As the most populous province in Canada, Ontario is a microcosm of the animal welfare issues which beset Western civilization. The authors of this book, chairman and vice-chairman, respectively, of the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, find themselves constantly being made aware of the atrocities committed in the Society’s jurisdiction.
They have been, in turn, puzzled, exasperated and horrified at humanity’s cruelty to our fellow sentient beings. The issues discussed in this book are the most contentious in animal welfare disputes — animal experimentation, fur-farming and trapping, the use of animals for human entertainment and the conditions under which animals are raised for human consumption. They are complex issues and should be thought about fairly and seriously.
The authors, standing squarely on the side of the animals, suggest “community” and “belonging” as concepts through which to understand our relationships to other species. They ground their ideas in Wordsworth’s “primal sympathy” and Jung’s “unconscious identity” with the animal realm. The philosophy developed in this book embraces common sense and compromise as the surest paths to the goal of animal welfare. It requires respect and consideration for other species while acknowledging our primary obligations to our fellow humans.
''[A]n intelligent, level-headed, thoughtful presentation of issues relating to the history and philosophy of human interaction with animals.''
''With the flair of optimism and a penchant for phrases that invariably bring a smile to a reader's lips [Preece and Chamberlain] suggest a philosophy that embraces common sense and compromise. This is indeed an interesting treatise, written with sanity and hope.... Highly recommended.''
''The authors succeed admirably in their objective of preparing common ground among interests which have often taken extreme positions in the debates surrounding this controversial subject....Thanks to this book we have the opportunity to see how our ethical responsibilities extend beyond humans to a much broader circle.''
''Preece and Chamberlain are to be commended for making a strong case for greater consideration of the interest of non-human animals.... The authors make a significant contribution, particularly important within the Canadian context, to solidifying and extending an emerging ethic that takes us beyond simplistic concepts of cruelty and kindness into moral consideration of the natures of non-human animals.''
''A thoughtful scholarly critique of the logic that many academic philosophers have applied to animal ethics.... Preece and Chamberlain bring to animal ethics a fresh if eccentric scholarship.''
''An impressive attempt to present the history and philosophy behind our contemporary treatment of animals, and to examine the key issues--experimentation, the use of fur, hunting, farms and factory farming, pets, the use of animals for entertainment--from all sides. In a text remarkable for its wide scope and range of references...the authors manage (mostly) to avoid sentimentality on the one hand and bloodless documentary and philosophizing on the other...this book is well reasoned and eminently fair.''