“About Canada: Animal Rights” by John Sorenson

Despite the title, this is not really a book about Canada. It is Canada-focused, but it is more of a general introduction to animal rights. That was good for me, because it’s the animal rights part that I was interested in, and I think I might have missed the “About Canada” part when requesting the book from LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer program.

Anyway it is a well-written book with plenty of research and examples. It doesn’t pull any punches in describing the full horror of foie gras, factory farming, hunting, seal-clubbing, etc. For example you can read about a video that showed “employees slamming live ducks into the floor, grabbing ducks by their necks and throwing them through the air, and force feeding ducks to the point where they vomited food stained bright red with blood from their damaged throats.”

I think it’s good to read things like that, as horrible as they are. The only way many of us are able to eat meat is by lying to ourselves about exactly what is involved. Even the language we use shields us from reality – “meat” instead of dead animals, “pork” instead of  pig, “rump steak” instead of cow’s arse, etc. Reading about the cruelty and suffering involved in the food industry, and in many other industries involving the exploitation of animals for profit, is important I think.

Sorenson argues for a concept of animal rights much broader than mere ‘humane’ treatment, however. He wants to overturn the whole way of viewing animals as commodities to be profited from, ending what he calls ‘speciesism’ and replacing it with a view of animals as fellow beings with their own rights. It was a very interesting book, full of compelling arguments, and I’m happy I came across it.

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2 thoughts on ““About Canada: Animal Rights” by John Sorenson

  1. “Animal cruelty is not something Canada condones. It happens elsewhere. It’s ‘them’ not us.” This is the false idea that Canadians like to hold onto, but it is far from the truth.
    Finally a book with Canadian statistics describing our constant exploitation of animals.

  2. Hi Catherine, thanks for visiting! It’s certainly impossible to read this book and hold onto that truth. As a non-Canadian, I think I latched onto the parts of the book that had a more global relevance, but you’re right that there’s plenty here about Canada’s exploitation of animals.

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