Compassionate Beasts: The Quest for Animal Rights

Compassionate Beasts describes the anti-cruelty campaigns on behalf of nonhuman animals in Great Britain, the United States, and Australia, and explains how the ideas and campaigns of the contemporary movement continue the tradition of 200 years of humane ideas concerning our relationship with both domestic and wild animals. While today's animal protectionists have included the more radical aims of animal liberation and animal rights in campaigns against animal experimentation, intensive farming, and recreational hunting, the author argues that the mainstream animal movement is nonetheless overwhelmingly non-violent. This comparative, sociological analysis of the movement shows that animal protectionists in the case study countries have developed different combinations of grassroots activism and organizational advocacy to promote the cause of justice for animals. Interviews with movement leaders as well as with rank and file supporters reveal the passion and commitment that drives one of the most unique social movements of the modern era. Accessible to readers interested in understanding why and how people support the animal movement, the book is divided into four parts beginning with the historical, philosophical, and sociological dimensions of the animal rights movement. The author then offers insights into what it means to be an animal rights activist from the perspective of movement insiders. Next, the author analyzes the role of individuals and organizations involved in campaigns against the exploitation of domestic captive animals, in laboratories, factory farms, and in the wild. Finally, an outline of cross-national strategies for the protection of animals in the future is outlined and explained. The arguments developed throughout the book are based on qualitative and quantitative data, including interviews and comparative survey data, and refute the perception that proponents of animal rights are violent, misanthropic extremists. This comparative analysis is an important and compelling addition to the literature on the animal rights movement.