Marc Bekoff is professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and is a scholar-in-residence at the University of Denver's Institute for Human-Animal Connection. He is the author of 22 books including Animals Matter. In this stirring call to action, Bekoff beseeches us to treat all animals with love and to look out for them as companions on life's journey. "We're wired to be good. We are wired to be kind, and we are wired to be compassionate. Let's allow our children to retain and exercise these tendencies. The mistreatment of animals must not be allowed to continue."
Polls show that Americans are supporting the growing Green Movement. Part of this phenomenon is a new understanding of our relationships with other species. Our overpopulation and overconsumption is now adversely affecting all living beings on the planet. Bekoff calls for an end to speciesism where animals are seen as lower on the scale of importance than human beings. It justifies our shooting wolves as pests that deserve to die. It enables us to abuse animals in the name of scientific progress or business profit. And it enables Wildlife Services to spend about $100 million a year to actively kill more than one million animals.
Bekoff's manifesto has six points, which are spelled out in the chapters in this paperback:
• "All animals share the Earth and we must coexist.
• "Animals think and feel.
• "Animals have and deserve compassion.
• "Connection breeds caring, alienation breeds disrespect.
• "Our world is not compassionate to animals.
• "Acting compassionately helps all beings and our world."
With great vigor and decisiveness, Berkoff writes about just what is involved in the process of expanding our compassionate footprint. There is material here on animal companions in our homes; managing wild animals; the difficulty of the dance of coexistence; the myth that animals are inherently cruel and competitive to one another; the travesty of factory farms and the despicable ways they treat animals; the maltreatment of animals in zoos, circuses, and rodeos; and the increase in violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).
The author challenges us to think about the reasons why we should care about animals and treat them better ("because they're smart, because they feel, because they are, because they care") and suggests the creation of a global Animal Protection Movement.