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Loving Animals

Toward a New Animal Advocacy

2013
Author:

Kathy Rudy

Loving Animals

Improving the lives of animals through emotional connection and empathy

Loving Animals argues that to achieve such goals as ending animal testing and factory farming, activists need to better understand the profound emotional attachment many people have with animals. Offering an alternative to both the acceptance of animal exploitation and radical animal liberation, Kathy Rudy shows that a deeper understanding of this emotional bond can redefine the human–animal relationship.

Loving Animals should be read by everyone who is concerned about the ethics of our relationship with animals. It provides a philosophical middle ground between extreme views on each side of the animal rights issue.

Temple Grandin, author of Animals in Translation and Animals Make Us Human

The contemporary animal rights movement encompasses a wide range of sometimes-competing agendas from vegetarianism to animal liberation. For people for whom pets are family members—animal lovers outside the fray—extremist positions in which all human–animal interaction is suspect often discourage involvement in the movement to end cruelty to other beings. In Loving Animals, Kathy Rudy argues that in order to achieve such goals as ending animal testing and factory farming, activists need to be better attuned to the profound emotional, even spiritual, attachment that many people have with the animals in their lives.

Offering an alternative to both the acceptance of animal exploitation and radical animal liberation, Rudy shows that a deeper understanding of the nature of our feelings for and about animals can redefine the human–animal relationship in a positive way. Through extended interviews with people whose lives are intertwined with animals, analysis of the cultural representation of animals, and engaging personal accounts, she explores five realms in which humans use animals: as pets, for food, in entertainment, in scientific research, and for clothing. In each case she presents new methods of animal advocacy to reach a more balanced and sustainable relationship association built on reciprocity and connection.

Using this intense emotional bond as her foundation, Rudy suggests that the nearly universal stories we tell of living with and loving animals will both broaden the support for animal advocacy and inspire the societal changes that will improve the lives of animals—and humans—everywhere.

Loving Animals

Kathy Rudy is associate professor of ethics and women’s studies at Duke University. She is the author of Sex and the Church: Gender, Homosexuality, and the Transformation of Christian Ethics and Beyond Pro-Life and Pro-Choice: Moral Diversity in the Abortion Debate.

Loving Animals

Loving Animals should be read by everyone who is concerned about the ethics of our relationship with animals. It provides a philosophical middle ground between extreme views on each side of the animal rights issue.

Temple Grandin, author of Animals in Translation and Animals Make Us Human

We live in a messy and imperfect world, as Kathy Rudy puts it, where it's often difficult to always do the ‘right’ thing for nonhuman animals or, in some cases, even know what the ‘right’ decision is. People who truly love animals come to the table with different views because of our complicated, ambiguous, and frustrating relationships with other beings. Loving Animals is a wide-ranging and challenging book that deserves a broad readership. Dr. Rudy reviews different schools of thought and argues convincingly that sacredness, spirituality, and love must be central themes in animal advocacy. The work of love allows us to work together and move forward even in the harshest of times. I agree. Read this book and share it widely and I'm sure numerous animals will thank us for doing this.

Marc Bekoff, author of The Emotional Lives of Animals

In Loving Animals, Kathy Rudy offers a refreshing new perspective on animal advocacy that is intellectually coherent, emotionally satisfying, and beautifully written. Some of Rudy’s conclusions regarding how we should treat the animals in our lives are radical, and yet they make perfect sense. This book is a treat for both head and heart, and parts of it will spin your head around.

Hal Herzog, author of Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It’s So Hard To Think Straight About Animals

Rudy's book is certainly thought-provoking, and people of all predispositions toward animals and animal activism will find much to mull over and to agree and disagree with. . . . Her ideas are consistent and well developed, and descriptions of her experiences with sustainable farms, exotic animal sanctuaries and her own small pack of personable mutts are heartfelt.

Independent Weekly

A highly personal yet well-researched reflection that will appeal to animal lovers, particularly the transformations of how animals are viewed in society, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse, with suggestions to start rectifying the ‘worse.’

Library Journal

Loving Animals offers new stories of animal-human connection that create a world of conscience—stories of both grief and grace.

Orion Magazine

Loving Animals is a refreshingly accessible combination of scholarship and Rudy's personal experiences. . . . This book is a treat for head and heart.

Psychology Today

An invaluable contribution . . . Loving Animals an important book, which deserves to be read carefully.

Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics

Loving Animals is a book that would do well as required reading for college freshmen that have not yet given much thought to “the animal question.”

VegNews

Rudy’s vision for the loving animals we are and among whom we live is a deep humanism.

Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy

Loving Animals

Contents

Introduction: A Change of Heart

1. What’s behind Animal Advocacy?
2. The Love of a Dog: Of Pets and Puppy Mills, Mixed-Breeds and Shelters
3. The Animal on Your Plate: Farmers, Vegans, and Locavores
4. Where the Wild Things Ought to Be: Sanctuaries, Zoos, and Exotic Pets
5. From Object to Subject: Animals in Scientific Research
6. Clothing Ourselves in Stories of Love: Affect and Animal Advocacy

Conclusion: Trouble in the Pack

Acknowledgments
Notes
Bibliography
Index