This is an unforgettable and powerful book, by an author who has captured the essence of violence; and shows how violence towards non-human animals holds the key and ultimate solution to the creation of a violence-free society. Alice Walker, who writes the Foreward says that once this book is read, it will take a lifetime to forget. Others say it should be required reading in our schools and homes. It provocatively reveals the similarities between the violence humans have wrought against other humans, and our treament of non-human animals. It is brief (128 pages) but is a chilling testament, well illustrated with photos and sketches, and altough a small book it speaks volumes to the pain and suffering we have created as a result of so-called human progress.
Majorie Spiegal is a documentary photographer and author of several books. Her fields of study include biology, philosophy, environmental studies, history, nutrition and medicine. In 1989, she founded IDEA (Institute for Development of Earth Awareness), a non-profit educational organisation whose mission synthesizes three areas of concern: environmental, human and animal issues.
In this startling book, Spiegal gives a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves, and points out the 'dreaded comparison' between the pain felt by abused human beings and the pain felt by abused non-human beings, recognising it as the same pain. Why is it unacceptable to treat humans 'like animals', but it is considered a proper manner in which to treat non-human animals? For some, this book my be too challenging to their most closly-held beliefs, but it is truly a consciousness-raising exercise. Most people would say they are against slavery, yet animal slavery is alive and well even in the most 'civilized' society. The author draws parallels, and the illustrations stunnily juxtapose those of captured black slaves and those of captured non-human animals, sometimes wearing the same sort of restraining equipment. There are illustrations of branding to calves and of slaves, the muzzling of dogs and of slaves, the auctioning of slaves and of non-human animals, and many other examples. Families were torn apart, just as calves are ripped from their mothers without even the chance of a lick. There is undisputed evidence of non-human animals sufering the intolerable pain of mourning. In today's factory farmong, chicks never see a hen, cows and sows are kept in stalls, with their young taken from them almost immediately after birth.
The author covers many related subjects, including the language of oppression, transportation, experimentation, food production, hunting, profits and power. A term like 'breaking a horse'- which really does man breaking the spirit of the horse, to tame just as 'uppity' slaves were tamed. Photos of sheep and cattle being transported, are shown with sketches of slave ships; 15 million slaves survived some thirty or forty million transported to the West, and there is a ghastly mortality rate today for cattle and sheep transported from Australia to the East. Hunting continues around the world, with th UK House of Lords in March this year voting to continue hunting with hounds. In the US the object of desire for many hunters is to get a buck's head complete with antlers, stuffed and hung over the fireplace. Many travellers today search for items such as a gorilla's hand for a paper-weight, exotic skins and other tropies, and so many other creatures including whales being hunted. As segregation of blacks was a means for committee to conceal a disturbing reality from the wider society, so today's secrecy protects a profitable but disgusting cruelty to non-human beings. What goes on in laboratories, in abbatoirs, in factory farm? Nowadays in place of cows, sheep, pigs and chickens living peaceably on farms, we see long sheds. Those in power used to say that if slavery were ended, the economics of society would collapse, but it didn't. Today's society that relies very heavily on the exploitation of animals, says the same sort of thing. But the author doesn't give up hope; she urges on her readers to the realization that the non-human we enslave and treat as things, are alive, and hopes that this realization will change our actions. This book is one that you will keep referring to, and it does have a comphrehensive index. Jeffrey Masson, author of When Elephants Weep, said The Dreaded Comparison is a wonderful book, and he urged everyone to read it. So do I.