“When you know better, you do better.” – Maya Angelou
If I were to teach an intro to Animal rights, these are probably the books that I would choose to have read from front cover to back. I believe that as an animal activist, you need to keep yourself very familiar with animal rights literature. You will always feel more comfortable talking about animal rights with people when you’re well versed in the matter. Here are the books and why I’d recommend them:
Animal Liberation, by Peter Singer
Peter Singer has been called the father of the Animal Right’s Movement. Depending on who you speak with, you’re bound to hear radically different opinions on him. Regardless of your feelings from what you have heard of him, he is worth reading. Animal Liberation was published in the mid 1970’s, and it’s considered by many to be the book that ignited the animal rights movement. I had first read Animal Liberation over a decade ago, expanding my ethical understanding of animals once I grasped his notion of “equal consideration,” “speciesism” and utilitarianism. Obviously my own views on animal rights have radically changed since then with time, but I would still recommend this book as a must read.
Free The Animals, by Ingrid Newkirk
This book is one of my favorite books of all time. It’s easy to read because it is written as a novel. The book focuses around one incredible heroine, who gives us her position in the police force to free animals from places of abuse. The book was written by Ingrid Newkirk, the president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), who I had the privilege to meet last year and tell her that Free The Animals was one of the best books I’ve ever read. She said back to me, “Make sure to spread that book around.” So there you have it!
Eat Like You Care, Gary L. Francione
Almost the entirety of this book is a response to the “But” questions that vegans hear from people who are not willing to give up using animals for food. Francione’s foundation for his argument is based on beliefs that we as a society already hold. He applies the common views we take on animal abuse and applies it to the animals that we use for good, claiming that people seem to be inconsistent on their views of animal abuse. This is definitely a book that has helped me a lot when discussing veganism with non- Anything, really anything! She’s incredible and vegans and non-vegans have eaten everything that I’ve made of hers right away. All of her cookbooks are vegan. My favorites include “Isa does it!” and “Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World” and “Vegan with a vengeance” Isa taught me how to bake as a vegan.
Anything by Isa Moskowitz
Anything, really anything! She’s incredible and vegans and non-vegans have eaten everything that I’ve made of hers right away. All of her cookbooks are vegan. My favorites include Isa Does It! and Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and Vegan With A Vengeance. Isa taught me how to bake as a vegan.
The Sexual Politics of Meat, By Carol J. Adams
I feel that a large reason that I had decided to go vegan overnight, largely had to do with my understanding of feminism. Most feminists have, in the very least, heard of the book Sexual Politics by Kate Millett. I found this book because the title reminded me if Millett’s Sexual Politics (an important book within feminist theory). Adams claims that there is a connection between patriarchal attitudes and a diet of animal flesh/animal products, which will seem obvious to you once you read her argument. Adams says in this book, “We live in a culture that has institutionalized the oppression of animals on at least two levels: in formal structures such as slaughterhouses, meat markets, zoos, laboratories, and circuses, and through our language. That we refer to meat eating rather than to corpse eating is a central example of how our language transmits the dominant culture’s approval of this activity.”
Some notable mentions would be:
From Dusk Til Dawn
Ethics into Action
Rain Without Thunder
The China Study (admittedly, this is the only book on here that I haven’t read but I have heard to many people say positive things about it to leave it off this list).