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5 Must-Read Animal Rights Books

Being an animal lover doesn't just come with a title; it also comes with a responsibility. If you're very passionate about the welfare of animals, then you may have already seen movies like Blackfish, The Cove, or Project Nim. But what about books on animal rights?

If you want a deeper insight into the struggles of animals and their literal fight for life, here are some classic animal rights books you can get for your bookshelf. Each book can give unique perspectives on humans and animals' complicated and sad history.

Top 5 Animal Rights Books

The Face on Your Plate: The Truth About Food, by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson

Have you ever considered the effects of what you consume on the environment? Your food choices have a direct impact on the welfare of innocent creatures and the health of our planet. This great read by Masson spells it out for you: humans were meant to have a plant-based diet. 

Don't think you're off the hook just because you don't eat meat—you're still contributing to cruelty by consuming milk, eggs, and cheese that are supposedly "cruelty-free." And don't even get us started on fish! Think twice before you take a bite out of our precious marine life.

The Emotional Lives of Animals, by Marc Bekoff

Monkey in a cage holding a person's hand

Marc Bekoff is a biologist who specializes in animal communication. He has done a lot of research on many different creatures—wolves, dogs, elephants, birds; you name it. And guess what? He discovered these creatures have just as rich and complex emotions as ours!

This book discusses how animals experience pain, empathy, cooperation, and morality. And get this, Bekoff's commitment to animal rights even led him to drop out of med school when they asked him to kill an animal as part of an experiment. This piece of literature is essential for anyone who cares about animals and wants to understand them on a deeper level.

Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy, by Matthew Scully

You might be surprised to learn that Matthew Scully was a speechwriter for conservative Republican politicians after you read his thoughtful and moving book. Scully exposes all the terrible things humans have done to animals throughout history, from hunting to factory farming to stealing animals from the wild for zoos and aquariums. And we're telling you, it's not pretty.

The real beauty of this book is how Scully argues that we NEED to treat animals with empathy and kindness. It's not just about being nice—it's about recognizing that animals are living, feeling beings just like us, and it's fundamentally wrong to treat them like objects. Trust me, after reading this book, you'll never look at the world in quite the same way again.

Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows, by Melanie Joy

In this book, Melanie Joy coins the term 'carnism.' She describes it as how society brainwashes us into thinking it's okay to eat certain animals but not others. Melanie also calls out the idea that eating meat is necessary for our diet. It's all part of a bigger system that normalizes the cruelty of farming animals and treats them like objects. This book is essential for anyone who cares about animal rights and wants to understand how we can make a difference.

Animal Liberation, by Peter Singer

This list wouldn't be complete without Animal Liberation. This book by Peter Singer is an absolute must-read for anyone who cares about animal rights. Animal Liberation has been called the "bible" of the animal rights movement—and for good reason.

When it was first published in 1975, it completely changed the game. Singer's book brought the issue of animal suffering to the forefront of public consciousness. It showed us how our actions—like supporting factory farming and animal experimentation—have devastating consequences for other living beings. This book is a call to action, and it's one that we should all heed if we want to make a difference for animals.

Importance Of Books And Speaking Out For Animals

We, as humans, have a moral responsibility to defend and protect those who can't do the same for themselves. Animals have been exploited for so long, and the abuse they receive is, most often than not, just overlooked by many. It's not just with domestic pets, either. Animals in farms that are solely bred to be butchered deserve a full and free life.

Animal rights activists protesting in the street

Unfortunately, as with any social issue, seeing the bigger picture in this sort of topic can challenging. This is why reading books on animal rights is very important. Books can provide in-depth information, and each featured anecdote, essay, or fact gives readers a better look at the struggles keeping wild and domestic creatures from living peacefully.

You can examine the legal structures and cultural attitudes supporting animal abuse through reading. The books mentioned above are valuable resources that can help you understand this social justice issue's complexity. 

Whether you're an activist or just someone who wants to help advocate for animal welfare, the list of books we mentioned can be a great way to expand your knowledge. Through them, you can also get new ideas on how to make a difference today. Even the simplest thing can have a big impact!


Where can I buy animal rights books?

The best place to get your hands on books about animal rights is at your local bookstore, charity shop, or online through retailers such as Amazon and AbeBooks. Oftentimes, organizations such as PETA will also have them available for purchase.

What can I do to promote animal rights?

The best way to promote animal rights is by spreading awareness and educating yourself and others. Build a platform to share stories and facts about animals, write letters to your local representatives, volunteer with organizations promoting animal welfare while wearing rescue t-shirts, or support vegan brands!

Which book inspired PETA?

The book that inspired PETA is Peter Singer's 1975 work "Animal Liberation: A New Ethics for Our Treatment of Animals." The book argues that all sentient creatures should be treated with respect and deserve equal consideration regarding legal rights. This argument provided the foundation for PETA's mission of protecting animals from cruelty and exploitation.

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