporary animal rights movement encompasses a wide range of sometimes-competing agendas from vegetarianism to animal liberation. For people for whom pets are family members—animal lovers outside the fray—extremist positions in which all human–animal interaction is suspect often discourage involvement in the movement to end cruelty to other beings. In Loving Animals, Kathy Rudy argues that in order to achieve such goals as ending animal testing and factory farming, activists need to be better attuned to the profound emotional, even spiritual, attachment that many people have with the animals in their lives.

Offering an alternative to both the acceptance of animal exploitation and radical animal liberation, Rudy shows that a deeper understanding of the nature of our feelings for and about animals can redefine the human–animal relationship in a positive way. Through extended interviews with people whose lives are intertwined with animals, analysis of the cultural representation of animals, and engaging personal accounts, she explores five realms in which humans use animals: as pets, for food, in entertainment, in scientific research, and for clothing. In each case she presents new methods of animal advocacy to reach a more balanced and sustainable relationship association built on reciprocity and connection.

Using this intense emotional bond as her foundation, Rudy suggests that the nearly universal stories we tell of living with and loving animals will both broaden the support for animal advocacy and inspire the societal changes that will improve the lives of animals—and humans—everywhere.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The concept of animal rights spans a wide and sometimes conflicting spectrum. Some support sanctuaries for wild, unwanted, or abused animals, while others try to close these types of facilities—yet both groups consider themselves to be animal activists. Rudy (ethics & women's studies, Duke Univ.; Sex and the Church: Gender, Homosexuality, and the Transformation of Christian Ethics) steps back to reflect on the emotional and spiritual aspects that draw people to various points of the spectrum and explores why ethical theorists should include these viewpoints in their studies. While some of her narratives examine oppressed animals, several describe successful and loving relationships between humans and animals, furthering her hypothesis that there is a great need to reform animal advocacy initiatives that include these affective connections. Rudy covers a broad range of issues—e.g., animals as pets, wild animals, animals as test subjects, and animals as food—in her exploration of human-animal relationships. VERDICT A highly personal yet well-researched reflection that will appeal to animal lovers, particularly the transformations of how animals are viewed in society, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse, with suggestions to start rectifying the "worse." Recommended for public and academic libraries.—Kyrille Goldbeck, Virginia Polytechnic Inst. & State Univ. Lib., Blacksburg
From the Publisher

Loving Animals should be read by everyone who is concerned about the ethics of our relationship with animals. It provides a philosophical middle ground between extreme views on each side of the animal rights issue.

—Temple Grandin, author of Animals in Translation and Animals Make Us Human

We live in a messy and imperfect world, as Kathy Rudy puts it, where it's often difficult to always do the ‘right’ thing for nonhuman animals or, in some cases, even know what the ‘right’ decision is. People who truly love animals come to the table with different views because of our complicated, ambiguous, and frustrating relationships with other beings. Loving Animals is a wide-ranging and challenging book that deserves a broad readership. Dr. Rudy reviews different schools of thought and argues convincingly that sacredness, spirituality, and love must be central themes in animal advocacy. The work of love allows us to work together and move forward even in the harshest of times. I agree. Read this book and share it widely and I'm sure numerous animals will thank us for doing this.

—Marc Bekoff, author of The Emotional Lives of Animals

In Loving Animals, Kathy Rudy offers a refreshing new perspective on animal advocacy that is intellectually coherent, emotionally satisfying, and beautifully written. Some of Rudy’s conclusions regarding how we should treat the animals in our lives are radical, and yet they make perfect sense. This book is a treat for both head and heart, and parts of it will spin your head around.

—Hal Herzog, author of Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It’s So Hard To Think Straight About Animals

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780816674688
Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
Publication date:
08/31/2011
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Kathy Rudy is associate professor of ethics and women’s studies at Duke University. She is the author of Sex and the Church: Gender, Homosexuality, and the Transformation of Christian Ethics and Beyond Pro-Life and Pro-Choice: Moral Diversity in the Abortion Debate.

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