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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone who wants to fight an injustice., September 23, 1998
This review is from: Ethics into Action: Henry Spira and the Animal Rights Movement (Studies in Social, Political, & Legal Philosophy) (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. He did not believe in pointing fingers or blaming corporations for the wrongs they inflicted on animals; he worked to find realistic solutions that benefited both sides. He convinced companies to fund their own research into finding alternatives to animal testing, and he pressured the government into changing its guidelines on product testing. This realistic and intelligent approach is the reason Spira was so successful.
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. Spira was a pupil of Singer's in a 1974 ethics course, and the two eventually went on to found the International Coalition for Farm Animals.
Unfortunately, Henry Spira recently passed away after a long bout with cancer. But he will live on in every person and animal who benefited from his work, and he will be remembered as a man who lived simply and knew the true meaning of success. Ethics Into Action details how Spira carried out each of his campaigns and gives each of us the blueprint to follow in his footsteps. This book is a must read for anyone who wants to right an injustice or wants to see exactly how one person can make a difference.
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