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Loving Animals: Toward a New Animal Advocacy Hardcover – August 11, 2011

2.9 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Loving Animals should be read by everyone who is concerned about the ethics of our relationship with animals. It provides a philosophical middle ground between extreme views on each side of the animal rights issue."—Temple Grandin, author of Animals in Translation and Animals Make Us Human


"We live in a messy and imperfect world, as Kathy Rudy puts it, where it's often difficult to always do the ‘right’ thing for nonhuman animals or, in some cases, even know what the ‘right’ decision is. People who truly love animals come to the table with different views because of our complicated, ambiguous, and frustrating relationships with other beings. Loving Animals is a wide-ranging and challenging book that deserves a broad readership. Dr. Rudy reviews different schools of thought and argues convincingly that sacredness, spirituality, and love must be central themes in animal advocacy. The work of love allows us to work together and move forward even in the harshest of times. I agree. Read this book and share it widely and I'm sure numerous animals will thank us for doing this."—Marc Bekoff, author of The Emotional Lives of Animals


"In Loving Animals, Kathy Rudy offers a refreshing new perspective on animal advocacy that is intellectually coherent, emotionally satisfying, and beautifully written. Some of Rudy’s conclusions regarding how we should treat the animals in our lives are radical, and yet they make perfect sense. This book is a treat for both head and heart, and parts of it will spin your head around." —Hal Herzog, author of Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It’s So Hard To Think Straight About Animals

About the Author

Kathy Rudy is associate professor of ethics and women’s studies at Duke University. She is the author of Sex and the Church: Gender, Homosexuality, and the Transformation of Christian Ethics and Beyond Pro-Life and Pro-Choice: Moral Diversity in the Abortion Debate.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press (August 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081667468X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816674688
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,462,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This very odd book is being marketed as a debunking of an animal-rights position based on "analytical philosophy," one that recommends replacing it with narrative (stories about how we love animals) and an Eastern idea of "connectedness." A couple of things make this strange. One is that she's attacking something of a straw man-- while I think it's the PETA position on pets that is her target (?), the argument for animal rights is far-ranging, and certainly people who have been advocating for decades against factory farms on the basis of environmental damage, or for apex predators because of the roles they play in ecosystems, will be bemused to discover that they need to learn about "connectedness." There are also worrying implications for basing animal rights on the animals we love AND THAT CAN LOVE US-- a problem beautifully portrayed by Jonathan Safran Foer in just a couple of pages in Eating Animals as he describes Germans rallying to save Knut the polar bear-- while eating sausages. What does this do for animals that don't love us back (snakes, frogs)? For animals we have scary stories about (sharks)? Doesn't it make more sense to organize against factory farms by joining animal rights to those concerned about environmental impacts and the treatment of illegal workers, rather than appealing to a love for pigs, which not everyone shares (hey, some of us aren't even fond of dogs)? And didn't we already have this in the 80s with the save-the-panda phenomenon, and leave it behind as animal rights folks clued in to environmentalism and ecosystems?

Rudy certainly is personally engaged and emotionally committed to her positions, and some readers may enjoy the very personal accounts here, but I found that element the most disturbing part of the book.
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Format: Hardcover
Under-researched, over-simplified, sentimental, often factually wrong, often tautological, etc. See Carol Adams's wonderful response to Rudy:

[...]

On the University of Minnesota website, you can read even more misinformation by Kathy Rudy, such as her claim that animal welfare and rights organizations have too many rules and policies for people who care about animals to accept so they're turned off, and she repeats over and over variations on the theme that the major animal advocacy organizations alienate folks by requiring that their employees (and members) all be vegan. This is absolutely not true for major organizations like PETA, HSUS, ALDF, and ASPCA (can't imagine what other organizations she's referring to). Maybe Rudy should read PETA's employment section ("compassion" seems to be the main criterion). Building arguments on patently false information is deceptive and unethical.

Sorry, Rudy, but love is not the answer. Other preposterous claims: Taming wildlife as a way of loving animals? Zoos and confinement as an antidote to extinction? (Has she never read Zoo Underground?) Does she have statistics to prove that animal advocacy organizations have not made a dent in the tragic oppression of animals? (I have lots of evidence they have made more than a dent.) Veganism is too hard and expensive? (She tried it for a while, said it was too hard and so she gave up. Nota bene: it's very true that you can be a vegan and live on Oreos and Fritos corn chips and Vitamin Water. Fact is, as with any "diet," one has to eat broadly and well, stay away from processed foods, and eat "close to the source.
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Format: Hardcover
Weird book. She talks about how animals would prefer to live a short life than none at all..how can one possibly theorize on what something non-existent would prefer? Why didn't an editor catch this ridiculous premise? She also talks about the personalities of her various dogs and how she 'knows in her heart' that some of them would sacrifice their lives in painful medical experiments to help humans, if given the chance. This isn't just weird, its bordering on the author's now questionable sanity. The book can be very engaging and somewhat interesting,well meaning I am sure, but some of her bizarre tangents and thought processes negate anything redeeming about the book.
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Format: Hardcover
A book that will salve the conscience of those who want to feel comfortable in claiming that they both "love" animals and, at the same time, don't mind profiting (usually, and unnecessarily, in the form of food) off their suffering. Like "The Omnivore's Dilemma," this book will make such people feel righteous in the half-baked, self-serving "moral schizophrenia" (to use Gary Francione's term) they inhabit with regard to animals. A book for the--when all is said and done--largely self-serving cycle-of-life (as long as they remain the predator and not the prey) crowd. In sum, a profoundly uninteresting book.
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Format: Hardcover
Rudy, an academic, counsels us to "embrace" animals with our "hearts," and to seek meaningful "connection" with them through our "affects." What animals need, she says, are not legal protections or rights--just a big squishy hug. The inanity of this argument is significant on its own terms, but it is overshadowed by the author's truly perverse rendering of "love" in the prevailing context, which is one in which humans systematically exploit, torture, and kill literally billions of our "love objects." Incredibly, there is no animal industry that Rudy would abolish. Rudy not only defends the confinement and killing of animals for food, ad infinitum, but also laboratory experiments on animals, hunting, zoos, and a whole lot more. What is finally most disturbing about this weird admixture of sentimental treacle and spine-chilling dissociation is the author's own cluelessness about the central contradiction of her own text and life, which is her almost religious conviction that one can practice "compassion" toward other beings while murdering them. N.B. I say "possibly" the worst book on the subject of animal ethics only because there are many other terrible ones also. But this one does stand out "above the pack" in its own dismal way.
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