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Animal Equality [Hardcover]

Joan Dunayer
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 1 2001
The first book on language and nonhuman oppression--and the most progressive animal-rights book to date--Animal Equality shows that deceptive, biased words sustain injustice toward nonhuman animals. Speciesism (prejudice against nonhuman animals) survives through lies. Animal Equality's compelling evidence of nonhuman thought and emotion debunks language that characterizes other animals as unreasoning or insensitive. Vivid descriptions of hunting, sportfishing, zoos, aquaprisons, vivisection, and food-industry captivity and slaughter reveal the cruelty that misleading words legitimize and conceal. Animal Equality also uncovers the speciesist attitudes and practices underlying much sexist and racist language. Every animal--nonhuman or human--deserves equal consideration and protection, Joan Dunayer argues. Offering pronoun, vocabulary, and style guidelines, she proposes new language that will bring us closer to nonhuman liberation.

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"A giant step for animalkind.... intensely powerful: groundbreaking, definitive, comprehensive, compelling." -- Carol J. Adams, author of The Sexual Politics of Meat

"A major contribution to the advancement of both animal protection and our humanity." -- Dr. Michael W. Fox, Senior Scholar, Bioethics, Humane Society of the U.S.

"Brilliant and devastating. . . . a book of monumental importance for animal rights. A tour de force that has no equal." -- Tom Regan, author of The Case for Animal Rights

"Brilliant. . . . A great step forward in the march for justice for all persons, human and nonhuman." -- Jim Mason, coauthor of Animal Factories

"Powerfully eloquent [and] illuminating." -- Evelyn Pluhar, author of Beyond Prejudice

'A giant step for animalkind.... intensely powerful: groundbreaking, definitive, comprehensive, compelling.... a remarkable achievement.' -- Carol J. Adams, author of The Sexual Politics of Meat

'A major contribution to the advancement of both animal protection and our humanity.' -- Dr. Michael W. Fox, author of Inhumane Society

'Anyone interested in changing the status of animals will find Animal Equality a valuable book.' -- Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation

'Brilliant and devastating.... a book of monumental importance for animal rights. A tour de force that has no equal.' -- Tom Regan, author of The Case for Animal Rights

Anyone interested in changing the status of animals will find Animal Equality a valuable book. -- Peter Singer in Vegan Voice, December-February 2002

About the Author

Joan Dunayer is a writer whose publications include articles on a wide range of animal-rights and language issues. Her work has appeared in magazines, journals, college English textbooks, and anthologies. A former college English instructor, she has master's degrees in English education, English literature, and psychology. Animal Equality is her first book.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Language is powerful July 7 2002
By Lisa
Format:Hardcover
Joan Dunayer compellingly argues that the cruel treatment of nonhuman animals (in vivisection, entertainment, sport, rearing/slaughter for food consumption, etc.) is often masked by the euphemisms we employ. We are all familiar with our tendency to call the flesh of dead cow "beef," but Dunayer digs deeper and calls for an end to other common practices that undermine the individuality and unique personality of each and every nonhuman animal that exists. "Wildlife management" groups facilitate hunting. "Animal welfare committees" often oversee research in which countless nonhumans are blinded, subjected to burns, and killed. Zoos market themselves as "wildlife conservationists," imprisoning sentient beings in cages and tanks, depriving them of natural stimuli, and driving them to repetitive and self-destructive behaviors.
Dunayer dispels the myth that language separates humans from nonhumans. Two of her many examples include Alex the African gray parrot who can count, identify objects, and convey fear and sorrow (all using human English), and Washoe the chimpanzee who learned American Sign Language then spontaneously taught it to her son.
The author draws analogies between the current treatment of nonhumans and past abuses of human slaves and women. (At one time both human slaves and women were not considered "persons," much like nonhumans today.) Words like emancipation and abolitionist are resurrected and applied to a cause just as worthy of our concern and immediate action.
The book incorporates a handy thesaurus of words that can be used as alternatives to speciesist terms (e.g. use "flesh" or "muscle" instead of "meat," use "captor" or "keeper" instead of "caretaker") as well as style guidelines for countering speciesism (e.g.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Important Book Feb. 28 2002
Format:Hardcover
We use words not only to inform -- but to deceive and retain our biases. This important book shows how we use words to cover-up and desensitize ourselves to our abuse and cruelty toward other species. It shows how our use language to support our attitudes toward non-human animals as being things or "tools." Dunayer also compares our speciesist language with our expressions of gender bias -- we use the term "mankind" for humankind and "lower" animals for all but humans.
Even people who are sensitive to our more obvious speciesist epithets (like the use of "animal" or "subhuman" to refer to bad actions and "pig" to refer to human sloppiness) and our use of impersonal pronouns when referring to non-humans -- even such sensitized people might still find themselves not exactly "off the hook" (also speciesist).
The book includes a useful thesaurus of speciesist terms and substitute, preferred expressions, as well as a list of style guidelines.
Although this is not a book that one can read in one sitting, it is an important work for both people who care about our treatment and "use" of animals as well as those who care about how we use language.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!! A Much Needed Book Feb. 26 2002
Format:Hardcover
This book is a MUST read!! Read it and "mind your bees and shrews."
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5.0 out of 5 stars Is shooting a human also an act of kindness? Sept. 25 2001
Format:Hardcover
Animal Equality masterfully delves into the deep-seated bias the English language contains concerning nonhuman animals. Dunayer crosses many different areas of animal exploitation to show how our language is manipulated to erase the individuality of individuals, remove the space from which empathy can naturally develop, and to justify immoral and cruel actions. This book is a great resource for open minded people and linguists who wish to delve deeper into how the language we use shapes our own reality. Dedicated to ï¿all nonhuman animalsï¿, Animal Equality is one big step towards a kinder and more compassionate future; a future void of Speciesism. Learn how the use of simple words like, animal, reinforces our exploitation of nonhuman animals by reading this book.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Important Book Feb. 28 2002
By C. H. Young - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
We use words not only to inform -- but to deceive and retain our biases. This important book shows how we use words to cover-up and desensitize ourselves to our abuse and cruelty toward other species. It shows how our use language to support our attitudes toward non-human animals as being things or "tools." Dunayer also compares our speciesist language with our expressions of gender bias -- we use the term "mankind" for humankind and "lower" animals for all but humans.
Even people who are sensitive to our more obvious speciesist epithets (like the use of "animal" or "subhuman" to refer to bad actions and "pig" to refer to human sloppiness) and our use of impersonal pronouns when referring to non-humans -- even such sensitized people might still find themselves not exactly "off the hook" (also speciesist).
The book includes a useful thesaurus of speciesist terms and substitute, preferred expressions, as well as a list of style guidelines.
Although this is not a book that one can read in one sitting, it is an important work for both people who care about our treatment and "use" of animals as well as those who care about how we use language.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Language is powerful July 7 2002
By Lisa - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Joan Dunayer compellingly argues that the cruel treatment of nonhuman animals (in vivisection, entertainment, sport, rearing/slaughter for food consumption, etc.) is often masked by the euphemisms we employ. We are all familiar with our tendency to call the flesh of dead cow "beef," but Dunayer digs deeper and calls for an end to other common practices that undermine the individuality and unique personality of each and every nonhuman animal that exists. "Wildlife management" groups facilitate hunting. "Animal welfare committees" often oversee research in which countless nonhumans are blinded, subjected to burns, and killed. Zoos market themselves as "wildlife conservationists," imprisoning sentient beings in cages and tanks, depriving them of natural stimuli, and driving them to repetitive and self-destructive behaviors.
Dunayer dispels the myth that language separates humans from nonhumans. Two of her many examples include Alex the African gray parrot who can count, identify objects, and convey fear and sorrow (all using human English), and Washoe the chimpanzee who learned American Sign Language then spontaneously taught it to her son.
The author draws analogies between the current treatment of nonhumans and past abuses of human slaves and women. (At one time both human slaves and women were not considered "persons," much like nonhumans today.) Words like emancipation and abolitionist are resurrected and applied to a cause just as worthy of our concern and immediate action.
The book incorporates a handy thesaurus of words that can be used as alternatives to speciesist terms (e.g. use "flesh" or "muscle" instead of "meat," use "captor" or "keeper" instead of "caretaker") as well as style guidelines for countering speciesism (e.g. use the term animals to include all creatures, human and nonhuman, with a nervous system; avoid expressions that elevate humans above other animals, such as human kindness, the rational species, the sanctity of human life).
This book is a very important building block in making the world a better place for everyone.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is shooting a human also an act of kindness? Sept. 25 2001
By Paul MacKenzie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Animal Equality masterfully delves into the deep-seated bias the English language contains concerning nonhuman animals. Dunayer crosses many different areas of animal exploitation to show how our language is manipulated to erase the individuality of individuals, remove the space from which empathy can naturally develop, and to justify immoral and cruel actions. This book is a great resource for open minded people and linguists who wish to delve deeper into how the language we use shapes our own reality. Dedicated to �all nonhuman animals�, Animal Equality is one big step towards a kinder and more compassionate future; a future void of Speciesism. Learn how the use of simple words like, animal, reinforces our exploitation of nonhuman animals by reading this book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended July 1 2009
By Brandon Becker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Animal Equality is the definitive book on speciesism and language. Joan Dunayer examines the many ways that humans exploit other animals while exposing the deceptive language that conceals, euphemizes, and obscures institutionalized cruelty and injustice.

Reading this book has caused me to overhaul my own language usage to rid it of speciesism. In doing so, my nonhuman animal advocacy has become much more effective. Dunayer provides a style guidelines section and a thesaurus of terms to avoid with suggested alternatives to aid other advocates in doing the same.

Animal Equality is an inspirational call to speak with fairness and act with respect for other animals. If we are serious about rights, equality, and justice for all sentient beings, our movement needs to avoid language that fosters oppression and instead use language that encourages liberation.

I highly recommend this book to all advocates for nonhuman animals.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the most important book ever Jan. 10 2014
By sdr - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
if you read one book read this
it is the most honest detailed explanatory epic book about life how we treat life and the power we have to make the world a better place
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