Books That Question and Confront Our Exploitation of Animals
These books ask us to individually and collectively question our deep exploitation of animals today for our food, entertainment, and fashion, and challenge a system and culture that accepts abusing, using and making animals suffer for our personal pleasure and gain. These books illuminate the inner beauty, spirit and emotions of animals, and how similar they are to us, and why our compassion, respect, protection and change is even more critical for them today.
By Philip Lymbery with Isabel Oakeshott
Compassion in World Farming CEO, Philip Lymbery has joined award-winning journalist Isabel Oakeshott to tell the story of “our global farming system gone mad. We’ve called this story Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat.”
Fascinating and terrifying in equal measure, Farmageddon documents an investigative journey behind the closed doors of the factory farming industry. It busts the myth that factory farming is needed to feed the world. With stories from the UK, Europe and the USA, to China, Argentina, Peru and Mexico, the book shows that none of us are safe from the factory farming machine.
Farmageddon is both a wake-up call to change our current food production and eating practices and an attempt to find a way to a better farming future. See more here.
By Gary Francione and Anna Charlton
The book asks the reader these questions and if you answer “yes” to any of them, then this book was written for you!
- Have you ever loved an animal?
- Did you ever have a pet who was part of your family?
- Do you think it’s wrong to inflict unnecessary suffering and death on animals?
- Do you think animals matter morally?
- Do you care where your food comes from?
- Do you know where your animal products come from?
- Do you buy cage-free eggs? Free-range meat?
- Have you considered becoming a vegetarian?
- Are you already a vegetarian for moral reasons?
- Have you considered becoming a vegan?
- Do you aspire to being a vegan, but you think that you could never adopt a vegan diet?
- Are you already a vegan and would appreciate knowing some more effective ways to communicate with those who defend eating animals?
In Defense of Food
by Michael Pollan
“Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants,” says Pollan. Our industrialized Western diet has brought us cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity and a multitude of chronic illnesses that can all be directly linked to “the rise of highly processed foods and refined grains; the use of chemicals to raise plants and animals in huge monocultures; the superabundance of cheap calories of sugar and fat produced by modern agriculture; and the narrowing of the biological diversity of the human diet to a tiny handful of staple crops, notably wheat, corn, and soy,” Pollan writes. He highlights how our food has lost nutritional value, but costs more; fats and sugar have been added to most packaged food products; how politically motivated the food industry has become; how intricately involved the government is in the food industry supporting Big Ag, the multi-national corporations, and industry insiders; how the government is subsidizing corn, soy, wheat and rice and now two-thirds of our daily caloric intake comes from corn, soy, wheat and rice; and how misguided science has emphasized “nutrients” over whole foods creating misconceptions and untruths about our food.
by Jonathan Safran Foer
Eating Animals addresses the moral dimensions of why we love some animals and not others. Foer explores the origins of many eating traditions and the fictions involved with creating them and raises the unspoken question behind the fish we eat, the chicken we fry, and the beef we grill. Part memoir and part investigative reporting, Eating Animals is a book that, in the words of the Los Angeles Times, places Jonathan Safran Foer “at the table with our greatest philosophers.”
By Mark Hawthorne
Bleating Hearts looks at the world’s vast exploitation of animals, from the food, fashion, and research industries to the use of other species for sport, war, entertainment, religion, labor and pleasure.
Mark Hawthorne shines a light on the truth about how animals are inhumanely used and how they suffer at our hands. Once you read this book you will know the truth about how these animals live behind closed doors for these different industries and you will be changed forever. This book will inspire you to take action and make different choices as a consumer and as a human being.
By Gene Baur
When Gene Baur visited a stockyard raising animals for food, he was stunned at the stench, noise, filth, waste, and pain and suffering the animals were experiencing. One sheep in particular had been kicked to the side to die, but when Baur walked by, she raised her head and looked at him–and that was it. Baur could not ignore her nor the pain she was experiencing, and took her home with him, and nursed her back to health. Hilda became the first resident of Farm Sanctuary, an organization he dedicated to the rescue, care, and protection of farm animals. In Baur’s book, he investigates the ethical questions involved in the production of beef, poultry, pork, milk and eggs and how animals raised for human consumption are confined for the entirety of their lives and live without space, movement, companionship, fresh air, or even adequate food and water. Baur explains these animals are not viewed as living beings with feelings, but as production units–ten billion farm animals are exploited specifically for food in the United States every year. Farm Sanctuary shows us how we individually have an opportunity and a responsibility to consume a plate that doesn’t cause suffering and torture to live beings, making a better life for ourselves and the animals as well.
By Melanie Joy, PhD
This seminal book looks at why and how humans can so wholeheartedly devote ourselves to certain animals and then allow others to suffer needlessly, especially those slaughtered for our consumption.
Social psychologist Melanie Joy explores the many ways we numb ourselves and disconnect from our natural empathy for farmed animals. She coins the term “carnism” to describe the belief system that has conditioned us to eat certain animals and not others. In Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows Joy investigates factory farming, exposing how cruelly animals are treated, the hazards that meatpacking workers face, and the environmental impact of raising 10 billion animals for food each year in the U.S. Controversial and challenging, this book will change the way you think about food, forever.
By Daniel Imhoff
The CAFO Reader “is the most powerful indictment of factory farming ever compiled, with essays from 30 of the world’s leading experts. It brings the tragic world of industrial food production into focus with essays on every facet of factory farming: the impacts on animal welfare, the environment, our health, labor, politics, economics and our psyches. It also offers a vision for a food system that leaves behind the horrific 20th century model of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations.”
By Peter Singer
Originally published in 1975, this book helped to inspire a worldwide movement about “speciesism” and our systematic disregard of non-human animals. The book has awakened millions of people to the realities of today’s factory farms and product-testing procedures, where animals needlessly endure pain and suffer. Author Peter Singer tears down any justifications behind using animals for laboratory and product testing, and offers viable alternatives to what has become a profound environmental and social as well as moral issue. Singer’s book is an important appeal to conscience, compassion, fairness, decency, and justice.
By Amy Hatkoff
In The Inner World of Farm Animals, Amy Hatkoff reveals the latest scientific research on the emotional and intellectual capacities of farm animals with moving stories that will change your mind about the emotional lives of these wonderful beings. In this important book, Hatkoff joins the growing call for treating these sentient, conscious, and aware beings with compassion and respect, and she makes it clear that we must stop abusing them and other unfortunate animals for our own selfish needs. “The easiest way for us to increase our compassion footprint is to appreciate animals for who they are–amazing individuals who care deeply about what happens to them.”–Marc Bekoff, author of The Emotional Lives of Animals, Animals Matter, Animals at Play, and Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals
By Marc Bekoff, PhD
Marc Bekoff, author of The Emotional Lives of Animals, and the world’s leading expert on animal emotions, helps us to rethink and question our many daily decisions and “expand our compassion footprint.” He illustrates that animals experience a rich range of emotions, like people, including empathy and compassion, and that they clearly know right from wrong. Whether animals are on factory farms, in labs, circuses, rodeos, shelters, or being annihilated through poaching, Bekoff drives home the moral imperatives and pressing environmental realities, and offers six compelling reasons for changing the way we treat animals. The result is a well-researched, informative guide that will change animal and human lives forever–for the better.
The Emotional Lives of Animals, A Leading Animal Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorry, and Empathy — and Why They Matter
By Marc Bekoff
Author Marc Bekoff spent years studying social communication across a wide range of species. In this book, Bekoff explores how animals display a broad range of emotions including compassion, happiness, joy, empathy, grief, anger, and even resentment and embarrassment. Scientific research shows that many animals have extreme intelligence and sensory and motor abilities far greater than ours. Bekoff reveals that many animals share emotions with us because we share a similar brain structure in the limbic system. In his book, Bekoff blends fascinating stories of animal joy, empathy, grief, embarrassment, anger, and love with the latest scientific research confirming the existence of emotions that common sense and experience have long implied. Bekoff’s book is a clarion call for reassessing both how we view animals and how we treat them.
Marc Bekoff, Ph.D., is a former Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and co-founder with Jane Goodall of Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. He has won many awards for his scientific research including the Exemplar Award from the Animal Behavior Society and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
By Marc Bekoff
Marc Bekoff, a renowned biologist specializing in animal minds and emotions, looks at scientific research, philosophical ideas, and humane values that argue for the ethical and compassionate treatment of animals. Citing the latest scientific studies and tackling controversies, he focuses on the important questions, inviting the reader to participate through “thought experiments” and ideas for action. Here’s an example of some of the questions he addresses in the book:
By Ellie Laks
Founder Ellie Laks tells the story of how she started the Gentle Barn, after adopting a sick goat from a run-down petting zoo in 1999. Some two hundred animals later (including chickens, horses, pigs, cows, rabbits, emus, and more), her rescues include mainly sick, elderly, abused and neglected, owner forfeited, and abandoned animals. Ellie Laks worked tirelessly to take these abandoned animals, one by one, and rehabilitate and heal them, no matter how deep their physical and emotional wounds and scars were. The Gentle Barn has become an extraordinary nonprofit that brings together a volunteer staff of community members and at-risk teens to rehabilitate abandoned and/or abused animals. As Ellie teaches the volunteers to care for the animals, they learn a new language of healing that works wonders on the humans as well. My Gentle Barn is filled with heartwarming animal stories and inspiring recoveries. My Gentle Barn is a feel-good account that will delight animal lovers and memoir readers alike.
By Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson and Susan McCarthy
This groundbreaking work explores the full range of emotions that exist throughout the animal kingdom. Both McCarthy and Masson beautifully illuminate the wide range of emotions animals have and challenge how we treat animals, from hunting and eating them to scientific experimentation. This book shines a penetrating light on the inner lives of animals, and reading it will change how you view animals forever.
By Peter Singer and Jim Mason
The Ethics of What We Eat explores the impact our food choices have on humans, animals, and the environment. Singer and Mason offer ways to make healthful, humane food choices. As they point out: You can be ethical without being fanatical.
By Matthew Scully
Dominion takes the reader to the many places where animals are exploited today for human entertainment or pleasure – the horrendous factory farms where animals are treated as “units of production” not living beings; the “canned” wild animal hunts that condones the killing of animals for trophies for the wealthy; to the whaling hunts that have become more lethal and gruesome in recent years, not more merciful. Scully skillfully illuminates that in our misunderstanding and misinterpretation about the Bible’s reference to have “dominion over the earth,” something has gone terribly wrong — morally and ethically.
Scully counters those who argue the Bible’s message as a permit for mankind to “use animals as it pleases, to the hunter’s argument that through hunting animal populations are controlled, to the popular and ‘scientifically proven’ notions that animals cannot feel pain, experience no emotions, and are not conscious of their own lives.” Scully argues that all could not be more wrong with this interpretation of the Bible and serves only as an excuse for man to exploit animals for their own gain and pleasure.
In Dominion, Scully underlines that it’s time to demand reform from the government all the way down to the individual to change how we treat animals, and instead behave responsibly showing respect for all life and to treat animals with the dignity and compassion they deserve.
Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry
By Gail A. Eisnitz
In Slaughterhouse, Gail Eisnitz looks at the radical changes over the last 25 years of the meat-packing industry including government deregulation, the horrific conditions for the animals, and worker’s life inside the slaughterhouses and what really goes on “behind closed doors.”
By Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, author of When Elephants Weep, underlines how our food choices are inter-related with our moral values. “Each bite of meat involves the killing of an animal that did not need to die,” Masson reminds readers. He investigates how our personal sense of denial keeps us from recognizing the animal at the end of our fork and urges readers to consciously make decisions about food every time we eat. He also emphasizes the enormous environmental damage caused by factory farms and the modern agriculture-industrial complex, and highlights the individual suffering that each animal experiences and endures in their inhumane factory farm life.
Masson argues for a vegan diet using his own daily menus as an example, and emphasizes how a vegan diet is sufficient in providing people with all the nutrients we need to live well and thrive, but his most powerful argument calls upon the power of empathy and a refusal to put animals through the suffering and torture they experience in their everyday life for our food supply.