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The Animal Manifesto: Six Reasons for Expanding Our Compassion Footprint Paperback


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The Animal Manifesto: Six Reasons for Expanding Our Compassion Footprint + The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy - and Why They Matter + Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: New World Library (February 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1577316495
  • ISBN-13: 978-1577316497
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #481,046 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A collaborator with legendary primatologist Jane Goodall and the 2000 winner of the Exemplar Award from the Animal Behavior Society, author and Colorado University professor Bekoff (The Emotional Lives of Animals) lays out the "unique responsibilities" of human beings, as "moral agents," to overcome speciesism and recognize animals "as fellow sentient, emotional beings," with all the attendant rights that implies. Taking examples from everyday life-from rodeos and circuses to word-processors that replace "who" with "that" when referring to animals-Bekoff illustrates the lengths to which humans go to convince themselves animals don't think, feel, and suffer like we do. Concerning a topic of growing popularity, Bekoff's arguments can be less than rigorous; an "unwavering optimist and dreamer," he focuses more on anecdotes and emotions ("alienation from nature... kills our hearts") than practicalities or a concrete agenda. Instead, Bekoff encourages readers to start simply, by being "mindful" in their interactions with animals. Addressing a weighty issue with gentle but insistent charm, Bekoff's manifesto will nudge skeptics in the direction of enlightenment (assuming anyone but the choir is buying copies).
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From Booklist

Following the premises that animals both feel and convey emotion, are capable of actions that are motivated by compassion, and exhibit attitudes of kindness and empathy, preeminent ethologist and prolific author Bekoff comprehensively posits that the time has come for humans to return the favor. Just as environmental activists advocate reducing one’s carbon footprint in order to live more responsibly, Bekoff argues that expanding one’s compassion footprint, that is, treating animals more humanely, can have equally beneficial consequences. Supporting current scientific research with a wide range of anecdotal evidence, Bekoff outlines six guiding principles designed to increase awareness of the deplorable conditions animals experience across a broad spectrum of activities. From food production to circus acts, drug testing to wildlife encroachment, animals have long been considered objects to be manipulated for the express pleasure and benefit of humans. Unabashedly speaking on their behalf, Bekoff presents impassioned reasons why, and explicit ways in which, such destructive behaviors should stop. --Carol Haggas

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Customer Reviews

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A great general review and a must read for animal lovers.
William Strickland, Ph.D.
Marc Bekoff's latest endeavor is brilliant as it brings to light our need to do better when it comes to our relationships with animals.
V Belt
Treating animals with kindness and compassion is like treating our fellow human beings with compassion.
Vanessa R. Woods

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By V Belt on March 31, 2010
Format: Paperback
Marc Bekoff's latest endeavor is brilliant as it brings to light our need to do better when it comes to our relationships with animals. By weaving stories about humans and animals throughout this manifesto, he makes the read interesting and enjoyable, yet helps us see where we've gone wrong and lets us know how by just expanding our "compassion footprint" we can make things right again. This book should be required reading for all so that we can indeed begin to reshape our world as we come to realize that: "Animals aren't third-class citizens; they're nations of beings who deserve dignity and respect."
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Tracie P on March 27, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is beautifully written! Marc Bekoff shares stories and facts about animals, and their right to freedom. It illustrates what animals would write if they could. I am going to pass this book on to my friends, and read it again!!!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on April 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
Empathy is a trait shared by all animals, human or otherwise. "The Animal Manifesto: Six Reasons for Expanding Our Compassion Footprint" is a discussion of how humanity can treat its neighbors in the animal kingdom better than we do today. Stating that humanity needs to expand its compassion footprint towards animals of all sorts be they wild, domesticated, or farmed, Marc Bekoff states that this compassion will do wonders for both humanity and its fellow animals. "The Animal Manifesto" is well worth considering for animal lovers and those who want them treated better.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Vanessa R. Woods on July 16, 2010
Format: Paperback
I consider myself an animal lover. I'm on the board of Friends of Bonobos, an NGO that supports bonobo conservation in Congo. I put out bird seed in winter. I have a spoiled dog.

So when Marc Beckoff sent me his new book The Animal Manifesto, I prepared to settle in for a smug read. It wasn't. Instead I was alarmed at how careless I was, not about animals I was surrounded with day to day, but about animals I couldn't see. For instance, where does my meat come from? I'm not a vegetarian, and previous to the Animal Manifesto, the only thought I put into buying meat was whether it tasted good. After reading Beckoff's book, I realised that by one tiny change - buying meat at the farmer's market that was grass fed, free range, and humanely slaughtered - I could make a difference. Not only that, but it meant my meat was anitibiotic and other hormone free, which recent research shows is super helpful to my health.

It's easy to get overwhelmed by the long list of our cruelty against animals, but by the end, Beckoff didn't make me feel sad or guilty. It made me determined to change my behaviors in small ways that can make a difference.

If you aren't an animal lover at all, Beckoff sets out a convincing argument for the sentience of animals. He synthesises a wonderful mix of evidence primary literature and personal stories that will leave the greatest skeptic reeling.

And even if you aren't convinced, (and I don't see how this is possible), there's the question of what kind of person you want to be, what kind of person you want your kids to be, what kind of person you want to be with. I once knew someone who used to crush chicks in his hands. He didn't think they couldn't feel, he didn't enjoy their pain, he just didn't care.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By morehumanthanhuman on January 21, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a five-year + vegan for animal rights reasons, I couldn't agree more with the author's premise. Our capacity for empathy and compassion is often missing in how we treat animals. However, the execution of the book left me cold. Too much of the "evidence" was snippets from newspaper articles describing various instances of animal empathy. I realize this is an area the author has focused on (His book Wild Justice, for example, is all about moral behavior in animals), but I don't feel it helped him make his case. We do have an obligation to treat animals fairly -- but not because of times when animals have helped us.

Any book about expanding compassion that includes details on how one can be a better meat-eater seems misguided to me. If the "compassion footprint" includes slaughtering somebody else because you enjoy their taste -- or paying somebody else to do it for you -- it may be a concept that requires further critical examiniation. I was sorry to see Bekoff pull his punches in this area.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Pamela Ziemann on May 20, 2010
Format: Paperback
The first few pages of Marc Bekoff's book drew me in like a moth to a light where I stayed glued to the last page. If you've ever thought you're the only one with a soft spot in your heart for animals, this book will show you that you're not alone.

Marc skillfully brings the reader's attention to the six reasons to expand our compassion footprint toward animals. 1) All animals share the earth and we must coexist 2) Animals think and feel 3) Animals have and deserve compassion 4) Connection breeds caring, alienation breeds disrespect 5) Our world is not compassionate to animals 6) Acting compassionately helps all beings and our world.

This book shows us that being kind to animals not only affects their world, but ours as well.

As a speaking coach, I agree with how Marc advises advocates to speak up for their cause. Find out why people do what they do without simply falling into the trap of telling them what to do. Only some people are intentionally cruel, many times people are just not aware of how animals are suffering. Rather than being silent, we've got to find a way to skillfully shine a light on how our animal friends are being treated. I think a lot of us have been silent for so long, when we do speak up, unprocessed feelings get in the way of making the difference we'd like. Marc reminds the reader the importance of finding ways to have fun while supporting their cause. I couldn't agree more. To take a topic as heart wrenching as animal abuse and find a way to enlighten others is a true artform.
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