Bernard Rollin, Ph.D.
Efforts to raise the moral and legal status of animals in society represent one of the most fervid and powerful international social movements of the last three decades. This movement has been remarkably effective in changing accepted practices in virtually all traditional animal uses, from agriculture to zoos. The legislative elimination of confinement agriculture in Sweden; the advent of laws regulating animal research throughout the Western world; the public assault (by referendum) on management of wildlife for hunters; the significant proliferation of animal protection legislation around the world; the rise of university courses on ethics and animals; law school research on raising the status of animals from property; the phenomenal economic growth of cosmetic companies which disavow animal testing; all of these new activities bespeak the power of human moral concern for animals to effect major social change. Yet there has been remarkably little study of this movement, perhaps because it is so often ridiculed and dismissed as “fringe.”
What we do know—most animal advocates are female, well-educated, affluent—is based on minute samples and tells us virtually nothing of substance. Above all, interested parties can get no qualitative “feel” for the sort of people who resolutely advocate for animals, or for the inevitable opponents they create.
John Kistler’s book helps fill this void by presenting us with qualitative self-portraits, in their own words, of a sample of animal advocates and those dedicated to opposing them. People profiled range from a spokesman for the radical Animal Liberation Front to the longtime chief representative of the biomedical research lobby. All respond