I “met” Dr. Barbara J. King years ago online, but “knowing” her doesn’t keep me from fangirling whenever she comes out with a new book. She never disappoints.
I was so excited about this book, I ended up inadvertently ordering it three times. And I’m not sorry!
ANIMALS’ BEST FRIENDS was just what I hoped it would be: a thoughtful, generous-hearted statement of Dr. King’s case for compassionate action on behalf of animals in our homes, in the wild, in captivity, on our plates, and under the oppression of scientific research.
Dr. King would prefer that animals be totally free and self-actualizing but is painfully aware that this is not the case and not liable to be the case. She, always clear-minded, realizes that some people literally couldn’t survive except at the expense of animals, and that some people aren’t prepared to put animals’ lives over their own desires. In this book, she doesn’t demonize those of us who fall short of perfection — indeed, she places herself in that same category. Instead, she lays out the realities of animals’ cognition and emotional depth along with the ways people betray them, champion them, and struggle toward betterment.
Unlike some animal rights books, this is in no way what I call “pain porn”: Dr. King doesn’t shy away from the fact that animals are mistreated and murdered for human benefit, but she doesn’t dump it on us like a bucket of pig’s blood on the prom queen. She states facts, folds in personal experiences, deplores especially bad inhumanity, extols people who succeed or mightily strive to rescue animals, and suggests ways in which ordinary people can move toward more compassionate action in our ordinary lives.
Can’t make yourself give up meat/dairy/eggs? Try to cut down. Be mindful of what (who) you’re eating, and try to choose the least torturous examples. Cage-free eggs. No “industrial” raised meat. No live octopus, for God’s sake.
As the cover text says, “This is a book not of shaming and limitation, but of uplift and expansion….By turning compassion into action on behalf of animals, we not only improve animals’ lives–we also immeasurably enrich our own.”
Highly recommended. In fact, since I have two extra copies, the first two US readers who request it can have my extras.
My nails this week are in honor of Pride Month. Love is love, dammit.
A WRITING PROMPT FROM ME TO YOU: Imagine you’re an animal in one of the five scenarios listed: In a home, in the wild, in a zoo, to be eaten, being used for research.