Why Animals Matter
The Case for Animal Protection
by Erin E. Williams and Margo DeMello
Prometheus Books, Amherst, 2007, ISBN: 1-59102-523-0
"… 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 of the Humane Society of the United States
Our treatment of animals in modern America is full of contradictions. Companion animals 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 companion animals 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.
"Why Animals Matter isn't a good book, it's a great book! It's not only easy to read but also packed with useful and up-to-date information concerning the innumerable ways in which humans selfishly use animals, why animals need to be protected now more than ever, and how we all can play a role in this social movement by making humane choices that are good for animals and our one and only planet. I will recommend it to people worldwide." - Marc Bekoff, Professor of Biology, University of Colorado-Boulder, Author of The Ten Trusts (with Jane Goodall) and The Emotional Lives of Animals, Editor of the Encyclopedia of Human-Animal Relationships: A Global Exploration Of Our Connections with Animals
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.