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On Their Own Terms Paperback – May 29, 2010
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In Hall's view, animal captivity should only be regulated in a manner that proceeds toward ending it. Though many animal advocates might agree, reality is that this seriously constrains and perhaps entirely precludes pursuing many reforms that might significantly reduce animal suffering.
Hall is not insensitive to this conflict. Much of On Their Own Terms considers it, often explaining why her employer, Friends of Animals, frequently opposes the campaigns and views of the majority of animal protection societies.
... All animals would be free-living animals in a society that accepts animal rights, so there is every reason for the advocate to appreciate their autonomy rather than remove it."
Hall accepts--and advocates--surgically sterilizing pets and feral cats. But, though advocating morally based veganism as central to resolving most social, economic, and environmental problems, she questions both pursuit of personal purity at the expense of larger goals, and the whole notion of keeping pets. "Today, we can find 'vegan horse riding boots' advertised, Hall writes. "Is the material the big question here? We'll ask about the customs that put the bodies of horses under our behinds. Similarly, the idea of vegan cat food only looks at the surface issue: the components of the product. Is it our role to press cats into becoming herbivores? Our real concern is whether the very concept of pet cats makes ethical sense. If we can't bring these matters up with other vegans, then maybe we are singularly focused on ingredients at the expense of the overall picture of our interactions with animals."
Hall does not reject caregiving as a part of animal advocacy, at least in the here and now. "Animal autonomy does need defending, and dependent animals do need caregiving, Hall accepts. "Yet it's worth noting that a vegan, by being vegan, spares more animals in a year than most any sanctuary in the world can take in."
This is Bringing Animal-Rights Philosophy Down to Earth. So is Hall's approach to protecting wild horses: "If we want to spare free-roaming horses from being rounded up and auctioned off, the answer cannot be limited to closing horse slaughtering plants.
Confronting slaughter makes sense, but as part of a broader perspective. In the U.S., campaigners have allowed the public to become outraged over the idea that horses are the wrong animals to eat, Hall writes. "If Italians do think eating horse meat is proper, and U.S. residents continue to eat the flesh of pigs and cows, the argument becomes on some level one of cultural superiority. Only if the demand for the closure of horse slaughter operations comes as part of a whole vegetarian view is it consistent, respectful, and sensible."
Hall succeeds as well in Bringing Animal-Rights Philosophy Down to Earth in her discussion of campaign tactics. "Attempting to design a campaign or community around a regular diet of blood and every imaginable suffering, she writes, "probably won't attract most healthy people to our cause. That reality is often forgotten when groups excuse sensationalism, sexism or any kind of insensitivity to human experiences by insisting such advertising brings a lot of attention, and thus supporters. We have no way of measuring how many people that insensitivity chases away from the same cause."... --Merritt Clifton. Animal People October --VegNews April 2011
Attorney Lee Hall s On Their Own Terms: Bringing Animal-Rights Philosophy Down to Earth is one part study guide, one part vitamin pill for anyone with an interest in assisting animals, or understanding those of us who do. It s that rare book that is simultaneously compelling narrative and reference-worthy, and will be returned to again and again. --VegNews April 2011
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Defined, Hall say "[A]nimal rights means the right to live on our own terms, not the terms of the people who have subjugated you." Rarely does this clarity emanate from animal activism, but this book effectively spells out this message, and with the oppressive lens removed takes a deep look at our behavior and activism.
As a manifesto for positive change, it challenges both new and experienced readers, implores a new way of thinking. Hall effectively progresses existing animal rights theories and ideas, asking many of the questions, quandaries and dilemmas faced by most activists, and provides positive, meaningful direction for progress.
One particular highlight is that it's one of the few books that discusses the roots of veganism and what was intended by this message, widely quoting vegan founder Donald Watson. So much thought and vision that was imparted into veganism in the 1940's has been ignored and swept under the table today, but Hall passionately revives this, bringing us back to a much broader and holistic attitude towards veganism. The vegan philosophy isn't just about ending factory farms, but speaking up for all animals, and ensuring that there is space and consideration in the world for all free-living animals and their communities.
Further to this, Hall asks deep and critical questions.Read more ›
On Their Own Terms touches on every tenant of animal rights philosophy, from the obvious, everyday arguments against the use of animals for food to the less obvious, intensely thought-provoking arguments against domesticated animals used for pets, responses to common objections encountered in animal advocacy, and whether or not we ought to be using graphic imagery for shock value in our advocacy efforts.
Even if you aren't a vegan, vegetarian, animal advocate, or even animal lover, this book seriously makes you question your indoctrinated beliefs of human dominion over the rest of the planet. It hasn't been working out too well for us so far, and this book explores the complex relationships between humanity's future and that of the many biocommunities throughout the world. On Their Own Terms, as the title implies, makes a sound argument for the interconnection of the animal rights and environmentalist movements -- for who is to gain from animal rights if there are no longer habitats for these animals to thrive?
My personal favorite parts of this book are Hall's exploration of the lifeboat scenario and her in-depth analysis of the ailments of what is commonly referred to as today's "animal welfare" movement. (She explores why that title is misleading as well, but that's a whole 'nother ballpark.) It is wholly clear after reading and digesting this book that working for concessions within an industry that will flip a profit off cruelty or the illusion of compassion is an endless cycle.Read more ›
Lee Hall writes not only with passion and tenderness, but with courage and conviction. The writing is impeccable, and the ideas fascinating, making the reader want to learn more as the chapters progress.
This is an important book, one that may very well alter the current understanding of issues facing our planet as espoused by most legislators, environmental groups, and even major animal advocacy groups, all of which, if they are to act responsibly and be taken seriously, must incorporate the right of all sentient beings to experience life "on their own terms."
I would advise everyone to purchase several copies of this book to share with other activists and vegans, as well as those with a different viewpoint, those who eat from a different menu, those who feel that animals are ours to dominate and exploit, who believe that members of other species are secondary to our human wants. And certainly, purchase one for your local library.
No matter how one perceives the many issues facing our world today, the reader will come away from this book a different person, one looking through the mirror, not just at it, and be amazed to discover what is on the other side.
"On Their Own Terms" is destined to be not only THE book of the year, but a classic for years to come.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I knew from the intriguing Foreward, by environmental lawyer Jay Tutchton, that I was going to love this book. Read morePublished on January 16, 2011 by Mark.J
On Their Own Terms expands and redefines what animal rights activism means in the 21st century. As someone who has been an animal activist and vegan for ten years, I found that... Read morePublished on September 7, 2010 by Edita Birnkrant
Lee Hall has written an interesting new book, "On Their Own Terms", and in it has proposed a new way of looking at animal-rights theory and practice. Read morePublished on August 29, 2010 by Tim Gier
Humanity has built a world culture on suffering & domination, from what we eat, to what we wear, to how we entertain ourselves. Read morePublished on July 8, 2010 by In A Gadda Da Vegan
On Their Own Terms is a thought provoking and inspiring book - the second by Lee Hall and I hope there will be more to come. Read morePublished on July 8, 2010 by Elizabeth Forel
This book has a simple thesis: Humanity should let other animals live on their own terms. The implications of this simple thesis are, however, far-reaching and profound. Read morePublished on July 3, 2010 by Joel Marks