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Beg: If You Really Love Animals You Shouldn't Harm Them

Rory Freedman's latest book is a must read about doing more for animals

Rory Freedman, co-author of Skinny Bitch, is an "animal lover". Her books are wonderful reads about how we all can and must do more for the nonhuman animals (animals) with whom we share our planet. Ms. Freedman's latest book called Beg: A Radical New Way of Regarding Animals is a wonderful and often eye-opening read for everyone who encounters animals in their lives, which includes just about everyone. She tells it like it is and sometimes the text is graphic and hard to handle. But this is the real world for countless, billions of other animals, and we need to face up to what we do and what we all can and must do to make their lives much much better.

A few not so gentle reminders and gems from Beg should whet your appetite for reading this very important book. These include: Basic math + uninformed people = a bunch of dead dogs and cats concerning the millions of animals who are killed in animal shelters each year; Don't get mad, get adopting (we don't need more dog breeders); and Who are you wearing? As I've noted time and time again concerning the notion of "dead cow walking", it's a matter of who we eat (see also and), not what we eat, because millions upon millions of food animals were sentient beings who did not enjoy being egregiously harmed and killed.

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The abuse of animals in entertainment, for our, not their benefit, is reprehensible. Regarding dog shows, in her chapter titled "Worst In Show", Ms. Freedman writes, "I think the Westminster Dog Show is at best irritating and silly, but more than that, it does a disservice parading around these purebreds. It's a disconcerting pairing of beauty pageantry and eugenics." (p. 40) She goes on to note that humans decide which traits are desirable and then we breed dogs to fit these criteria with no concern for the well being of the dogs. It's really a dirty double-cross to bring dogs (and other animals) into the world for our, not their benefit. 

In her last chapter called "Let's Get Spiritual" that both her editor and agent wanted to omit (I'm glad she resisted their attempts to "86" it), Ms. Freedman urges us to go to the "divine seed" in our heart and "be courageous enough to change." Amen. And, it's not that hard to add compassion and love to the world. We can easily do it in all of our daily activities and also when working on large-scale conservation projects (please see, for example, "Ignoring Nature No More: Compassionate Conservation at Work"). So, let's do it now. 

When people tell me they love animals and then harm them I say I'm glad they don't love me

Ms. Freedman walks her talk. As a "psychotic dog mom" with whom I can easily identify, she loves to kiss, bite, hug, and spoon the dogs with whom she shares her home. I really enjoyed Beg and I think you will too. It is a must read about how we must do more to improve the lives of other animals. Ms. Freedman's direct approach and occasional irreverence are very much welcomed as are the deep and unwavering passion and love she offers to other animals and brings to her readers.

Animal pain and suffering hurts us all. We suffer the indignities to which we expose other animals. We are very confused about our relationships with other animals. When people tell me they love animals and then mindlessly and routinely harm them, I say I'm glad they don't love me.

The teaser image can be seen here

Marc Bekoff, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

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