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We Love You, Charlie Freeman
by Kaitlyn Greenidge
A family hand-rears a young chimpanzee for a language study – what could go wrong? As with the sign language studies involving chimpanzees raised in human homes in the 1970s and 1980s, there is much to go awry.
This book follows the Freemans, a fictional family plucked from gritty Boston suburbs to live under the microscope of a research institute. They have been assigned to raise Charlie, a needy infant chimpanzee, and teach him sign language. We quickly are introduced to much more than this strange situation, however. The Freemans’ experience involves complexities of race, assimilation and family dynamics. The book is more about the family and less about their exotic new addition. Charlie the chimpanzee is really an ancillary character, whose presence brings about truths that are neither attractive nor comfortable for the family members to face. As they cope with what has been put in front of them, the Freemans’ pain and desire to seek comfort is beautifully and precisely human. - Erika Fleury
The High Mountains of Portugal
by Yann Martel
Most books involving chimpanzees are factual, non-fiction reference books. With a few exceptions (Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves comes to mind), these reference books present the chimpanzee as a matter of study for the reader. Oftentimes this acts as a type of mirror, and we learn about ourselves - a fellow great ape - in the process.
The High Mountains of Portugal, the latest work of Life of Pi author Yann Martel, takes a similar approach and adds in a heavy dose of mysticism. Its three sections – titled Homeless, Homeward and Home – follow characters in varying states of loneliness, all of whom encounter a chimpanzee in their personal searches for grounding. Parts of the stories are highly surreal, and other parts seem shockingly realistic even when you know, or hope, they cannot be.
Chimpanzees play a dual role in our society: We adore them and we use them, we consider and treat them as an “other”, all while we continue to recognize more of ourselves within them. Yann Martel acknowledges this strange dichotomy, and as if to settle the matter, proclaims, “We are random animals… We are risen apes, not fallen angels.”
The chimpanzee is used to convey a number of messages:
• The author compares chimpanzees to the elusive Iberian rhinoceros, an animal who also makes continued appearances throughout the book. “Human advancement spelled its end,” he writes, “It was hunted and hounded to extinction and vanished, as ridiculous as an old idea – only to be mourned and missed the moment it was gone. Now it is fodder for fado, a stock character in that peculiar form of Portuguese melancholy, saudade”
• Martel compares chimpanzees to Jesus – quite literally and with rather shocking imagery
• He describes their living conditions in an early 1980’s research center, “the very image of incarceration.”
The author’s account of a human living with a chimpanzee in an apartment, as one might live with a poodle, sounds lovely and is one of the more captivating moments in the book. However, this reviewer wishes it were more realistic. We see none of the violent emotions or destructive tendencies inherent in chimpanzees – only the peace. Although this is ethically irresponsible, we must assume Martel did this intentionally. The story retains a dreamlike quality, and the chimpanzee remains an enigma even to the human living in close quarters with him. The mystery is beautiful. “There’s a reward in the mystery, an enduring amazement,” he writes.
The High Mountains of Portugal examines the emotions that chimpanzees bring out in humankind, as it is in the high mountains of Portugal that his characters face their truths. - Erika Fleury
Opening Doors: Carole Noon and Her Dream to Save the Chimps
by Gary Ferguson
Many emotions are experienced by the reader upon getting engrossed in Save The Chimps’ new memoir of their late leader. Opening Doors: Carole Noon and Her Dream to Save the Chimps by Gary Ferguson follows the steps Dr. Carole Noon took to build her chimpanzee sanctuary. In the process, she unwittingly was building her legacy.
From her primatological beginnings at Zambia’s Chimfunshi sanctuary, to the moment when she had the realization that she was going to be responsible for 266 retired lab chimps (in addition to the 28 rescued chimpanzees already living at Save The Chimps in its early days), Opening Doors touches upon little moments that, together, illustrate how massive Dr. Noon’s accomplishments really were.
The reader has it easy; we get to simply read about the trials and tribulations, and marvel over how it all came together with a little luck and a lot of sweat. It’s difficult to believe that Dr. Noon actually accomplished this much in a relatively short period of time, especially because the path she took to build Save The Chimps was forged by her alone. Nobody had ever built a sanctuary on this scale before, but she was driven to do it because she knew that hundreds of chimpanzees were relying on her.
The photographs in Opening Doors are breathtaking, and the intermittent chimpanzee life stories that accompany the various portraits just may break your heart. At Save The Chimps, sensitive beings who spent decades in uncomfortable laboratory cages where they were subjected to painful medical procedures were finally given the chance at a better life. Instead of dwelling in their misfortune and succumbing to the emotional turmoil of their past, they were eager to move on with their lives, forging new families and friendships while feeling grass under their feet for the first time ever.
Dr. Noon’s life was cut short by cancer in 2009. If the book’s insights are any indication, I would think her humble and practical nature would be grateful that this book exists, if only because it shows the emotional resilience and strength not of herself, but of the chimpanzees. - Erika Fleury
A Primate's Memoir: A Neuroscientist's Unconventional Life Among the Baboonsby Robert M. Sapolsky
I have never been a particularly avid listener of audiobooks. I’d rarely given them more than just a cursory thought, merely because my previous experiences with books had been linked to cozy nights spent huddled under covers, or languid afternoons sunning on the beach. Listen to a book? I didn’t think it possible to become engrossed in story while doing something else (because surely I could never sit still for very long, just listening and twiddling my thumbs). My association with books was concretely formed, and I liked it that way.
And so, when I was asked to review Tantor Media’s newly released audiobook of Robert M. Sapolsky’s A Primate’s Memoir, the title of the book tantalized me enough to put down my guard and give this whole newfangled (to me, that is) audiobook idea a try. I read as many books as I can find about primatology, and this was one I hadn’t reached yet. I decided to make use of my lengthy commute and listen to the book in the car, where it would surely be a better use of my time than tolerating the endless forgettable songs of Top 40 radio.
Sapolsky’s tale begins with his arrival in Kenya as a young academic, where he bravely enters an African world that could not be any different from his Jewish Brooklyn roots. As he starts his research and explores his surroundings, he is scammed, befriended, offered much tea and served a surprising amount of spaghetti. Throughout his trials and tribulations as he gets used to life in the bush amongst the Masai tribes, the listener feels at once as if he is there with Sapolsky and on the other hand, so very glad he is not there with him. “I could do this!” I thought to myself, inspired by the author’s skillful recognition of various baboon troop members and their complex social rankings…turning quickly to “I never ever want to do this!” as I listened to descriptions of particularly sickening 3-day truck rides through blistering desert with little less than endless soft drinks to sustain oneself.
I realized that a benefit of an audiobook can be its narrator. The calm and clear narration of Mike Chamberlain provides a soothing solace from the mania and chaos of Sapolsky’s experiences. The moments of humor (of which there are many) are complemented by Chamberlain’s dry charm. He keeps the story grounded and pleasurable to listen to, even in its’ most uncomfortable moments.
What ties Sapolsky’s various adventures together, and what keeps him returning to Kenya, is his attachment his baboons. As an animal lover and primatology fan, this resonated deeply with me. The troop members he studies over decades are practically considered his friends (if not his family), which makes the jarring ending of the book that much more upsetting. It ends with a stark reminder that everything in nature may be fleeting, but memories persevere.
A Primate’s Memoir reads like a frank, honest love story to baboons who may not have realized the depth of their adoration, but were loved nonetheless. As someone who has also found a love in primatology, the tale of Robert M. Sapolsky’s baboons will stick with me, and I thank his troop for that. - Erika Fleury
The Politics of Species : Reshaping our Relationships with Other Animals
Edited by Raymond Corbey and Annette Lanjouw
The assumption that humans are cognitively and morally superior to other animals is fundamental to social democracies and legal systems worldwide. It legitimises treating members of other animal species as inferior to humans.
The last few decades have seen a growing awareness of this issue, as evidence continues to show that individuals of many other species have rich mental, emotional and social lives. Bringing together leading experts from a range of disciplines, this volume identifies the key barriers to a definition of moral respect that includes nonhuman animals. It sets out to increase concern, empathy and inclusiveness by developing strategies that can be used to protect other animals from exploitation in the wild and from suffering in captivity. The chapters link scientific data with normative and philosophical reflections, offering unique insight into controversial issues around the ethical, political and legal status of other species.
Kindred Beings: What Seventy-Three Chimpanzees Taught Me About Life, Love, and Connection
by Sheri Speede
Enter a world of tender friendships, staunch loyalties, violent jealousies—and enduring love.
As a child, Sheri Speede knew that she wanted to advocate for animals in any way she could. But it was not until many years after veterinary school, when she was transporting a chimpanzee named Pierre away from a biomedical facility as part of her job as a conservation advocate in Cameroon, that Dr. Speede discovered her true calling. She began to search for land for a forest sanctuary for captive chimpanzees that were held on chains and in small cages at local hotels.
Dr. Speede eventually founded the Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center, a forested home for orphans of the illegal ape meat trade. One chim- panzee, Dorothy, was rescued by Dr. Speede and her colleagues from a bleak existence imprisoned on a chain and forged a deep friendship with her. Dr. Speede explains how chimpanzees, like humans, are capable of a broad spectrum of emotional behaviors—both hateful and loving. Dr. Speede also candidly reveals her own struggles as a stranger in a foreign culture trying to adjust to rural African village life. And she admits that unlike Dorothy, she was not always kind, gentle, and forgiving.
Dorothy died of old age at the sanctuary, and a photograph of Dorothy's funeral, in which Dr. Speede cradled Dorothy's head while her family of chimpanzees mournfully viewed her body, went viral after being published in National Geographic. The world was surprised at the depth of the chimps' grief at the loss of their friend, but Dr. Speede was not. Through the chimps, she had come to understand the meaning of love, loyalty, and true connection.
While this is a compelling story about the emotional complexity of the chimpanzees she rescued and befriended, it is also Dr. Speede's story. Major events in her personal life, including love affairs, dangerous run-ins with criminals, and the birth of her daughter, unfold as the development of her primate rescue center runs parallel to her own development. Ultimately, Kindred Beings is a story of profound resilience, of both the apes and the woman who loved them.
A Beautiful Truth
by Colin McAdam
Having a chimpanzee as a pet is a dangerous and costly practice, but Colin McAdam’s A Beautiful Truth illustrates why this is so - in heartbreaking detail.
Told intermittently from the point of view of captive chimpanzees and then by an omniscient narrator, the book could be the story of any couple who buys a baby chimp. Good intentions mask their perilous ignorance, and in the end, it is only after years of a blissful cross-species coexistence that both the pet and his owners pay a terrible price.
It is clear that much research went into the descriptions of chimpanzee behavior peppered throughout the novel, and McAdam’s choice to write partially through a chimpanzee perspective allows the reader to feel like perhaps they can briefly see the world through the eyes of another species.
The tale he tells is haunting, and as suspense builds towards a seemingly inevitable climax, the reader hopes for the best but is sadly not surprised by the conclusion of it all. - Erika Fleury
Monkey Business: A History of Nonhuman Primate Rights
by Erika Fleury
Monkey Business: A History of Nonhuman Primate Rights examines the diverse issues involved with accepting mankind's closest relative into its ever-expanding circle of ethical consideration.
Apes, monkeys, and other nonhuman primates have a dual role in modern society. They are revered for their intelligence, uncanny mimicry, and biological relation to humans, yet are often forced to spend entire lifetimes as unwilling participants in the research, entertainment, and pet industries. Media coverage of topics like primate pet attacks and exotic animal legislative changes have been steadily increasing. The treatment of nonhuman primates is evolving as technology improves the way research is conducted, exotic animal legislation becomes increasingly restrictive, and public outcries arise in response to advertisements using ape actors.
Judicial systems throughout the world are granting nonhuman primates new legal protections, and the inherent rights of various primate species are being explored more than ever before. In response to this topic of increasing relevance, Monkey Business: A History of Nonhuman Primate Rights is the first objective, comprehensive book to document the state of nonhuman primates in modern culture.
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
by Karen Joy Fowler
As a girl in Indiana, Rosemary, Fowler’s breathtakingly droll 22-year-old narrator, felt that she and Fern were not only sisters but also twins. So she was devastated when Fern disappeared. Then her older brother, Lowell, also vanished. Rosemary is now prolonging her college studies in California, unsure of what to make of her life. Enter tempestuous and sexy Harlow, a very dangerous friend who forces Rosemary to confront her past. We then learn that Rosemary’s father is a psychology professor, her mother a nonpracticing scientist, and Fern a chimpanzee.
Fowler, author of the best-selling The Jane Austen Book Club (2004), vigorously and astutely explores the profound consequences of this unusual family configuration in sustained flashbacks. Smart and frolicsome Fern believes she is human, while Rosemary, unconsciously mirroring Fern, is instantly tagged “monkey girl” at school. Fern, Rosemary, and Lowell all end up traumatized after they are abruptly separated. As Rosemary—lonely, unmoored, and caustically funny—ponders the mutability of memories, the similarities and differences between the minds of humans and chimps, and the treatment of research animals, Fowler slowly and dramatically reveals Fern and Lowell’s heartbreaking yet instructive fates.
Piquant humor, refulgent language, a canny plot rooted in real-life experiences, an irresistible narrator, threshing insights, and tender emotions—Fowler has outdone herself in this deeply inquisitive, cage-rattling novel. --Donna Seaman
The Bonobo and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among the Primates
by Frans de Waal
In this lively and illuminating discussion of his landmark research, esteemed primatologist Frans de Waal argues that human morality is not imposed from above but instead comes from within. Moral behavior does not begin and end with religion but is in fact a product of evolution.
For many years, de Waal has observed chimpanzees soothe distressed neighbors and bonobos share their food. Now he delivers fascinating fresh evidence for the seeds of ethical behavior in primate societies that further cements the case for the biological origins of human fairness. Interweaving vivid tales from the animal kingdom with thoughtful philosophical analysis, de Waal seeks a bottom-up explanation of morality that emphasizes our connection with animals. In doing so, de Waal explores for the first time the implications of his work for our understanding of modern religion. Whatever the role of religious moral imperatives, he sees it as a “Johnny-come-lately” role that emerged only as an addition to our natural instincts for cooperation and empathy.
Saving Chimpanzees: A Man on a Rescue Mission
by Eugene Cussons
In this moving account of his work with chimpanzees, Eugene Cussons—host of Animal Planet’s Escape to Chimp Eden and director at Jane Goodall Institute’s Chimp Eden Sanctuary—tells a story of devotion, survival and renewal. In this latter capacity he is committed to rescuing abused and abandoned chimpanzees all over the world, but most notably in war-torn countries like Angola and the Sudan. A tireless champion of man’s closest relative, Eugene risks life and limb and battles bureaucratic red tape in his rescue efforts. Saving Chimpanzees recounts his experiences on the many rescue missions he has undertaken.
Now updated after the recent terrifying incident at Chimp Eden, Eugene provides insight and describes the events, reasons and consequences of the attack on a student.
No Animals Were Harmed: The Controversial Line Between Entertainment and Abuse
by Peter Laufer
A provocative examination of the fine line between the use and abuse of animals.
In a continuation of his study on the interaction of animals and humans, Laufer (Journalism/Univ. of Oregon; Forbidden Creatures: Inside the World of Animal Smuggling and Exotic Pets, 2010, etc.) opens the doors to the complex world of animal service and exploitation. What is the difference between use, misuse and abuse of animals? How does a person know an animal is actually enjoying itself? Do animals feel pain? Does a chicken raised specifically for meat suffer more or less at its death than a rooster raised specifically for cock fights? Is a circus act entertainment for humans or an enslavement of animals? These are some of the many troubling questions the author poses as he travels the world searching for answers. From a lion handler in Budapest to whale shows at SeaWorld to slaughterhouses in California, Laufer graphically details firsthand the varied ways humans and animals interact.
Descriptions of canned hunts, dairy-cow abuse, vivisection and many examples of cockfights force readers to ponder the same questions as the author. Interviews with members of the Humane Society, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and numerous animal-rights organizations counterbalance interviews with breeders of fighting cocks, arsonists and many others who see no harm in how they treat animals. Laufer’s compelling evidence will push readers to assess the distinctions between love and mistreatment among our animal brethren. --Kirkus
Bonobo Handshake: A Memoir of Love and Adventure in the Congo
by Vanessa Woods
In 2005, Vanessa Woods accepted a marriage proposal from a man she barely knew and agreed to join him on a research trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country reeling from a brutal decade-long war that had claimed the lives of millions. Settling in at a bonobo sanctuary in Congo's capital, Vanessa and her fiancé entered the world of a rare ape with whom we share 98.7 percent of our DNA. She soon discovered that many of the inhabitants of the sanctuary-ape and human alike-are refugees from unspeakable violence, yet bonobos live in a peaceful society in which females are in charge, war is nonexistent, and sex is as common and friendly as a handshake.
A fascinating memoir of hope and adventure, Bonobo Handshake traces Vanessa's self-discovery as she finds herself falling deeply in love with her husband, the apes, and her new surroundings while probing life's greatest question: What ultimately makes us human? Courageous and extraordinary, this true story of revelation and transformation in a fragile corner of Africa is about looking past the differences between animals and ourselves, and finding in them the same extraordinary courage and will to survive. For Vanessa, it is about finding her own path as a writer and scientist, falling in love, and finding a home.
Zoo Story: Life in the Garden of Captives
by Thomas French
Zoo Story takes a morally distanced and mostly objective view of the zoo institution as it follows Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo, a nonprofit organization that rose out of disrepair to become wildly successful... but not without more than a fair share of scandal along the way.
Thomas French's investigation into Lowry Park illustrates that zoos are indeed, above all, a business venture. He marvels at the zoo's financial successes that hinge on carefully timed animal insemination and births, coexisting with the industry's posted mission of encouraging conservation and animal protection. The zoo relied on the rarest and most exotic of its inhabitants to draw in the crowds, thus ensuring that future generations of rare species would spend their lives behind bars. French's skeptical eye notices it all, and he presents it all to the reader without much comment.
One of the most telling parts of the book involved the logistical nightmare of transporting elephants on a jet over the ocean. The pachyderms were transported away from natural social groups in their homeland, simply in order to satisfy a distant public's desire to view them in Tampa. The author uses this example as but one part of a larger puzzle, asking the reader to reconsider wether zoos truly have the best interests of their animals at heart. Zoo Story offers a glimpse behind the scenes in a way that would normally never be available to the public. The stories French found need to be told. - Erika Fleury
The Age of Empathy: Nature's Lessons for a Kinder Society
by Frans de Waal
Are we our brothers' keepers? Do we have an instinct for compassion? Or are we, as is often assumed, only on earth to serve our own survival and interests?
In this thought-provoking book, the acclaimed author of Our Inner Ape examines how empathy comes naturally to a great variety of animals, including humans. By studying social behaviors in animals, such as bonding, the herd instinct, the forming of trusting alliances, expressions of consolation, and conflict resolution, Frans de Waal demonstrates that animals—and humans—are “preprogrammed to reach out.” He has found that chimpanzees care for mates that are wounded by leopards, elephants offer "reassuring rumbles" to youngsters in distress, and dolphins support sick companions near the water's surface to prevent them from drowning. From day one humans have innate sensitivities to faces, bodies, and voices; we've been designed to feel for one another. De Waal's theory runs counter to the assumption that humans are inherently selfish, which can be seen in the fields of politics, law, and finance, and which seems to be evidenced by the recent greed-driven stock market collapse. But he cites the public’s outrage at the U.S. government's lack of empathy in the wake of Hurricane Katrina as a significant shift in perspective—one that helped Barack Obama become elected and ushered in what may well become an Age of Empathy.
Through a better understanding of empathy's survival value in evolution, de Waal suggests, we can work together toward a more just society based on a more generous and accurate view of human nature. Written in layman's prose with a wealth of anecdotes, wry humor, and incisive intelligence, The Age of Empathy is essential reading for our embattled times.
Forbidden Creatures: Inside the World of Animal Smuggling and Exotic Pets
by Peter Laufer
On the heels of his acclaimed The Dangerous World of Butterflies, investigative journalist Peter Laufer is back to chronicle his worldwide quest to penetrate the underworld of international animal smuggling.
In Forbidden Creatures, Laufer exposes the network of hunters, traders, breeders, and customers who constitute this nefarious business—which, estimated at $10 to $20 billion annually, competes with illegal drug and weapons trafficking in the money it earns criminals. Laufer asks: What is being smuggled, from where and why? What is being done to stop the illegal trading and irresponsible breeding? Taking readers to exotic and often lawless locales, Laufer introduces brazen and dangerous traders and wealthy customers whose greed and mindless self-interest perpetuate what is now a crisis of survival for a growing number of wild species. Woven throughout with riveting stories from law enforcement officials and federal prosecutors, Forbidden Creatures is a compelling, first-person narrative written in Laufer’s hallmark conversational, entertaining style.
Animals Matter: A Biologist Explains Why We Should Treat Animals with Compassion and Respect
by Marc Bekoff
Nonhuman animals have many of the same feelings we do. They get hurt, they suffer, they are happy, and they take care of each other. Marc Bekoff, a renowned biologist specializing in animal minds and emotions, guides readers from high school age up—including older adults who want a basic introduction to the topic—in looking at scientific research, philosophical ideas, and humane values that argue for the ethical and compassionate treatment of animals. Citing the latest scientific studies and tackling controversies with conviction, he zeroes in on the important questions, inviting reader participation with “thought experiments” and ideas for action.
Bekoff urges us not only to understand and protect animals—especially those whose help we want for our research and other human needs—but to love and respect them as our fellow beings on this planet that we all want to share in peace.
Animal Underworld: Inside America's Black Market for Rare and Exotic Species
by Alan Green
A vast and previously undisclosed underground economy exists in the United States. The products bought and sold: animals. In Animal Underworld, veteran investigative journalist Alan Green exposes the sleazy, sometimes illegal web of those who trade in rare and exotic creatures.
Green and The Center for Public Integrity reveal which American zoos and amusement parks dump their "surplus" animals on the middlemen adept at secretly redirecting them into the private pet trade. We're taken to exotic-animal auctions, where the anonymous high bidders are often notorious dealers, hunting-ranch proprietors, and profit-minded charlatans masquerading as conservationists. We visit some of the nation's most prestigious universities and research laboratories, whose diseased monkeys are "laundered" through this same network of breeders and dealers until they finally reach the homes of unsuspecting pet owners. And we meet the men and women who make their living by skirting through loopholes in the law, or by ignoring the law altogether.
For anyone who cares about animals; for pet owners, zoo-goers, wildlife conservationists, and animal welfare advocates, Animal Underworld is gripping, shocking reading.
Making Kind Choices: Everyday Ways to Enhance Your Life Through Earth- and Animal-Friendly Living
by Ingrid Newkirk
Karen Armstrong, major scholar of religions, recently commented that the one factor uniting all traditional religions is compassion. From this perspective, Ingrid Newkirk, president of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, has written a religious book, one that extends compassion, quite naturally, to nonhuman animals.
This book, however, is not a theoretical treatment about why we should treat animals compassionately. Rather, it is a how-to book of impressive dimensions and almost disconcerting concreteness and variety. In brief, readable chapters she scouts an immense amount of territory. Is your interest tweaked by elephants or whales? Read about the elephant Jenny’s journey from her Sumatra home, through the tortures of circus life, to her current happy existence at the Elephant Sanctuary. Other chapters cover making a will, dealing with breast cancer, and cooking for Passover or Thanksgiving.
Quite helpful chapters treat creating animal-compassionate spaces, choosing cosmetics, clothing, shoes, coffee. Interested in vegetarian recipes? Got ’em. Seeking an animal-compassionate getaway? This is your book. Want to start a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle? Go no further. Not only does each chapter outline clearly what to do, whom to contact, or what the issues are, but the ensuing Resources section points you to a wealth of other books, websites, and videos to appreciate.
The general consumer who might not normally be found scanning a PETA website but who understands compassion will want this volume. Few will read it starting from one chapter and moving serially through to the end, but most will be drawn to read on beyond their interests, ﬁnding something fresh and stirring in every section. -Dr. Jack Furlong
The New Work of Dogs: Tending to Life, Love, and Family
by Jon Katz
The New Work of Dogs profiles a dozen human-dog relationships in the author’s hometown. Through his encounters with various dog owners, author Jon Katz recognized that many pet dogs are being treated as surrogates for human relationships. He surmised that in our increasingly fragmented society of long commutes, spread-out families, divorce, isolation, and overwork more people are turning to animals for much-needed emotional support. While many of these relationships are healthy and mutually beneficial, Katz noticed that an increasing number are having negative consequences on the dogs, who often become stressed and neurotic when humans’ expectations exceed or contradict their innate abilities.
At the PRC we see identical motives for purchasing primates, and similar negative outcomes for the animals. People mistakenly perceive nonhuman primates as children who will never grow up—a permanent source of unconditional love, one they can control. Such owners feel especially confused and betrayed when the primate inevitably attacks them later on. Unlike dogs, which have been evolving for millennia to be compatible human companions, primates are still wild animals and nearly all attempts to keep them as pets fail. Sadly, we see the results of these failed relationships every day.
I strongly recommend this book for anyone interested in psychology, sociology, or animal welfare. Katz skillfully combines engaging anecdotes with the observations and research of breeders, veterinarians, rescuers, trainers, and psychologists to create a compelling look at our evolving expectations of our pets and the impact this has on their behavior and well-being. By extension, the question as to why humans are increasingly seeking deep emotional support from nonhuman animals points to some of modern society's most disturbing trends—trends that need to be addressed for the sake of human and nonhuman animals alike. -Jen Caravello
What Animals Want: Expertise and Advocacy in Laboratory Animal Welfare Policy
by Larry Carbone
Consider animal experimentation from the point of view of veterinarians, dedicated to the health and welfare of nonhuman animals every bit as much as physicians are to human health and welfare. A veterinarian with animal-protectionist tendencies working in a research laboratory in which animals live for the sake of being experimented upon and perhaps are ultimately “sacrificed”—isn’t this situation at least intolerable and at worst desperate? What happens to veterinarians when their professional commitment to animal care runs headlong into their fellow biomedical researchers professional commitment to animal use?
Carbone, a laboratory animal veterinarian for two decades, asks a fresh and crucial question about that professional train wreck: who knows best about what animals think and feel? He addresses this question in all of its complexity, involving the tangled history of policy development attempting to protect animals, research in animal cognition and emotions, styles of political advocacy, and defense on both sides of animal rights controversies. “…though most of the scientists I know are decent, bright, caring people,” Carbone states early on, “they can lose their focus on animal welfare as they perform their experiments, or sometimes just don’t know enough about animals to assure their welfare.” Though he states that he cannot call for an abolition to animal research, he also asserts at the end of his study that “Someday, animal experimentation will come to an end. I would like to live to see that day.”
If you have ever wanted to acquire a well-informed and responsible position on animal experimentation, I can think of no better book to crack than Carbone’s balanced, passionate, and well-reasoned What Animals Want. Just don’t expect easy answers. -Dr. Jack Furlong
Primates in Question: The Smithsonian Answer Book
by Robert W. Shumaker & Benjamin Beck
Primates in Question was developed in response to the thousands of calls and letters the Smithsonian Institution receives regarding the group of animals comprised of humans, apes, monkeys, and prosimians. Written by two leading primate experts from the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, the book answers nearly 100 questions ranging from the broadest and simplest: “What are primates?” to more complex inquiries that ferret out the differences and similarities of the 200-plus species that make up this fascinating group of animals. Some of the most fascinating sections emerge from questions regarding social behavior and intelligence. Primates’ complex thinking and socializing abilities have been the subject of both rigorous scientific study and pop-culture mythology. The authors do an excellent job of dispelling some common myths surrounding grooming, pet ownership, language abilities, and emotions, to name but a few topics. Additionally, the authors have included an extensive discussion about primate conservation and resources for individual involvement.
Primates In Question is a must for anyone with an interest in primates. Whether you have a casual curiosity or a professional need for such information, this book answers the most commonly asked primate-related questions clearly and concisely—and is accompanied by fantastic pictures and a comprehensive reference list. I can say with certainty that our organization will be regularly referencing Primates In Question, both to refresh our own knowledge and to better share our love of primates with others. -Jen Caravello
Ratting the Cage: Toward Legal Rights for Animals
by Steven M. Wise
Steven Wise, an animal-rights lawyer and Harvard Law School professor, demands legal rights and legal personhood for chimpanzees and bonobos. Wise intends Rattling The Cage to be a guide for judges and lawyers, as well as those personally concerned or merely interested in the issue. He provides 12 chapters of history on the issue of humans, nonhumans, thinghood and the law; insight into the mind of the human as well as the chimp; and discussion about the future of the “legal wall” erected between humans and all other animals.
This book is readable and comprehensive. It answers every question you have regarding how and why nonhuman animals should and can become “persons” under American law. Jane Goodall wrote the introduction. It’s dedicated to Jerom Chimpanzee, who died of AIDS in 1996 and with whom I worked during the time of his illness. And it’s an important book—one that will open eyes, plant ideas, and change opinions. -Rachel Weiss
Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey
by Jane Goodall
As a young woman, Jane Goodall was best known for her groundbreaking fieldwork with the chimpanzees of Gombe, Africa. Goodall’s work has always been controversial, mostly because she broke the mold of research scientist by developing meaningful relationships with her “specimens” and honoring their lives as she would other humans.
And Goodall continues to break the mold of scientist by revealing how her research and worldwide conservation institutes spring from her childhood callings and adult spiritual convictions. Reason for Hope is a smoothly written memoir that does not shy away from facing the realities of environmental destruction, animal abuse, and genocide. But Goodall shares her antidote to the poison of despair with specific examples of why she has not lost faith. For instance, she shares her spiritual epiphany during a visit to Auschwitz; her bravery in the face of chimpanzee imprisonment in medical laboratories; and devotes a whole chapter to individuals, corporations, and countries that are doing the right thing. But most of all Goodall provides a beautifully written plea for why everyone can and must find a reason for hope. -Gail Hudson
Next of Kin: My Conversations with Chimpanzees
by Roger Fouts with Steven Tukel Mills
For 30 years Roger Fouts has pioneered communication with chimpanzees through sign language--beginning with a mischievous baby chimp named Washoe.
This remarkable book describes Fout's odyssey from novice researcher to celebrity scientist to impassioned crusader for the rights of animals. Living and conversing with these sensitive creatures has given him a profound appreciation of what they can teach us about ourselves. It has also made Fouts an outspoken opponent of biomedical experimentation on chimpanzees. A voyage of scientific discovery and interspecies communication, this is a stirring tale of friendship, courage, and compassion that will change forever the way we view our biological--and spritual--next of kin.
The Monkey Wars
by Deborah Blum
Scientists who use monkeys and other animals in biomedical research face mounting opposition from animal-rights advocates. Basing this detailed report largely on interviews, Blum, a former science reporter at the Sacramento Bee in California who won a 1992 Pulitzer Prize for a series of articles that inspired this middle-of-the-road book, accuses both sides of caricaturing their opponents as fanatics.
Striving for evenhandedness, she seeks compromise and negotiation, perhaps best exemplified by Jan Moor-Jankowski. Director of the now-defunct Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery, in Sterling Forest, N.Y., Moor-Jankowski listens to animal-rights activists and incorporates some of their criticisms into his methodology. We also meet Christine Stevens of the Washington, D.C.-based Animal Welfare Institute; outspoken Alex Pacheco of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals; and Peter Gerone, crusader for animal research and director of Tulane University's Primate Research Center. Blum credits the animal-rights movement with holding researchers to a standard of compassion and changing the way scientists think about the use of animals. -Publisher’s Weekley
The Great Ape Project: Equality Beyond Humanity
Edited by Peter Singer and Paola Cavalieri
A compelling and revolutionary work that calls for the immediate extension of our human rights to the great apes.
The Great Ape Project looks forward to a new stage in the development of the community of equals, whereby the great apes-chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans-will actually receive many of the same protections and rights that are already accorded to humans. This profound collection of thirty-one essays by the world's most distinguished observers of free-living apes make up a uniquely satisfying whole, blending observation and interpretation in a highly persuasive case for a complete reassessment of the moral status of our closest kin.