Speaking Up for Animals

An Anthology of Women's Voices

Speaking Up for Animals book cover

Speaking Up for Animals

An Anthology of Women's Voices

Available at:

ISBN : 9781612050881
Publisher: Routledge (November 2015)

Diverse experiences united in one anthology; diverse activisms represented together; women’s activism for animals, all together.

Carol Adams about Speaking Up for Animals

Speaking Up for Animals highlights diversity. Authors of this anthology come from different nations, different races, different age groups, and different areas of activism; they are educators, writers, researchers, musicians, undercover investigators, artists, scholars, lawyers, and ministers working on behalf of wild animals, animals confined in laboratories, farmed animals, or homeless companion animals. They speak of the beauty and suffering of pigs, dogs, fish, cats, cattle, chickens, primates, seals, lobsters, and bears. Authors live and work in Malaysia, Singapore, the United States, Lebanon, India, Canada, and Australia—including Indian, Lebanese, Malaysian, American, African-American, and Latino activists—but they are all dedicated to anymal activism, and they are all women.

The Introduction creates a framework for the following essays. First, the introduction describes the exploitation of females as females in food industries, including cows, sows, and hens, pausing to implicate the “free range,” “cruelty free,” “organic,” and “natural” labels as equally exploitative where female farmed anymals are concerned. A parallel is then drawn between this denigration, objectification, and exploitation of farmed anymals and the denigration, objectification, and exploitation of women.

For more about Speaking Up for Animals see:

Introduction to Speaking Up for Animals

Part I: Pondering What I Put in My Mouth

Chapter 1: After learning about gestation crates, Dana Medoro “wailed inarticulately all the way home”—and then got busy with activist. It is “important to be dexterous when advocating for animals,” she writes, “because it’s difficult for people to absorb the shock.” Her essay considers which methods of anymal activism worked, which didn’t, and why.

I understand the resistance—as someone who really did shuffle, all stiffly and sideways, sort of like a crab, toward the cause of helping animals, and I would hate to be told that I arrived too late or that I didn’t do enough.

Dana Medoro in Speaking Up for Animals

Chapter 2: Patty Mark enters a factory farm in the wee hours of the morning to “steal” gravely ill, dying hens, videotaping the theft, then handing the evidence to the media—who obligingly broadcasts their illegal acts, exposing the horrors of factory farming. Pioneer of Open Rescue, Patty Mark takes us along on the journey.

Chickens have captured the minds and hearts of our rescue teams. Their intelligent and amiable personalities are largely unknown among humans. Chickens are wonderful beings.

Patty Mark in Speaking Up for Animals

Chapter 3: Creeping out of their house under cover of darkness in the wee hours of the morning to find out what lurked in their neighbor’s long sheds, thirteen-year-old Kymberlie Adams Matthews and her sister unwittingly gained their first glimpse of the horrors of a poultry farm: thousands of hens crowded in decrepit cages with dead hens scattered throughout. Leaving the hens to their fate, the girls fled in terror, but Matthews returned as an adult, traveling to twelve tornado-damaged battery sheds in Ohio where “topsy-turvy cages, mangled limbs, loose feathers everywhere. Squawks and screeches and fading peeps told of the suffering.”

It’s brutal. It’s unfair. But it’s true: There will always be those I cannot save.

Kymberlie Adams Mathews in Speaking Up for Animals

Chapter 4: Cofounder of Farm Sanctuary (1986) and founder of Animal Acres, Lorri Houston has spent her adult life rescuing farmed animals, lobbying for change, and educating the public. In her writing, Henny the hen and Colin the goat speak for themselves by touching the lives of thousands of visitors at her farm sanctuary, reminding them what we were told when we were children: Be careful what you put in your mouth.

Colin knew that hate and anger don’t change the world—and he reminded us that we must always turn anger into compassion and compassion into action.

Lorri Houston in Speaking Up for Animals

Chapter 5: Gail Eisnitz “traveled from slaughterhouse to slaughterhouse collecting eyeballs and bladders from veal calves,” exposing toxic drugs sold to unsuspecting citizens in supermarkets, and suffering… untold suffering. Her essay describe the what she went through to write the courageous, hard-hitting book, Slaughterhouse, for which she ultimately gained national attention.

I spent the next five years crisscrossing the country documenting the routine dragging, strangling, skinning, scalding, and dismembering of fully conscious beings at essentially every slaughterhouse I visited.

Gail Eisnitz in Speaking Up for Animals

Chapter 6: Artist Sue Coe remembers raiding school laboratories to rescue mice and guinea pigs, and the screaming that came from inside the neighborhood slaughterhouse. “Profit over life. The crime is economics,” she warns, and we are “trained to keep quiet.” But Coe never had any intention of keeping quiet—though she may not utter a word. Coe is internationally known for her artwork, through which she documents the atrocities of factory farming, re-representing that which is hidden.

When I was a girl, we had a girl-gang that was devoted to raids and rescuing nonhumans. We raided the school biology class, rescuing mice and guinea pigs. Somehow we kept these successive generations of nonhumans hidden, safe, and well fed, in our parents’ sheds and gardens. . . . We never read any books about animal liberation, we didn’t know anything about animal rights, yet we knew what to do, what was right.

Sue Coe in Speaking Up for Animals

Chapter 7: Linda McDaniel brings scripture to the discussion, critically exploring accounts of God’s relationship with nonhumans, visions of the Peaceable Kingdom, and the concept of “soul” in light of environmental destruction, exploitation of poor farmers, harm to human health, and the ungodly exploitation of anymals.

Christ intends the Church, led by the Spirit, to work to bring people and animals into one community. God is reshaping me in this new and different ministry to lead a skeptical Church to a broader understanding of God’s plan for creation.

Linda McDaniel in Speaking Up for Animals

Chapter 8: Freelance activist, Heather Moore, highlights the sentience, social structure, and individual personalities of lobsters and octopi—as well as cruelty inherent in both our fisheries and our kitchens. Her entertaining and informative essay stands as testimony to the effectiveness the literary approach to animal advocacy.

Tuna, salmon, shrimp, scallops, crabs, lobsters, and other sea animals don’t belong on our plates any more than do goldfish.

Heather Moore in Speaking Up for Animals

Part II: Working for Wildlife

When you put down this book, ask yourself, ‘in relationship to the other animals, what is my own story of awareness and engagement?’

Carol Adams in Speaking Up for Animals.

Chapter 9: Sue Pemberton introduces Coneely, a premature harbor seal, born six weeks before due date; Anniversary, a bulbous sea lion who arrived comatose at the rescue center; and D-Day, a teenaged California sea lion who showed up on Pier 39 weighing a whopping 400 pounds and sporting a twelve-inch fishing flasher. Pemberton, who rescues and rehabilitates pinnipeds describes rescuing gooey birds who were visibly “stunned and in shock” after 58,000 gallons of bunker fuel spilled into San Francisco Bay.

I feel my work is the very least I can do to reverse a little bit of our careless damage.

Sue Pemberton in Speaking Up for Animals

Chapter 10: Phaik Kee Lim vividly remembers feeling helpless witnessing every-day animal abuse as a child. Now, for more than twenty-five years, she has wielded a pen to improve the plight of nonhuman animals, working behind the scenes at Friends of the Earth Malaysia. Lim explains how a few skillfully placed sentences, when combined with a will to bring change, can push powerful officials to enforce laws on behalf of critically endangered animals, noting that almost anyone “can speak up or write letters to encourage change.”

Defenseless creatures are always at the mercy of humans.

Phaik Kee Lim in Speaking Up for Animals

Chapter 11: Deborah Misotti, lost after the death of her sons, reached out to others in need—in this case a gibbon named Webster. Readers travel with Misotti on her journey from pain and loss to strength through activism, healing alongside recued primates at the Talkin’ Monkeys sanctuary.

Visitors and volunteers sometimes come to us wounded, sometimes physically and sometimes in spirit, too often lonely and wary of strangers. Sometimes they leave for new homes healed and happy, with a bright life ahead, a life filled with new people and new experiences. Sometimes they leave us unwillingly, and we grieve for the loss of souls we have loved. These are the hardest partings.

Deborah Misotti in Speaking Up for Animals

Chapter 12: After Marcus (a cat) teaches her of the needs of anymals, Lynette Shanley illegally enters primate quarters, exposes and shuts down zoos, lobbies to change public school practices, and pushes for stronger laws regulating trade in “exotic pets.” She reminds us that patience is critical to success and that saving anymals can simultaneously save our own lives.

Protecting environments is not just conservation; it is also animal rights—they have a basic right to their natural habitat.

Lynette Shanley in Speaking Up for Animals

Chapter 13: As a child, Amy Corrigan saved worms from the sidewalk, nurtured fluffy toy animals, and ate cows for dinner. But when she came upon vivid posters depicting animal exploitation—cats “with electrodes screwed into their brains, ... a live fox being torn limb from limb by hounds; a sheep having her throat cut with a look of absolute terror in her eyes,” her future as an anymal activist was sealed. Corrigan describes rehabilitating a slow loris, sharing an elephant’s final moments, rescuing sun bears, and raising baby gibbons in Thailand.

The most important decision I have made in my work with nonhuman animals was the decision to move to Southeast Asia, to be part of an animal welfare movement still in its infancy.

Amy Corrigan in Speaking Up for Animals

Part III: Potpourri—Dancing Bears and Undercover Investigations

Chapter 14: Working for PETA India is not without risks. Anuradha Sawhney describes the hair-raising experience of apprehending aggressive men who “own” bears illegally, forcing them to dance in the streets. She also helps to find and expose anymals exploited and damaged by scientists. When she is successful, the anymals are transported to safe haven in sanctuaries. And of course, she understands that long-term, deep, and pervasive change requires education.

This was the job I had always wanted, but until I joined PETA India I had not known that it was possible to work for animals as a career.

Anuradha Sawhney in Speaking Up for Animals

Chapter 15: Kris “Risa” Candour was a vegetarian at sixteen and a vegan at eighteen. She turned presentations and paper assignments into activism—educational moments for teachers and peers alike. In college, she protested circuses, fur shops, vivisection, rodeos, joined the Primate Freedom Tour, and protested with “die-hard” British activists during a semester abroad. As an African American, Candour’s mother taught her to handle race oppression with “refined defiance,” an approached that comes in handy for animal advocacy.

I came from a place of being a minority in a minority movement. Kris 'Risa'

Candour in Speaking Up for Animals

Chapter 16: Animal advocacy is never easy, but it is even more difficult in the midst of war. Joelle El-Massih must face down Hezbollah to care for some of war’s most innocent victims and struggles to heighten compassion in a land saturated with violence, indifference, and unending need. El-Massih finds comfort in close bonds formed with fellow activists.

The first time we drove into the war zone Hezbollah confronted us, thinking we were spies. We showed our ID, and our organization papers. These men were furious that we were feeding dogs and cats. Because so many people had fled, there was no food.

Joelle El-Massih in Speaking Up for Animals

Chapter 17: A pioneer in interspecies trauma studies, psychologist and ecologist Gay Bradshaw explores symptoms of trauma shared by children, women, political prisoners, elephants, chimpanzees, and parrots, exposing crucial connections between anymals and human beings that beg a reluctant humanity to readjust our humancentric ethics. She describes what she does as science with open eyes and an honest heart.

The roars of tigers behind zoo bars, the swaying of elephants in concrete exhibits, and screaming parrots in pet store cages were not just unhappy animals, but rather souls in anguish from human imposed suffering.

Gay Bradshaw inSpeaking Up for Animals

Chapter 18: IN the final essay of Speaking Up for Animals, Michele Rokke reveals an indomitable sense of humor, but admits that she has “untold scenes of suffering freeze-framed in my mind.” Rokke carries readers into the mysterious world of undercover investigations. Working for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, she spent nine months undercover in the notorious research facility, Huntingdon Life Sciences. Rokke describes her working as a spy, concealing a hidden camera and recorder in “an enormous bra, loaded with equipment packed in a lot of socks.” She adds, “I never had so many people, men and women, check me out.”

There is no such thing as a ‘worst case of cruelty’—they are all the worst.

Michele Rokke in Speaking Up for Animals

“The best explanation I’ve read on intersectionality and ecofeminism.”

“Lioness” at Amazon about Speaking Up for Animals

…sparks ideas that can rejuvenate, inspire, and make you think . . .   A beautiful collection.

Ingrid Newkirk about Speaking Up for Animals