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Ethics Into Action: Henry Spira and the Animal Rights Movement Paperback – November 23, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (November 23, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0847697533
  • ISBN-13: 978-0847697533
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.7 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,190,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The eminent philosopher of the animal rights movement skillfully profiles pioneering animal rights activist Henry Spira, whose organization, Animal Rights International, operating on a shoestring budget, has taken on corporate giants like Revlon, Procter & Gamble and Perdue Farms, waging influential campaigns against cruel animal experimentation, against the eating of meat, against the mistreatment of animals on factory farms. Born in Belgium in 1927, Spira, who fled Nazi Germany in 1938 and settled in New York with his family two years later, had no interest in animal liberation until his late 40s. Yet several formative experiences paved the way for his animal rights activism?immersion in left-wing and socialist causes in the 1950s, which led to an undesirable discharge from the Army for "subversive activities"; his work as a civil rights activist and reporter in the South in the 1960s; his militant unionism as a merchant seaman. Personal tragedies, including the suicides of Spira's father and sister, also propelled Spira's quest to give his life meaning by living according to his values and beliefs. Singer, a meticulous, empathetic biographer, is himself part of the story?Spira was his pupil in a 1974 ethics course, and in 1997 they launched the International Coalition for Farm Animals, meeting with McDonald's executives in efforts to promote more humane treatment of animals used in the firm's products. Without being preachy or polemical, this brilliant, consciousness-raising life story makes a strong case that it's time to phase out the needless suffering of animals. The strategic lessons Singer distills from Spira's career will prove inspirational to a broad range of activists fighting many different types of injustice. Photos.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Henry Spira has been a teacher, a guide, an inspiration to his generation and the one that is about to take over. (Roger Caras, president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)

One life's calling, one life's passion, one life's work of conscience and art. Here is the story of someone who dances to his own drummer, leading the revolution forward. (Carol J. Adams, author of The Sexual Politics of Meat and Neither Man Nor Beast)

Henry Spira is a shining example of how to be an effective, pragmatic, and humane animal activist. In this volume, world-renowned philosopher Peter Singer, who was the inspiration for Spira's start in animal activism, has produced a marvelously lucid and insightful biography of his life and activist philosophy. (Paul G. Irwin, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States)

You cannot have an accurate understanding of what the animal rights movement has achieved these last three decades without reading what the movement's most revered philosopher relates in Ethics into Action about the movement's most tactically brilliant activist. . . . To have insight into the still-spinning web of Henry's life is to understand how compassion sensibly lived can drive humane accomplishments. (John F. Kullberg, executive director of the HSUS Wildlife Land Trust)

The name Henry Spira is synonymous with activism that makes a difference . . . and that carries with it the broad perspective that is needed. When the animal rights movement finally achieves the respect it deserves . . . Spira will be to animal liberation as King was to civil rights—and Singer, a giant himself in our field, tells his story as no one else could have. (Doug Moss, cofounder of Animal's Agenda Magazine)

Henry Spira is not a Catholic, but if he were his patron saint would surely be St. Francis of Assisi—he who loved all God's creatures. All his life Henry has fought for the helpless, but most of all for the most helpless of the helpless. Here is his story in Peter Singer's Ethics into Action, a powerful scholarly and often painful narrative, a book bristling with facts and documentation. If you are Catholic you'll put Henry Spira's picture right up there with St. Francis, and, in honor of Peter Singer, you might pass on that next sirloin steak. (Frank McCourt, author of Angela's Ashes)

Without being preachy or polemical, this brilliant consciousness-raising life story makes a strong case that it's time to phase out the needless suffering of animals. (Publishers Weekly)

Singer has produced a clear, engaging and useful account of Spira's productive career. (The Nation)

Singer's well-written and fascinating book is essential for animal welfare and animal rights collections. (Peggie Partelo, Keene State college, NH Library Journal 1999-01-01)

inspirational to those who are working for any kind of social change, because they demonstrate that it is possible . . . (Bloomsburg Review 1999-03-15)

Singer has written an admirable biography of an individual whose life can provide lessons to us all: a man who cut through the nonsense and had a profound effect on many who knew him. But above all else, Ethics into Action demonstrates how important certain unique individuals are to political movements. (David J. Wolfson The Animals' Agenda)

Peter Singer has done well to introduce Henry Spira to a wider public. (E.S. Turner Times Literary Supplement)

Singer's story of his friend [Henry Spira] is engrossing, and will inspire moderate activists the world over. (The New York Review Of Books)

This unique book explores the way philosophical arguments on behalf of non-human animals shaped one man's life and the way that man's life subsequently shaped the strategies and activism of an entire social movement. (Political Studies Review)

An inspiring introduction to the world of animal rights, environmental ethics, social activism, and personal choice. The book flows in a lively fashion and should prove both interesting and informative to readers at all levels. (CHOICE)

Social movement scholars will enjoy reading Ethics into Action as a case study of an early animal rights activist. More importantly, this book provides an alternative view to the single-minded focus of the animal rights movement by displaying an activist whose pragmatic approach connected themes from myriad social movements. Above all, the book is a primer fro social activists who are interested how to achieve change. For those dissatisfied with simply yelling at the public, Singer has written a book that can help activists envision how activists can take on seemingly impossible opponents and win. (Social Movement Studies)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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It is a must read for anyone involved in activism.
Paul MacKenzie
The author, Pete Singer, is an eminent philosopher who started the animal rights movement in the 70's with his best-selling book Animal Liberation.
DianeHatz@gracelinks.org
I really wish Henry is still with us today, the whole world might be a different place.
Y. Lu

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By DianeHatz@gracelinks.org on September 23, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Ethics Into Action is not only a book about Henry Spira's life and the animal rights movement, it is a detailed guide for fighting injustice. Spira, founder of Animal Rights International, is best known for his campaign to end animal testing in the cosmetics industry. His 1980 full page New York Times ad against Revlon's blinding of rabbits was the catalyst that created public outrage against animal testing and led to protests and over 20,000 letters and calls into the company's headquarters. Spira's efforts were responsible for the "cruelty-free" labeling found on many cosmetics today.
In the mid-80s, Spira tackled farm animal issues and was responsible for stopping industry-wide ritual slaughter practices. Fully conscious cattle, weighing up to 2,000 pounds, were shackled, hoisted into the air, and hung upside down by one leg until they were slaughtered. Spira also abolished the USDA practice of branding Mexican cattle on the face. His powerful, full-page newspaper advertisements created such a public outcry that face branding was discontinued. By the 90's, his focus turned to major food producers and fast food chains such as McDonalds, Perdue and KFC. Not only did he fight for more humane treatment of animals who were oftentimes raised in such crowded conditions they could not turn around or stretch their legs, he fought for better conditions for underpaid factory workers.
What many people might not realize is that Henry Spira lived his beliefs. Not only did he believe animals should be treated ethically, he believed his opponents should be treated with an ethical fairness missing in most activism today.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Geoffrey S Bloom on December 21, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Being persuaded about animal rights for some time now, I have been looking for ideas on how to get active. This book provides lots of ideas and is an inspiring portrait of an attractive and committed person. It is also very readable - I read it early into the morning until I finished it.
Spira's activism was highly intelligent, practical, strategic and committed to the long term - he is a hero of the animal rights movement.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. Mackenzie on May 15, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is a well written (as all of peter singers books are) book about the life of Henry. He accomplishes hiis goals because he never lets down. He shows us that the best way to make a change is to work with the people you are trying to change, not against them. This makes perfect sense but most of us do not practice it. Well done and worth a read especiially if you want to be an activist.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 3, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Peter Singer is the father of the animal rights movement. His relationship with Henry Spira is at the heart of this significant book.These two men have done more for animals than any other humans, and this is the story of how they did it. Spira is an inspirational human being who has devoted his life to liberating animals from bogus and cruel laboratory experiemnts. His style, his wit, and his insights are sprinkled throughout this readable biography. Ethics into Action is destined to be a classic. It's a must read for anyone who cares about animals.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Paul MacKenzie on March 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is truly amazing. It is a very exciting book to read, and the enthusiasm of Henry Spira can not help to rub off on your own life. Peter Singer has done an excellent job of giving the reader an easy to access look into the life of a man who inspired thousands of people to think more about all forms of suffering for all types of animals.
Thank you for such an amazing book! It is a must read for anyone involved in activism. It shares a lifetime of wisdom. Enjoy!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Another wonderful book! You changed our thinking and our lives 18 years ago with 'Animal Liberation.' We owe our health and happy lives to you. If the animals could talk, they would say, 'Thank you, Peter.' We hope everyone will take what you have written in this book and put it to good use.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 18, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Peter Singer's "Ethics Into Action" is a must read for every activist -- no matter what your area of activism. Dr. Singer relates how one person, Henry Spira, made a difference for animals. We have all at one time or another pondered "how can I, one person, make a difference in this world?" Read how Henry Spira made a positive impact, again and again, and you will begin to believe that one person can perhaps make a change for the better, whatever one's cause may be. Henry Spira is truly an inspiration. It is ironic that Peter Singer who many years ago inspired and motivated Henry Spira to forge ahead in fighting for a good cause, now many years later writes a powerful, illuminating book on how Henry Spira did just that and instigated major changes for animals along the way, again and again . The path has never been easy, but this one man has moved some big stones going down the path. Henry has influenced society's view regarding animals at large and has had a major impact on how certain corporations treat and regard animals. Whether one agrees with his philosophy or not, one cannot but admire Henry for going down this difficult route and making changes for the better along the way. Whatever your cause, Henry's story will change how you think and what you think. You will believe that you too, one person, can make a difference, whatever your cause. Read the book...make a difference. Push the peanut forward.
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