Book Review: The Global Guide to Animal Protection

 

Well Americans don’t care for much of anything
Land and water the least
And animal life is low on the totem pole
With human life not worth more than infected yeast 
Lou Reed, Dirty Boulevard

The Global Guide to Animal Protection by Andrew Linzey

The Global Guide to Animal Protection edited by Andrew Linzey is a collection articles and essays by writers from around the world. Included in the book are articles from Jane Goodall, Shirley McGreal, Birute Mary Galdikas, Richard D. Ryder, Roger Fouts, and many others. The introduction is written by Archbishop Desmond Tutu a hero of human rights. 

I have been a vegetarian for many years. First for health reasons, and shortly there after for animal rights reasons. I have seen the videos of the slaughter houses, feed lots, battery cages, gestation cages, and factory farms. This is a far cry from the farmers working on family farms we learned about in grade school. Anyone who has been to or has seen a modern dairy farm, will know that there are very, very few happy cows in California. I know there is almost no way to avoid the use of animal products because they are so integrated in modern industry. Toothpaste, shampoo, bicycle tires, even bio-diesel can contain animal products. I thought I knew quite about animal rights but this book takes animal rights to a newer level.

The Global Guide covers just about every angle of human treatment of animals. This is not limited to “food animals” but also pets, animals in the wild, lab animals, and even entertainment animals. “Food Animals” are not protected under animal protection laws in America. You cannot abuse a dog, but abuse of an equally intelligent animals, pigs, is allowed. Poultry have no protection under American laws and little under Canadian laws. Europe has stricter controls, but far from perfect. 

Wild animals are seen as a threat. Three million coyotes have been killed with tax payer dollars in the mid-west of the United States to protect the interests of a few livestock owners. Here in the North Dallas suburbs, coyotes (and bobcats) are a concern as more are being seen in local parks as their normal habitat is being destroyed by urban sprawl. In other places, it is other animals that are conceived as a problem — big cats or even deer. Still, in other places monkeys and bears are being hunted to the point of extinction. 

Lab animals have a miserable life and there is no denying that, but regardless their lives have greatly improved since anti-vivisection laws. Granted some animals have been sacrificed for the betterment of mankind. But how many animals need to lose their life over new consumer products? Sadly dogs like retired greyhound racers are liked by labs since the dogs are used to being handled and have developed a trust of people. Beagles are bred specifically for labs because of their compact size. Nonetheless, 50-100 million vertebrates are “used” annually. 

The topic of entertainment animals is vast and covers a wide range of animals and conditions. Everything from zoos and roadside attractions are covered. In addition there is also the darker side too. Dog and cock fighting are still popular around the world. Spanish style of bull fighting kills bulls for entertainment in a drawn out secession. Rodeo’s are another source of animal mistreatment. Events like sport fishing are discussed but not nearly as much as “canned hunting.” Canned hunting are staged hunting events where people hunt animals in a closed environment. Not only are the animals put up against man’s technology, they also lose any defense they may have in the wild. 

The Global Guide does encompass the entire world and what is being done or not being done in animal rights. Not only is geography used, but also cultural (whale hunting) and religious beliefs in respect to animal treatment. It’s articles cover just about every conceivable aspect of animal treatment and protection. A very detailed and varied collection on the subject. An excellent read.

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