Why Animals Matter: The Case for Animal Protection / Edition 1

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Our treatment of animals in modern America is full of contradictions. Pets are a beloved feature of most American households, many enjoying the most luxurious food and accessories, and reveling in the love and companionship from their human families. At the same time, animals raised for food or clothing, or used for medical experiments and product testing, often live painful, lonely lives in small cages from birth to death. And wild animals suffer in other ways — losing their lives as their habitats disappear, being hunted for trophies, and finding themselves removed from their homes for the exotic pet trade.
Why Animals Matter: The Case for Animal Protection offers a concise yet complete overview of the problems of animal suffering, linking them to larger issues of human and environmental exploitation. Authors Erin E. Williams and Margo DeMello examine industries that exploit animals — meat processing companies and agribusinesses; medical experimentation and cosmetic testing facilities; the entertainment industry (circuses, rodeos, zoos, racing, and film making); the pet industry; the fur and leather industry; and commercial and recreational activities centered on hunting. The authors also consider the adverse environmental effects of animal exploitation from pollution to deforestation and the depletion of biodiversity.
In addition, they look at the connections between the poor treatment of animals and human exploitation of immigrants, slaughterhouse and farm workers, as well as the larger issues of globalization, hunger, and the negative consequences for Third World nations.
Highly informative yet very reader-friendly, this book not only explores the connections between animal and human suffering, but also integrates solid information with positive case studies of rescued animals and inspiring stories of individual successes.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"…an excellent look at cruelty to animals on an institutional level in various industries, taking a 'common sense perspective' and revealing many disturbing facts .... This is a tough but fair-minded revelation of how mass production of animals for food and other purposes results in cruelty that usually remains hidden from sight."
Publishers Weekly

"Erin Williams and Margo DeMello have written a compact and compelling treatise on how animals suffer in institutional settings and why people of conscience should take note and take action. They have put together an overwhelming case for a new ethic in dealing with animals, and my greatest hope is that it will have a vast readership."
Wayne Pacelle
President & CEO
The Humane Society of the United States

Publishers Weekly

Animal experts Williams (who works for the Humane Society) and DeMello (Stories Rabbits Tell) deliver an excellent look at cruelty to animals on an institutional level in various industries, taking a "common sense perspective" and revealing many disturbing facts that could turn the most ardent meat eater into a hard-core vegetarian. The meat industry gets their toughest scrutiny: the authors show that while nearly 10 billion land animals are raised and killed for food each year in the U.S., "there are virtually no laws that protect them from the worst abuse." Williams and DeMello also vividly describe how more than 95% of the nation's 300 million egg-laying hens spend their entire lives—only 12 to 18 months—"crammed into barren, wire battery cages" where they lack the space to walk and spread their wings. Further, our turkeys are produced by artificial insemination using a sucking device that collects semen from males and then forcibly injects it into females. They are also equally hard on other industries, like cosmetics, textiles and the large commercial pet breeders who sell animals "well before weaning age" to outlets like Petco, Petsmart and Petland. This is a tough but fair-minded revelation of how mass production of animals for food and other purposes results in cruelty that usually remains hidden from sight. Photos. (June)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591025238
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 8/28/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 290
  • Sales rank: 952,846
  • Product dimensions: 6.02 (w) x 8.99 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Erin E. Williams (Silver Spring, MD) works for the Humane Society of the United States.
Margo DeMello (Placitas, NM) is a lecturer at Central New Mexico Community College, administrative director of the House Rabbit Society, and the author of Bodies of Adornment, Bodies of Inscription, Low-Carb Vegetarian, and Stories Rabbits Tell.
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2007


    As a person concerned with animal welfare, but not one who has read extensively about the subject, this book provided a great overview of the various industries involved, and how their actions affect animals, the environment, and social justice. Obtaining an advanced copy, I was impressed with the extensive footnoting (great for future reading!), and the case studies used to supplement the facts provided. I also appreciated the way the authors wrote in a reasonable, factual, straight- forward way about everything from factory farming to the pet industry. A great introduction to animal welfare, it even provides easy ways people can effect change for animals in their everyday lives. This book will open your eyes to things you never knew existed, and help you to help lessen the needless suffering of animals worldwide.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2007

    Great primer for animal issues

    Finally, a readable, accessible and comprehensive tome on animal industries and the surprisingly simple ways humans can help reduce animal cruelty. Why Animals Matter eloquently sheds light on practices that, for too long, have lived in shadow, and readers will find the information both enlightening and empowering. Very, very useful -- both in highlighting the work to be done and in framing how far we've come in embracing compassion and respect for all living beings. This book was timely and powerful.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2007

    Great Book

    The way in which we treat animals is inconsistent, and the authors use common-sense explanations and examples in the heavily-footnoted book to illustrate this point. Why Animals Matter illustrates the hidden suffering of most animals with whom we share the earth. From farm animals, to wildlife, to laboratory animals, to companion animals, to animals used for fur - Why Animals Matter describes the industries that transform animals into food, sport, tools and clothing. The environment and people also suffer from our mistreatment of animals. Why Animals Matter illustrates the degradation of our planet in our hunger for more and cheaper meat and the suffering of workers who are trapped by the industry, work in unsafe and unsanitary conditions, and are blocked from unionizing. It also details the environmental and social problems caused by other industries that profit from animals. Why Animals Matter would be a great resource for schools, colleges, researchers, and students ... as well as people who simply want to learn more about animal protection. The book is well-organized, level-headed, and a good read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2007

    Readable. Real. Sobering. Empowering.

    It's at once difficult and empowering to learn more about how the systems we put in place in the food, medical, and entertainment industries result in the suffering of so many animals. One must imagine the resulting cruelty is an unintentional or tolerated consequence--surely no one would choose to harm animals in these ways. 'Why Animals Matter' is a thoroughly researched resource detailing the very real consequences of animal use and some of the ways we can align our ethic of compassion with our daily actions.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2007

    Strong case for animal protection

    If you love your dog or cat, this book is for you! Why Animals Matter makes a strong case for animal protection and is a wonderful primer for extending our circle of compassion to include all animals.

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