Books by Herbert M. Levine

Released: Jan. 1, 1994

An intemperate and ill-considered attack on the animal-rights movement by a founder of Putting People First, ``a national nonprofit organization that promotes human rights, animal welfare, and conservation.'' Marquardt's quarrel with animal-rightists began reasonably enough when, in 1990, her daughter was told by an animal-rights advocate that ``all hunters are murderers'' (`` `Mommy, she said you're a murderer,' cried my daughter Montana'')—a shock that prompted the author to launch PPF. Here, though, Marquardt's argument is fraught with invective, misinformation, and absurdities. ``Every time animal rights leaders open their mouths, they lie,'' she proclaims. ``They...preach the virtues of a paleolithic lifestyle, and try to persuade others to join them in worshiping rats and bugs.'' In a heavily documented but relentlessly one-sided survey, the author examines animal-rights groups (PeTA in particular), as well as animal-rights issues in science, hunting, clothing, food, pets, and entertainment. In nearly every case, she defends the scientific and commercial treatment of animals, from the controversial Draize eye test (now abandoned by several major cosmetics firms) to the debeaking of mass-produced chickens and the oft-condemned methods of raising veal calves. Expectedly, Marquardt vigorously highlights the worst abuses—arson, mail-bombings, etc.—of animal-rightists, but she commits abuses of her own, the most grievous being her attack on vegetarians (that ``no bona fide health expert is recommending that people give up beef'' is nonsense—what about Gary Null?), which hits its nadir when she dwells on Hitler's vegetarianism. Moreover, she seems ignorant about animals; most anyone who's owned a dog will dispute her claim that animals are ``incapable of moral cognition.'' Akin to literary terrorism; those interested in a reasoned critique of the animal-rights movement should look at Vicki Hearne's Animal Happiness (reviewed above). Read full book review >