The founder and president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals emphasizes the importance of having “love, understanding, and respect for all animals.”
Newkirk (One Can Make a Difference, 2008, etc.) and Stone (The Trump Survival Guide, 2017, etc.) aim to celebrate nonhuman species and to argue against using them for scientific and medical research, clothing, entertainment, and food. Among animals’ “many talents, languages, and complex cultures,” the authors reveal astonishing facts about sea and air migration; communication among frogs, primates, and birds; cognitive abilities; courtship and fidelity; grief and mourning; animal empathy; and various forms of play. They highlight the variety and sophistication of animal intelligence, such as the Brazilian torrent frog’s intricate forms of tactile, vocal, and visual communications. The authors underscore animals’ capacity for emotion: Prairie vole parents, for example, stay together for life; animals who live in closely knit groups—such as gorillas and elephants—exhibit ritualistic behavior when a family member dies. “Animals love,” write the authors. “They grieve. They feel emotional pain. They worry. And they can anticipate pain.” After a wide-ranging and enlightening overview of animal wonders, the authors devote several chapters to campaigning against cruelty and exploitation. They point out that animal testing is an “extremely wasteful” method of finding treatments for human diseases, and they cite several noninvasive methods—e.g., experiments on stem cells, 3D–printed organoids, computer simulations, and bioinformatics—that are effective research methods. Not surprisingly, the authors argue against wearing clothing with fur or leather, claiming that much leather imported from China comes from “the hides of domestic dogs.” They also describe in horrifying detail the injuries to sheep in the shearing process, advocating for a number of plant-based and synthetic alternatives to wool. Similarly, they advocate “a whole-food, low-oil vegan diet” of plant-based substitutes for meat, eggs, butter, and cheese. As for entertainment, the authors suggest, not convincingly, that virtual reality and “lifelike animatronics” can substitute for seeing a real animal.
An impassioned plea for preserving animals’ lives.