Speaking Up for Animals


I hope you will feel inspired, as I have been, reading their stories. But their stories are more than inspiring. They expand our sense of what is possible and they affirm how much any individual can help to challenge evil. Because they have seen, heard, and engaged with evil, they show us not only that it can be done, but how to do it.

Carol Adams
      Author of The Sexual Politics of Meat
      Foreword to Speaking Up for Animals

Authors in Speaking Up for Animals live and work in Malaysia, Singapore, the United States, Lebanon, India, Canada, and Australia—and include Indian, Lebanese, Malaysian, American, African-American, and Latino activists—but they are all dedicated to just one cause, and they are all women. The authors in Speaking Up for Animals are educators, writers, researchers, musicians, undercover investigators, artists, scholars, and lawyers and they are all working on behalf of anymals.

Speaking Up for Animals is divided into three parts, the first of which focuses on those working for farmed animals, the second gives voices to activists for wildlife, and the third includes a variety of other causes, including feeding strays in war-torn Lebanon, “dancing” bears in India, and undercover investigations of animal experimentation in the United States. Prior to Part I, The introduction clarifies connections between the exploitation and subjugation of women and that of animals using multiple examples, including the factory farming of cows and hens for offspring, eggs, and milk, and introduces the animal advocacy movement—largely powered by women.

Because of their sex, sows, cows, chickens, and turkeys are manipulated and exploited from motherless infancy to premature death, through a host of forced pregnancies and stolen offspring.

Introduction to Speaking Up for Animals

Part I: Pondering What I Put in My Mouth

What these writers show so eloquently is that traumatic knowledge can be integrated within our lives. Yes, we do feel a wide variety of emotions in response to this knowledge about nonhumans. But it will not kill us. We can find ways to say, ‘Yes, here you are again, this feeling of pain and hurt and desperation. But I know I can live with it. I know it will not destroy me. I can take the time to acknowledge it, take a deep breath, regain my grounding, and then move forward.’

Carol Adams
Author of The Sexual Politics of Meat
Foreword to Speaking Up for Animals

Chapter 1: Weekends at the Mall with a Pig

After learning about gestation crates, Dana Medoro “wailed inarticulately all the way home”—and then got busy with activism. She writes that it is “important to be dexterous when advocating for animals, 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: On the Road with Open Rescue

Pioneer of Open Rescue, 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 broadcast the activist’s illegal acts, thereby exposing the horror of factory farming.

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: No One Left Behind

Creeping out of their house in the wee hours of the morning and under cover of darkness to find out what lurked in their neighbor’s long sheds, thirteen-year-old Kymberlie Adams Matthews and her sister unwittingly glimpse of the horrors of a poultry farm. 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: That’s Some Sheep

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 essay, Henny the hen and Colin the goat speak for themselves by touching the lives of thousands of visitors at her farm sanctuary, reminding people 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: Slaughtergate:
Investigating Nonenforcement of Farmed Animal Laws

Gail Eisnitz “traveled from slaughterhouse to slaughterhouse collecting eyeballs and bladders from veal calves,” exposing toxic drugs sold to unsuspecting citizens in supermarkets, and documenting suffering… untold suffering. Her essay takes us with her into the field as she does the necessary research prior to writing Slaughterhouse, a book that gained national acclaim.

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: The Art of Love

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 she never had any intention of keeping quiet—though she said not a word: Coe is internationally known for her artwork, through which she documents the atrocities of factory farming, re-representing that which is hidden.

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: Here I Stand, by Faith

Linda McDaniel explores 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 animals.

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: The Fiercest Predators of the Sea

Freelance activist Heather Moore highlights the sentience, social structure, and individual personalities of lobsters and octopi—and the cruelty inherent in fisheries and kitchens that cook up sealife. Her entertaining and informative essay stands as testimony to the effectiveness of a literary approach to animal advocacy.

When I was a child, one of my best friends was a goldfish named Squirmy. I loved that fish . . . . now, having worked in the animal rights movement for fourteen years, I know much more about fish and other sea animals, and I have too much appreciation—and empathy—for sea life to eat these fascinating individuals. 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

We can’t do everything. But we can do something. We stop being bystanders when we recognize that doing nothing is not acceptable. A vegan potluck, a leaflet, giving a book that matters, speaking up and speaking out, contributing money, volunteering, writing letters. The thing is to start. As these stories show, you might not know the path your activism will lead you on, but stepping onto it is a very exciting and important start. We sing, we draw, we work for legislation, we create sanctuaries, we heal sea mammals one at a time, we know that we can do something.

Carol Adams
Author ofThe Sexual Politics of Meat
Foreword to Speaking Up for Animals

Chapter 9: Pinnipeds in Peril: Marine Mammal Rescue

Sue Pemberton introduces three pinnipeds: Coneely, a 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. She also describes her work 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: The Pen Is Mightier Than the Sword

Phaik Kee Lim vividly remembers feeling helpless as a witness to every-day animal abuse when she was a child. Now, for more than twenty-five years, she has worked behind the scenes at Friends of the Earth Malaysia, wielded a pen to bring change for nonhuman animals. Lim explains how a few skillfully placed sentences, when combined with a sincere desire to bring change for animals, can do just that.

Defenseless creatures are always at the mercy of humans.

Phaik Kee Lim in Speaking Up for Animals

Chapter 11: The Meaning of Life

Deborah Misotti, feeling lost after the death of her sons, reached out to others in need—starting with a gibbon named Webster. Misotti carries us on her journey from pain and loss to strength through activism, healing alongside recued primates at the Talkin’ Monkeys sanctuary.

“My grandmother, always tolerant of my youthful energy, reminded me once again not to snap the screen door, then listened patiently while I breathlessly described my latest adventure. She encouraged my dreams for the future, and never hesitated to tell me that I could do anything I wanted when I grew up—be anything I wanted to be. . . . . She listened to me chatter about animals while we shelled peas or husked corn on the steps of the kitchen porch . . . , but never failed to caution me not to love farmed animals too much—they all had a job to do. She even reminded me that, perhaps, when I next came to visit, they would not be there to greet me.”

Deborah Misotti in Speaking Up for Animals

Chapter 12: Little Dog of Safety Bay

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.

Know that tomorrow the cancer may take off again and this time I might die. I will go to my death able to say “I did what I could when I could.” I will have no regrets. My life is wonderful even now. It is made wonderful because of the work I do, because of my own cats, and because I know my purpose.

Lynette Shanley in Speaking Up for Animals

Chapter 13: A Whole New World:
Rescue and Re-Education in Southeast Asia

As a child, Amy Corrigan saved worms from the sidewalk, nurtured fluffy toy animals . . . and ate cows for dinner. But when she first saw 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. Her essay 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

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 14: A Fight for Justice

Working for PETA India is not without risks. Anuradha Sawhney describes the hair-raising experience of apprehending aggressive men who “own” bears illegally and the importance of finding and exposing animal abuse in laboratories. When she is successful in her work, the animals are transported to safe haven in sanctuaries, and no less important, 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: Using My Voice

Kris “Risa” Candour was a vegetarian at sixteen and a vegan at eighteen. She turned school 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 a Black child in a racist nation, Candour’s mother taught her to handle oppression with “refined defiance,” an approached that she has found 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: Loving Life in Lebanon

Animal advocacy is never easy, but it is particularly difficult in the middle of a war. Joelle El-Massih finds comfort in close bonds formed with fellow activists as she faces down Hezbollah to care for some of war’s most innocent victims, struggling to heighten compassion in a land saturated with violence, indifference, and unending need.

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: Animal Ways

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 correct humancentric ethics.

Now, scientific theory and data have demonstrated that other species are on a par with humans in morally relevant ways, and in so doing, have inadvertently demanded a translation of this knowledge into action— action that will transform science. I could not, in good faith, continue on this path, so I shifted my focus: To try and see the world through the eyes of other animals by understanding animal experience from the perspective of traumatology. What I saw was horrifying. 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. . . . Trans-species psychology and traumatology, the study of animal mental and emotional experience—this was science, but science with open eyes and an honest heart.

Gay Bradshaw in Speaking Up for Animals

Chapter 18: From the Files of Agent Nerd

In the final essay of Speaking Up for Animals, Michele Rokke reveals an indomitable sense of humor even as she admits, “I untold scenes of suffering freeze-framed in my mind.” Working for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Rokke carries readers into the mysterious world of undercover investigations, through which she spent nine months in the notorious research facility, Huntingdon Life Sciences. Rokke describes concealing a hidden camera and recorder in “an enormous bra, loaded with equipment packed in a lot of socks.” Showing the humor that may be essential to surviving such intense activism she writes, “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

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