Book Review: ‘The Animal Code’
With his recent book The Animal Code: Giving Animals Respect and Rights, Danny Crossman joins the growing number of authors who are speaking up for animals. He does so in a refreshingly short and accessible way, making this book a great introduction to fundamental aspects of animal rights and welfare.
The book opens with a history of our relationship with animals, followed by a discussion of the many ways we exploit animals. What follows is an honest look at the absurdity of considering our own species as superior, whether the basis of this assumption is rational, spiritual or emotional. A chapter detailing costs and benefits shows us how it would be not only feasible but also desirable to emancipate animals. Humans would benefit with regard to their health, the environment, their connection to other species and their own self-liberation.
Finally, the Animal Code is spelled out, proposing the direction in which humans need to head. It consists of a simple and intuitive set of principles ― including the right to live without harm, the right for protection and restoration of the natural environment, the right to freedom, the right to companionship and the right for legal recognition ― that can restore the rightful place of animals as well as the health of the Earth.
With The Animal Code, Crossman not only delivers his answer to Australian philosopher Peter Singer’s question ‘How are we to live?’ but also advises us on how to get everyone to consider the rights of animals. Although Crossman stresses that, ultimately, mankind has to adopt the Animal Code in its entirety, he welcomes gradual change and proposes strategic actions along the way to alleviate a tremendous amount of suffering by allowing for small steps in the right direction.
If we want people to participate in social change, we have to suggest ways to make that change happen instead of just talking about the problem. This book is an important contribution to animal rights and welfare literature because it goes beyond a philosophical idea by providing action steps for everyone ― no matter where along the path of animal and human liberation a person currently stands.
Posted by PETA Asia-Pacific intern Olivia Ladinig