Animalkind: What We Owe to Animals
Kazez (Jean)
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BOOK ABSTRACT:

Amazon Book Description

    By exploring the ethical differences between humans and animals, Animalkind establishes a middle ground between egalitarianism and outright dismissal of animal rights.
    • A thought–provoking foray into our complex and contradictory relationship with animals
    • Advocates that we owe each animal due respect
    • Offers readers a sensible alternative to extremism by speaking of respect and compassion for animals, not rights
    • Balances philosophical analysis with intriguing facts and engaging tales

Contents
    Introduction: Wondering in Alaska.
  1. Before
    1. The Myth of Consent
    2. The Order of Things.
  2. The Nature of the Beast
    1. Animal Consciousness.
    2. Dumb Brutes?
  3. All Due Respect
    1. The Lives of Animals.
    2. Caveman Ethics.
  4. Moral Disorders
    1. Going, Going, Wrong.
    2. Science and Survival.
  5. Next
    1. Vanishing Animals.
    2. The Endless Story.
    Annotated Sources.
    Acknowledgments.
    Index.

Amazon Customer Review
  1. This book is an entry in another Wiley-Blackwell series that seeks to bring philosophy to the masses: Blackwell Public Philosophy. It is the "love of wisdom", we are told, that "lies at the heart of this series". So be it.
  2. Jean Kazez's "Animalkind: What We Owe to Animals" is a well-written and thoroughly-researched work that covers the basic ideas of animal ethics in a conversational and easy-to-understand tone. The "Annotated Sources" section lists all reference material that Ms. Kazez used in researching the subject matter for this book. It is extensive. Ms. Kazez begins her story by recounting a recent Kazez family vacation in the wilderness of Alaska. This trip started her thinking about "the animal conundrum", as she puts it, of what animals are and what human beings owe them. We proceed with a historical and anthropological tour of the relation between animals and humans, looking at the Bible and at primitive social groups. We cover the ideas of Aristotle and Descartes and Darwin. We look at the "nature of the beast", and wonder if animals can be considered to be conscious, and if that even matters. We cover zoological evidence of how animals have been observed in both the wild and in zoos, displaying human-like traits like language (FYI, animals do not have language, Ms. Kazez, they utilize "call signs"). We also cover, of course, the use of animals as food resources in factory farms and their use in laboratory research, along with the history of laws passed in the United States that seek to protect animals.
  3. I feel that Ms. Kazez's position is one of supporting the interests of animals against those of human beings. Likening the alleged plight of animals used for food and research to slavery, noting that "animals do not have their own voices", and urging more activism and sacrifice by as many people as possible, Ms. Kazez shows that she is unable to present an unbiased discussion of the two sides of the issue of animal rights. She also shows her hypocrisy when she details her continuing and deep moral struggles in giving up meat but being unable to do so with fish, eggs (free-range, of course), and milk (organic, of course, from "more humanely treated cows"). She also relates how she avoids leather products, except for shoes (queuing any joke about how women go crazy over shoes in 5.. 4.. 3.. 2.. 1..).
  4. All in all I enjoyed reading this book, and appreciate the thorough research that went into covering the subject matter. But the fact that this work was skewed in favor of animal rights became more apparent the further I read. The decision is between three or four stars out of five. I settle for three, if only because I feel that, with the depth of research that went into this book, Ms. Kazez could have found a way to bring a bit more balance to her presentation of the issues. As long as humans themselves are animals, Ms. Kazez, we will always find a place for non-human animals on our dinner plates. Get used to it.
    → John V. Karavitis

BOOK COMMENT:

Wiley-Blackwell; Blackwell Public Philosophy Series; 1st edition (12 Jan. 2010)



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