The founder and president of PETA, Ingrid Newkirk, and bestselling author Gene Stone explore the wonders of animal life with “admiration and empathy” (The New York Times Book Review) and offer tools for living more kindly toward them.
In the last few decades, a wealth of new information has emerged about who animals are: astounding beings with intelligence, emotions, intricate communications networks, and myriad abilities. In Animalkind, Ingrid Newkirk and Gene Stone present these findings in a concise and awe-inspiring way, detailing a range of surprising discoveries, like that geese fall in love and stay with a partner for life, that fish “sing” underwater, and that elephants use their trunks to send subsonic signals, alerting other herds to danger miles away.
Newkirk and Stone pair their tour through the astounding lives of animals with a guide to the exciting new tools that allow humans to avoid using or abusing animals as we once did. Whether it’s medicine, product testing, entertainment, clothing, or food, there are now better options to all the uses animals once served in human life. We can substitute warmer, lighter faux fleece for wool, choose vegan versions of everything from shrimp to marshmallows, reap the benefits of animal-free medical research, and scrap captive orca exhibits and elephant rides for virtual reality and animatronics.
Animalkind provides a fascinating look at why our fellow living beings deserve our respect, and lays out the steps everyone can take to put this new understanding into action.
This earnest volume from Newkirk, cofounder of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and Stone (Eat for the Planet, coauthor) is a fascinating look at animal behavior, as well as a treatise against cruelty toward animals. Divided into two halves, it begins by focusing on "who animals are their many talents, languages, and complex cultures." Ants, for example, have strong collective instincts; each has "a specific role within a group, and each group has a distinct purpose." The coauthors also discuss how birds navigate and hone a sense of direction that would "put even the most deft human explorers to shame." The second half focuses on how humans can improve animals' lives not least by abstaining from cruelty. Descriptions of the experiments done on animals including mice, rabbits, monkeys, and dogs in order "to study toxic chemicals, drugs, or diseases" get graphic quickly. As do discussions about animals "routinely killed and skinned for their fur" or crocodiles and alligators "slaughtered for leather." Newkirk and Stone's informative survey effectively nudges readers to think twice about their own use of products sourced, perhaps less than ethically, from the animal kingdom.