Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Changing minds if not lives too

Capers in the Churchyard: Animal Rights Advocacy in the Age of Terror. by Lee Hall. Nectar Bat Press, Darien, CT: 2006.

Just as it’s hard to read them, it’s also hard to summarize the style or content of Lee Hall’s two books about animals.

During the period I went through both books, highlighting all the way, her viewpoints stayed with me long after I’d finished reading. She’s right about so much, unconventional on familiar issues and painfully demanding as far as what we should be doing.

The first book, Capers in the Churchyard, is the easier read, maybe because it’s shorter and Hall was only warming up for the 2nd book; maybe because not till the 2nd book does she make unarguably clear what she thinks humans should be doing instead of merely improving the conditions of domesticated, purpose-born or captive animals -- not demonstrating against fur, not adopting farm animals in sanctuaries, not demanding kinder ways to kill chickens for McDonald’s to serve . . .

And definitely not threatening or taking physical action against those involved with animal experimentation or any other objectionable activity involving animals.

Hall argues masterfully in Capers that animal advocates must not be militant activists, fighting cruelty and abuse with the same tactics. Don’t fight fire with fire, she argues, but with reason, dignity and inspiration. Those with right on their side should keep it there.

Just think: how often have our minds ever changed when those with different opinions yelled at us, called us names or threatened us and our families?

Hall’s solutions to the world’s myriad wrongs against non-human animals are simple, peaceful . . . and achingly hard to implement:

1 -- transcend the age-old culture of dominion over other animals and accept that the only “right” they need is the right to be left alone.

2 – don’t eat them.

That’s all.

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