Written by Matthew Scully
"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth."--Genesis 1:24-26
In this crucial passage from the Old Testament, God grants mankind power over animals. But with this privilege comes the grave responsibility to respect life, to treat animals with simple dignity and compassion.
Somewhere along the way, something has gone wrong.
In Dominion, we witness the annual convention of Safari Club International, an organization whose wealthier members will pay up to $20,000 to hunt an elephant, a lion or another animal, either abroad or in American "safari ranches," where the animals are fenced in pens. We attend the annual International Whaling Commission conference, where the skewed politics of the whaling industry come to light, and the focus is on developing more lethal, but not more merciful, methods of harvesting "living marine resources." And we visit a gargantuan American "factory farm," where animals are treated as mere product and raised in conditions of mass confinement, bred for passivity and bulk, inseminated and fed with machines, kept in tightly confined stalls for the entirety of their lives, and slaughtered in a way that maximizes profits and minimizes decency.
Throughout Dominion, Scully counters the hypocritical arguments that attempt to excuse animal abuse: from those who argue that the Bible's message permits mankind to use animals as it pleases, to the hunter's argument that through hunting animal populations are controlled, to the popular and "scientifically proven" notions that animals cannot feel pain, experience no emotions, and are not conscious of their own lives.
The result is eye opening, painful and infuriating, insightful and rewarding. Dominion is a plea for human benevolence and mercy, a scathing attack on those who would dismiss animal activists as mere sentimentalists, and a demand for reform from the government down to the individual. Matthew Scully has created a groundbreaking work, a book of lasting power and importance for all of us.
From Library Journal
This is one of the best books ever written on the subject of animal welfare. Scully, a journalist and former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, chooses to fight on his own ground, and he rightly argues that the important thing is not insisting upon equal "rights" for animals but in treating them with a modicum of respect and dignity. His book is as close as a philosophy can come to representing "animal rights" goals while not proclaiming animals to be equal in status to humans, as do classic works like Peter Singer's Animal Liberation. As a journalist, Scully personally investigated several major animal industries, including those of hunting, whaling, and factory farming. He asks penetrating questions and shows the logical and political inconsistencies used to defend cruel industries. Although some may balk at the author's sarcasm, it adds an emotional element to his unequaled depth of insight. Scully has a remarkable grasp of the issues and a unique perspective on our societal treatment of animals. Every library should purchase this book. Highly recommended.
John Kistler, Utah State Univ. Lib., Logan
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Increasing media coverage of troubling trends in animal mistreatment, from genetic cloning and experimentation to factory farming, has heightened the moral imperative to examine how humans use and treat animals, according to Scully. He quotes a wide variety of sources--including the Bible, other famous literature, debates in British parliament, and conversations at a hunter's convention--to provide a wide spectrum of views on the uses of animals and whether they possess consciousness and the ability to feel pain. Scully takes note of our arbitrary, often contradictory approach to the treatment of animals, from objections to experimentation on animals and bans on wearing furs to the blithe consumption of burgers and steaks. He traces the history of the animal rights movement and its philosophical underpinnings and argues for a balance between the cruel and cavalier treatment of animals and the more radical notions of the animal rights movement. Scully is sensitive and insightful without being sentimental. Vanessa Bush
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