January 5, 2011


Bekoff, Marc, Animals at Play: Rules of the Game illustrated by Michael J. DiMotta (Philadelphia: Temple U. Press, 2008).

Bekoff, Marc, The Animal Manifesto: Six Reasons for Expanding Our Compassion Footprint (Novato, California: New World Library, 2010) ("More to the point, if animals can think and feel, what do they think and feel about the ways humans treat them? What would they say to us, and what would they ask of us, if they could speak a human language? Here is what I believe their manifesto would consist of: 1. All animals share the Earth and we must coexists. 2. Animals think and feel. 3. Animals have and deserve compassion. 4. Connection breeds caring, alienation breeds disrespect. 5. Our world is not compassionate to animals. 6. Acting compassionately helps all beings and our world." Id. at 8-9.).

Bekoff, Marc & Jessica Pierce, Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals (Chicago & London: U. of Chicago Press, 2009) ("We define morality as a suite of interrelated other-regarding behaviors that cultivate and regulate complex interactions within social groups. These behaviors relate to well-being and harm, and norms of right and wrong attach to many of them. Morality is an essentially social phenomenon, arising in the interactions between and among individual animals, and it exists as a tangle of threads that holds together a complicated and shifting tapestry of social relationships. Morality in this way acts as social glue." Id. at 7. "In Wild Justice we argue that animals have a broad repertoire of moral behavior and that their lives together are shaped by these behavior patterns. Ought and shouldregarding what's right and what's wrong play an important role in their social interactions, just as they do in ours. . . ." Id. at x. "For readers familiar with evolutionary biology, what we're saying is that arguments for evolutionary continuity--the idea that the differences between species are differences in degree rather than differences kind--are being supported for a wide variety of cognitive and emotional capacities in diverse species. We believe that there isn't a moral gap between humans and other animals, and that saying things like 'the behavior patterns that wolves or chimpanzees display are merely building blocks for human morality' doesn't really get us anywhere. At some point differences in degree aren't meaningful differences at all and each species is capable of 'the real thing.' Good biology leads to this conclusion. Morality is an evolved trait and 'they (other animals) have it just like we have it."Id. at xi.).

Ash, Timothy Garton, Facts Are Subversive: Political Writings from a Decade Without a Name (New Haven & London: Yale U. Press, 2010) (From the essay "Decivilization": "Before our attention wanders on to the next headline story, let's learn the big lesson of Hurricane Katrina. . . . Katrina's big lesson is that the crust of civilization on which we tread is always wafer thin. One tremor, and you've fallen through, scratching and gouging for you life like a wild dog." "You think the looting, rape and armed terror that emerged within hours in New Orleans would never happen in nice, civilized Europe? Think again. It happened here, all over our continent only sixty years ago. Read the memoirs of Holocaust and Gulag survivors, Norman Lewis's account of Naples in 1944, or the recently republished anonymous diary of a German woman in Berlin in 1945. It happened again in Bosnia just ten years ago. And that wasn't even the force majeure of a natural disaster. Europe's were man-made hurricanes." "The basic point is the same" remove the elementary staples of organized civilized life--food, shelter, drinkable water, minimal personal security--and we go back within hours to a Hobbesian state of nature, a war of all against all. Some people, some of the time, behave with heroic solidarity; most people, most of the time, engage in a ruthless fight for individual and genetic survival. A few become temporary angels, most revert to being apes." "The word civilization, in one of its earliest senses, referred to the process of human animals being civilized--by which we mean, I suppose, achieving a mutual recognition of human dignity, or at least accepting in principle the desirability of such recognition. . . . Reading Jack London the other day, I came across an unusual word: decivilization. The opposite process, that is, the one by which people cease to be civilized and become barbaric. Katrina tells us about the ever-present possibility of decivilization." Id. at 407, 407-408. From the essay "Beauty and the Beast in Burma": "'I'm a vegetarian,' says U-5. 'I became a vegetarian after being in prison. You see--I'm sorry to have to tell you this--we ate rats.' But how did they cook the? 'We couldn't. We just dried then in the sun and ate them raw.' From the balcony of a good Chinese restaurant we look across to the great royal fort of Mandalay, its broad moat shimmering in the twilight. A tourist's delight. U-5 tells me that the embankment of the moat was recently rebuilt by forced labour. His own family was compelled to work on it. Earlier, from the top of Mandalay Hill, he pointed first to a landmark that the tourist guides never mention: the large, semicircular prison where he, like many others, spent years in solitary confinement for his part in the pro-democracy protest of 1988. The rat house." Id. at 259, 259-260. Also, see generally George Packer, "Spheres of Influence," NYT Book Review, Sunday, 11/14/2010.)