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A Rat Is a Pig Is a Dog Is a Boy: The Human Cost of the Animal Rights Movement Hardcover – March 2, 2010

3.5 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review


“Like every antidemocratic ideology, this one [animal rights] is by definition antihuman, and like any antihuman ideology, it ultimately deteriorates into a nihilistic bitterness that is anti-life. . . . Wesley J. Smith knows too well that if the activists ever succeeded in their goals, if they established through culture or law that human beings have no intrinsic dignity greater than that of any animal, the world would not be a better place for either humankind or animals.”

Dean Koontz

About the Author

Wesley J. Smith, a Senior Fellow in Human Rights and Bioethics at the Discovery Institute, is the author of the prizewinning Culture of Death: The Assault on Medical Ethics in America, as well as Consumer’s Guide to a Brave New World and Forced Exit: Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide, and the New Duty to Die. He lives in Castro Valley, California, with his wife, the syndicated columnist Debra J. Saunders.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 270 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books (March 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594033463
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594033469
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.8 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,232,837 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Award winning author Wesley J. Smith is a Senior Fellow in Human Rights and Bioethics at the Discovery Institute. He is also a consultant to the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, and a special consultant for the Center for Bioethics and Culture. In May 2004, because of his work in bioethics, he was named by the National Journal as one of the nation's top expert thinkers in bioengineering. In 2008, the Human Life Foundation named him a Great Defender of Life for his work against assisted suicide and euthanasia.

Smith left the full time practice of law in 1985 to pursue a career in writing and public advocacy. He is the author or coauthor of eleven books.

His book Forced Exit: Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide and the New Duty to Die (1997, Times Books), a broad-based criticism of the assisted suicide/euthanasia movement has become a classic in anti-euthanasia advocacy and is now in its third edition published by Encounter Books in 2006. Smith's Culture of Death: The Assault on Medical Ethics in America, a warning about the dangers of the modern bioethics movement, was named one of the Ten Outstanding Books of the Year and Best Health Book of the Year for 2001 (Independent Publisher Book Awards). His Consumer's Guide to a Brave New World, which he explores the morality, science, and business aspects of human cloning, stem cell research, and genetic engineering, appeared in 2004.

Smith next authored A Rat is a Pig is a Dog is a Boy: The Human Cost of the Animal Rights Movement, a critical look at the animal rights/liberation movement. The best selling novelist Dean Koontz writes of the book in the preface, "Wesley J. Smith knows too well that if the activists ever succeeded in their goals, if they established through culture or law that human beings have no intrinsic dignity greater than that of any animal, the world would not be a better place for either humankind or animals."

Smith's most recently published book is The War On Humans, an ebook that critiques the growing radicalism within the environmental movement. The legendary civil libertarian, Nat Hentoff, praised the work: "If there were an international award for continuing to focus on and document cultural and political threats to basic human life and potential-I emphasize human--the winner would be Wesley J. Smith... [In The War on Humans] Smith has now written a riveting expose of this multi-dimensional assault on human beings that for life saving reasons--I kid you not--must be read by human beings beyond their political, religious, and all other affiliations."

Smith formerly collaborated with Ralph Nader, co-authoring four books with consumer advocate. In addition, he co-authored (with Eric M. Chevlen, MD), Power Over Pain: How to Get the Pain Control You Need.

Smith has published hundreds of articles and opinion columns on issues such as the importance of being human (human exceptionalism), assisted suicide, bioethics, the morality of human cloning, the dangers of animal liberation, the anti-human elements in the radical environmental movement, legal ethics, and public affairs. His writing has appeared nationally and internationally, including in Newsweek, New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Forbes, The Weekly Standard, First Things, National Review, The Age (Australia), the Telegraph (United Kingdom), Western Journal of Medicine, and the American Journal of Bioethics. He has also been published in regional publications throughout the nation and internationally in newspapers in the UK, Italy, Australia, and Canada.

Throughout his career in public advocacy, Smith has appeared on thousands of television and radio talk/interview programs, including such national programs as ABC Nightline, Good Morning America, Larry King Live, CNN Crossfire, CNN World Report, the CBS Evening News, Coast to Coast, the Dennis Prager syndicated radio show, The Dennis Miller Show, the Mike Gallagher syndicated radio show, Afternoons with Al Kresta, EWTN, CSPAN-Book TV, Fox News Channel, and CNN Talk Back Live. He has appeared internationally on Voice of America, CNN International, and programs originating in Great Britain (BBC), Australia (ABC), Canada (CBC), Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Germany, China, and Mexico.

Smith is often called upon by members of legislative and executive branches of government to advise on issues within his fields of expertise. He has testified as an expert witness in front of federal and state legislative committees, and has counseled government leaders internationally about matters of mutual concern.

Smith is an international lecturer and public speaker, appearing frequently at political, university, medical, legal, disability rights, bioethics, religious, and community gatherings across the United States, Europe, Mexico, Canada, South Africa, and Australia.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Wesley J. Smith is an attorney and author of several books, a fact which explains the lucid writing style, absence of rancor, and superb attention to detail and documentation. A previous review explained Smith's reasoning for rejecting the ideology of animal rights so I will focus on other issues.

The book is divided into three sections. The first addresses the ideology and non-violent aspects of animal rights (AR) activism. Smith explains how the AR movement frequently utilizes propaganda like techniques to sway the public to their cause. Part II reveals the more sinister side of the movement by detailing terroristic activities perpetrated by members of the radical fringe of the AR movement, such as the Animal Liberation Front. Perhaps the most frightening aspect of this section is how Smith carefully shows how mainstream AR activists have failed to harshly condemn violence and terror used to further their cause and in some cases even employed those involved in violent activities. The last section explains how animals have benefited humans and how adoption of the AR agenda will diminish humanity. Of particular note, is his careful discussion of the role animal testing has in medical advances which contradicts the repeated claims of many AR activists and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Smith is careful with his wording and avoids painting with broad strokes. He concedes examples of cruelty when he believes the evidence supports it. In my opinion, Smith's greatest contribution consists in his insight into the way AR activists manipulate the media, the public, and assault the judicial system in a take-no-prisoners attempt to implement their agenda.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Common sense these days has been thrown out the window, so we must reaffirm and defend basic truths. One such truth is that of human exceptionalism - humans are special and unique. But that truism is under attack today from various quarters, including the animal liberation brigade.

Those arguing for animal rights have to of course deny that there is anything special or valuable about human beings. Thus the campaign to grant animals rights is really the campaign to dethrone man and disrobe him of any unique significance.

That is the argument of this important book. Smith makes the distinction between animal welfare and the animal rights movement. The former is something all of us should be supportive of. This has to do with the humane treatment of animals. But the latter is something we all should be quite worried about.

What looks like a noble and worthwhile crusade is at bottom really an anti-human ideology. It is in fact "a belief system, an ideology, even a quasi religion, which both implicitly and explicitly seeks to create a moral equivalence between the value of human lives and those of animals".

This movement is often extremist, utopian, and open to the use of violence. For those who are still trying to figure out the book title, it actually is a 1986 quote from the head of PETA, Ingrid Newkirk. She said all four are mammals - end of story.

The true believers in the animal liberation movement are not just gentle dog lovers or cat owners. They are fanatics who are quite happy to harass, vandalise and destroy anything they consider to be abusive to animals. Indeed, Smith warns us of what sort of world we would live in if these radicals had their way:

"Medical research would be materially impeded.
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For too long there has been a total misunderstanding of exactly what the term "animal rights" means as opposed to "animal welfare". This book clears the air once and for all. No one can plead ignorance after having read it. I wish I could put a copy in the hands of every person I know who blithely prattles on about how much they support "animal rights" when what they actually intend to support is animal WELFARE. Domesticated animals are important in our lives on many different levels. Animal rights proponents would like to remove animals totally from the human-animal equation. This book is well-written and well-researched. And just begins this conversation.
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Format: Hardcover
A Rat Is a Pig Is a Dog Is a Boy: The Human Cost of the Animal Rights Movement tells how the concept of animal rights has become part of Western culture, considering the history and evolution of animal rights ideology and also considering different causes and obligations to humanity. This survey provides a calm refute to animal rights over human rights and tells how a more balanced affection for animals can be fostered, instead. Perfect for any library debating animal rights and social issues.
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Format: Hardcover
This was a very educational book for people like me who were previously unfamiliar with the nefarious ways of the animal liberation movement. Dr. Smith's book can be best described as the dark underside of a movement that seems to be...mostly underside. For me, one of the most disturbing moments in the text came when the author recounts an exchange in the Senate between Senator Inhofe and fanatic Jerry Vlasak who stood by an earlier statement regarding his wish to assassinate humans in the hopes of saving animals. What comes across here most is how much their advocacy for animals is a product of their disdain for humanity. I thought the best chapter was 16, "Meat is Not Murder." It dispelled many myths promoted by vegetarians. For example, Smith illustrates that many of the essential vitamins and minerals our body needs (such as B12) are principally obtained via meat ingestion and the notion that humans were not made to eat meat is simply a lie. On aggregate, Dr. Smith's account was brilliant.
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