United Poultry Concerns October 13, 2006

Marc Bekoff Reviews The Holocaust and the Henmaid’s Tale: A Case for Comparing Atrocities

... along with many others I found this to be a very valuable book -
here's a review I just wrote for Amazon - there also are other very favorable reviews there also ...



Average Customer Review: *****

***** A most important book, October 11, 2006, Reviewer: Marc Bekoff (Boulder, Colorado USA)

Karen Davis' short, intellectually rigorous, historical, sociocultural, and imminently readable book is a **must** read. Davis is an excellent writer with years of personal experience working for all sorts of animals who find themselves in factory farms and feedlots, and her message is clear and convincing - there are striking parallels between the interminable and inexcusable suffering we bring to billions of food animal beings each year and the treatment of human beings during the holocaust.
While it may move some - perhaps most - readers outside of their comfort zones, this is good and necessary for stimulating us all to act more strongly on behalf of all animals who suffer innumerable disturbing and unspeakable atrocities at out hands. And, nowhere are these atrocities more apparent and "in our face" than in slaughterhouses and factory farms which are truly prisons of torture where animals interminably suffer and die and also see, hear, and smell the senseless and ruthless pain, suffering, and death of others, often family members and other friends. One doesn't have to be sentimental to "feel" for food animals, for there are plenty of scientific data that support that claim that they are sentient beings who have preferences and a point of view on what is happening to them and to their friends. Their emotional lives aren't secret, private, or hidden, they're public. Animals tell us clearly what they're feeling and we must not deny what is so very obvious.

Let me emphasize that Karen Davis' book isn't just another Holocaust book. There are many new ideas and some of the major themes that distinguish this book from others include Davis' account of the life of a battery hen from the hen's point of view, her characterizations of internalized forced labor, chapter 5 on "Procrustean Solutions," a rich discussion of ritual sacrifice and genocide as identify destruction, not just physical extinction, Davis' distinctions between pain and suffering, and her chapter on her 9/11 controversy with Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation.

I'm sure that this book will make you shake your head from side to side in disbelief, wondering how things ever got to be so horribly messy and how any human being can ignore what we do to innocent nonconsenting animals every second of everyday. How do we live with the moral boundaries we draw almost solely for our convenience? How did this mentality arise?

Our relationship with nonhuman animals is a complex, ambiguous and challenging affair, and we must continually reassess how we should interact with animal kin. This book will make you do just that. Let's not forget that animal emotions are the gifts of our ancestors. We have them, and so do they. We aren't alone in the emotional arena. It's "bad biology"
to argue against the existence of animal emotions. Scientific research in evolutionary biology, cognitive ethology and social neuroscience, along with our own personal observations, support the view that many animals have rich and deep emotional lives and that they are sentient beings.

I strongly suggest that you read this book, think deeply about the numerous issues that Karen Davis raises, share it with your friends and family, and thank Karen for writing such a moving and bold book. I continually go back to it because it is so rich, deep, clear, disturbing, and novel.

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