You Can Save the Animals: 251 Simple Ways to Stop Thoughtless Cruelty

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In a very reader-friendly format, PETA cofounder Ingrid Newkirk explores over 100 ideas to help keep animals from harm, including not purchasing products from companies that engage in animal testing and switching to clothing made without cruelty.
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In a very reader-friendly format, PETA cofounder Ingrid Newkirk explores over 100 ideas to help keep animals from harm, including not purchasing products from companies that engage in animal testing and switching to clothing made without cruelty.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review

Stopping Cruelty to Animals

Looking for hundreds of easy, nonconfrontational ways to stop cruelty to animals? You won't find them in Ingrid Newkirk's book, You Can Save the Animals: 251 Simple Ways to Stop Thoughtless Cruelty. That's not to say that some aren't one or both of those things. But this book, like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which the author founded, also pushes boundaries and offers far more difficult, in-your-face ways for readers to choose to deal with animal-rights issues.

Moreover, the book is not simply a list of suggestions: Each chapter begins with enough information, anecdotes, and graphic descriptions and accusations to make even the most hard-hearted reader squirm while at the same time read with interest about how amazing and inspiring animals can be. In essence, you may be repulsed by, or simply disagree with, much of what is contained in You Can Save the Animals, but it is also a book both impossible to put down and guaranteed to make you think hard about your own actions (or inaction) regarding animals.

The first chapter is indisputably inspiring, containing fascinating observations about various animal species and how human beings have been pompous enough to wrongfully assume their own superiority over animals. Did you know that male emperor penguins go without food for up to 145 days while guarding their eggs in the frozen tundra? Or that octopuses decorate their caves with pretty objects they collect? Or that ants form living bridges to get their fellow ants across streams? Probably not. It willalsolikely make even the most animal-friendly reader shamefaced to be reminded of how kind animals are to humans, with examples of pigs that have pulled children from ponds or dolphins that have kept sailors afloat in shark-infested waters.

If this beginning has not taken us human beings down a notch or two, Newkirk hits hard in Chapter 2 when she explains, in graphic detail, what happens to animals such as cows and chickens on the way to what many consider to be their rightful place — America's dinner table. No reader could possibly expect to enjoy a buffalo wing or well-done sirloin for at least a little while after reading Newkirk's anecdotes. By the end of the chapter, readers will be relieved to consider various ways to assuage their guilt, with the What You Can Do list (one also appears at the end of every subsequent chapter). "Go vegetarian," urges Newkirk: Call a hotline, or order a starter kit or cookbooks. Sounds straightforward enough, though certainly changing one's eating habits entirely (Newkirk doesn't just espouse vegetarianism but also advocates becoming vegan, which includes removing eggs and dairy from one's diet) isn't a simple task. And some suggestions, such as protesting the Wienermobile and Ronald McDonald, or liberating a lobster, may seem downright silly to some.

Such a dichotomy exists throughout the book. Each chapter is heartfelt and affecting, and many of the suggestions are perfectly valid. Others, however, seem as over-the-top as the well-publicized PETA rallies that include throwing fake blood on women's fur coats. Chapter 3, called "Those Amusing Animals," rails against the mistreatment animals face in zoos, circuses, marine theme parks, and rodeos. You Can Save the Animals advises readers to boycott roadside zoos, write letters, join organizations, and help pass local ordinances — all excellent ideas. However, the suggestions in Chapter 5, which spotlights the cruelty done to companion animals like dogs and cats, like "liberating your language" from phrases such as "He's an animal" and baking vegan dog biscuits, seem impractical.

Chapter 6 takes a harrowing look at America's animal-testing laboratories and offers an equally mixed bag of "simple" ways to take action: Along with joining an animal-rights society, using cruelty-free cleansers, and ridding your house of products tested on animals, Newkirk suggests demonstrating your feelings by dressing up as a vivisectionist, scaling a crane, or blocking a bus.

Whether you're a bona fide animal lover or not, You Can Save the Animals offers plenty of food for thought. If you are willing to overlook the sometimes unusual advice offered by Newkirk and PETA, you will almost certainly find some wonderful nuggets of useful information (the appendix offers plenty of book titles, phone numbers, and other information) and almost as certainly the desire to avoid eating a hamburger or hot dog. How long that desire will last, however, is entirely up to you.

Sharon Goldman Edry has written about pets for the New York Post

Library Journal
Newkirk, cofounder of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), has written the definitive book for those who care about the treatment of animals. She exposes institutional cruelty by discussing such topics as animals in entertainment or used as food, for sport, and in clothing. She covers dissection in schools, companion animals, and animals used in experimentation. Newkirk ends each chapter with a list of actions, ranging from personal choices that the average person can make to stop animal suffering (boycott Proctor & Gamble, wear nonanimal fabrics, take plant-based estrogen drugs rather than Premarin) to public actions (demonstrate at rodeo events, protest traveling animal acts, be a hunt saboteur). This book belongs in all libraries and can be used to educate children and young adults about the plight of nonhuman animals in our society.--Peggie Partello, Keene State Coll. Lib., NH
Every day, in labs, food factories, and industries around the world, animals are subjected to inhumane cruelty. Newkirk, co-founder and president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), gives examples of hundreds of simple acts of kindness that can help stop animal abuse. Suggestions include buying from companies that don't test on animals, adopting pets from a shelter, and putting pressure on industry and government leaders. Includes appendices of print, video, and audio resources, groups, products, and Web sites. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761516736
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/27/1999
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Ingrid Newkirk
Ingrid Newkirk is cofounder and president of PETA. Her campaigns to save animals have made the front pages of the Washington Post and other national newspapers. She has appeared on the Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, 20/20, CNN, and the CBS News. She is also the author of Kids Can Save the Animals!, The Compassionate Cook, and 250 Things You Can Do to Make Your Cat Adore You. She lives in Norfolk, Virginia.
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Table of Contents

How to Use This Book

1. Who Are Animals?
2. What Happens Along the Way to the Animals Who End Up As Dinner
What You Can Do: Help Animals Used for Food
3. Those Incredibly Amusing Animals
What You Can Do: Animals in Entertainment
4. There's Nothing Sporting About Hunting and Fishing
What You Can Do: Hunting and Fishing
5. Pet of the Month or Friend for Life?
What You Can Do: Companion Animals
6. What Do They Really Do to Animals in Laboratories?
What You Can Do: Help Get Animals Out of Laboratories
7. Fur, Feathers, Baubles, Bits, and Bones . . .
What You Can Do: Make Your Closet Cruelty-Free
8. Dissection Busters
What You Can Do: Stop Dissection in Your School
9. Dealing with Animal "Pests"
What You Can Do: Wildlife
10. Choosing a Health Charity
What You Can Do: Health Charities

Appendix A: Recommended Reading
Appendix B: Recommended Videos and Audiotapes
Appendix C: Recommended Groups
Appendix D: Recommended Web Sites
Appendix E: Recommended Products
Appendix F: People to Contact
Appendix G: Samples
About the Author

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2001

    Great Book

    Terrific book, fast read, helping me stick with veganism.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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