30 July 2019

FOR THE BIRDS “Can Only Be Described with Superlatives” – Animal Culture Magazine

Karen Davis kissing Ringlet the chicken
Photo by Frank Johnston
— The Washington Post

We interviewed Karen Davis, PhD, of United Poultry Concerns for an article published in the May 2019 issue of Animal Culture. This time we are featuring her new book For the Birds: From Exploitation to Liberation, published by Lantern Books. Organized as an anthology, it contains new material created expressly for this book and previously published material.

The book can only be described with superlatives – extraor­dinary writing, exemplary research, and heart-wrenching pathos. Davis is a compelling storyteller and an accomplished academic, and this effort runs the gamut, from an examination of bestiality in all its dimensions, to a brilliantly written essay, “The Mental Life of Chickens Observed through Their Social Relationships,” in which Davis shares her poignant observations of the chickens at her sanctuary.

Readers will alternately be enlightened, cry, and rage as they progress through this work. Those who are familiar with Davis’ other efforts will not be disappointed. Once again, she has delivered a book which should be in the library of every animal rights advocate. Of particular interest is “The Disengagement of Journalistic Discourse about Nonhuman Animals: An Analysis,” a topic Davis approaches with much passion. The introduction to “The Ethical Deviant” is on point, stating:

Psyche and socialization are complicated, but let us assume that there is a compassionate “child”—a primal sympathy for animals in most of us. One of the saddest ironies in life, I believe, is that there are adults in every community who love and empathize with animals, only they don’t know that there are others among them who feel the same way, because everyone keeps quiet about it. Fear of ridicule and rejection, isolation and ostracism, enables people to bully one another into silence and submission. Ethical deviance challenges the tyranny of custom and compliance.

Reading this book will remind you that you are not alone. Others share your concern for nonhuman animals. For the Birds will inspire you to stay the course. Gift this delightful book to your friends; they will thank you for your thoughtfulness and know they are not alone.

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For The Birds:
From Exploitation to Liberation

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