I received an email recently inviting me to review the newly released book, Beg by Rory Freedman. If her name rings a bell it’s because I interviewed her sometime back in response to her previously co-authored book, Skinny Bitch, a NY Times bestseller. The subtitle to her latest book, A Radical New Way of Regarding Animals, is aptly put. Throughout the pages of this book, Rory urges us to, “not only commit to taking better care of our precious pets, but also to treating all animals—horses, dolphins, chimps, cows, pigs, and others—much more humanely.”
It’s always disappointing to read about and see how animals are treated so poorly in our country. I live in Missouri so I know firsthand! Yes, this is the backwards state where the people voted for and approved Prop B which required some very minimally humane conditions for animals in puppy mills. I think the bill referred to providing puppies and breeding dogs “adequate food” and “adequate water.” That was eventually deemed over-the-top regulations and the state eventually overturned part of the voter-backed language. The Daily Show’s Olivia Munn did a segment on Missouri’s Prop B and she interviewed Anita Andrews who compared Missouri’s puppy mill regulations to communism.
That’s the state I live in.
So reading a book like Beg makes me realize that I’m not crazy for caring about animals. That it’s alright to be concerned about the awful living conditions that many animals face…because of humans. Beg calls attention to these problems and provides steps every concerned person can take to protect these innocent and loving creatures.
There are definitely many points made in this book that I really liked. Here are just a few:
- The book has lots of thought-provoking facts like this one: In the US, nearly 6 – 8 million animals enter shelters every year. Half of these are euthanized. These kinds of facts are not always easy to read, but it’s important to know.
- Rory also shares personal stories based on her own life or those of others who have loved animals, including their pets.
- She expands her focus beyond just pets and discusses animals in zoos, the circus, and other types of environments that we oftentimes look at as entertaining to humans but fail to understand from the perspective of the animals.
- Rory provides suggestions for action at the end of the book, including adopting either veganism or vegetarianism diets. I’m a big supporter of both lifestyle/diet choices as a way of helping to improve the lives of people and animals.
There are a few things about the book I didn’t like so much, most notably, the promotion of PETA. How could an animal-loving vegan not be supportive of an organization like PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)? I find PETA’s tactics and misogynistic antics to be distasteful and extreme. I think we can do better than resorting to bullying and disrespecting people to be more appreciative of animals. Thankfully the book lists lots of other, more palatable options to express our love and appreciate for the animals on this planet, including the Humane Society of the United States and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM).
Overall, I do not describe myself as an extremist when it comes to my diet, my life, or my love of animals. I think there is great value to be found in finding areas of compromise from the many different voices across our planet. Rory Freedman does a thorough job giving voice to the voiceless…animals, both our beloved pets and others.
Order your own copy of Beg by Rory Freedman
Check out Rory Freedman’s site and join her 31-day Challenge, Beg for Change