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Treated Like Animals: Improving the Lives of the Creatures We Own, Eat and Use

Treated Like Animals: Improving the Lives of the Creatures We Own, Eat and Use

Alick Simmons

You don't have to be an animal rights activist to take an interest in how we treat other creatures. All of us are complicit because all of us, with few exceptions, use animals in some way. How we define 'use' or exploitation should be broad: everything from enjoying a steak or poached eggs, to riding a horse, to keeping a cat as a pet. Animal use is so deeply engrained in our daily lives that we barely notice it. But also we might choose not to look because we are uncomfortable about how some animals are farmed. On the other hand, animal use might not be noticed because it takes place behind fences, is deliberately secret or simply unaccountable - wildlife 'management' and animal research, for example.

An animal's capacity to suffer is not related to the way it is protected by the law, and most killing of wildlife uses methods known to be inhumane. The vast majority of decisions about animal exploitation take little or no account of public opinion and the science of animal welfare. Meanwhile, most vets spend a lot of their time facilitating society's exploitation of animals: helping them grow well so we can eat them, ensuring they recover from going lame so we can ride them, and stopping disease so they don't poison us. These are the veterinary services we don't like to talk about.

Unlike other considerations of animal ethics, this timely and incisive book offers practical insights into the various ways in which animals are exploited, and sets out alternatives based on utility, a recognition of animal sentience and the involvement of wider society in key decision-making. It makes compelling reading for anyone who has an interest in animals, whether wild or domestic, free-living or captive, people intrigued about how their food is produced, and those keen to make informed and intelligent decisions.

"This fascinating and engaging book challenges us all to make better lives for animals."

 - Chris Packham

272 pages.

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