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The Dreaded Comparison: Human And Animal Slavery

4.01  ·  Rating Details  ·  173 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
Published October 1st 1989 by Mirror Books/I D E a (first published 1988)
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James Thorneycroft
A provocative book that looks at power relationships, comparing human oppression of other humans to the human oppression of non humans, including misinterpretations of Darwin, namely social Darwinism. Spiegal concludes that these two forms of oppression are one in the same, that human rights and animal rights are inseparable and that neither can be accomplished alone. She writes:

"To deny our similarities to animals is to deny and undermine our own power. It is to continue actively struggling to
Feb 07, 2011 Peacegal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
The Dreaded Comparison is invited to provoke thought where most comfortable omnivores fear to tread: What is the societal mindset that drives massive-scale animal slaughter and exploitation, and could it simply be an extension of the values that enabled our forebears to do hideous things to other human beings?

The author’s motive is not to equate animals and people, rather, her argument is that it is the same doministic values that encourage us to kill and exploit any life deemed weaker than us.
Jan 07, 2015 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It makes people uncomfortable to think that we treat animals as slaves, but that's just because they want to continue doing it. But here it is. The comparison is clear. Everything from the tools used to oppress people and animals to the language around their oppression have clear connection.

I'll leave you with this meme:
Jan 16, 2008 Dani rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Gut-wrenching comparison of violence and oppression. Chilling read - This book strongly influenced the way I think.
Comparing human and animal slavery as Spiegel does in The Dreaded Comparison is an extremely controversial position to take. I don't know whether my uncomfort with the topic is due to societal expectations of what's "politically correct" or the fact that I necessarily disagree with Speigel's argument. Either way, this book is remarkably thought-provoking, and I would encourage others to read it. How humans treat non-human animals is abhorrent.
Jun 11, 2008 Veronika rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with a conscious
why are we all so blind to the repercussions (did I spell that correctly?) of taking advantage of and believing we have rights over other beings? why is this not required reading in our schools? so far brilliant and horrifying arguments . . .
Nov 07, 2012 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would recommend that any and all people read this book.
I think looking at how speciesism and racism (and sexism) are connected is important but ... are dogs really 'slaves' though. For me, the issue is less whether there are similarities between various forms of oppression (there invariably are) but whether we should be employing this language. Is it productive? Does it devalue historic and ongoing human suffering? Does it gloss over key differences? The idea that it's only offensive if you think being compared to an animal is an insult is a gross o ...more
Aarøn VE
Jul 29, 2015 Aarøn VE rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A powerful and easy read, the book was eye opening even for someone who is already vegan for social issues. the juxtaposition of images of caged animals with quotes on slavery make the point hit home like no other. The images, too, carry the words into the realm of heartbreaking. It's one thing to read about it, it's another to see the slave bound by hands and feet placed next to a monkey being vivisected bound by their hands and feet.

In this point in time, with #BlackLivesMatter being a huge t
Feb 11, 2016 Bukk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book. I've often thought that when it comes to the topic of animal ethics, the 'dreaded comparison' is the most astute and important comparison that can be made. Even if one isn't ready to agree with the line of thinking, the book makes a convincing argument for it. I loved it and learned from it.

The title is apt, as the comparison is difficult for some to accept, but factually substantial, and Marjorie's thesis and comparisons are solid, unflawed, and sharp. The parallels between hum
Mar 30, 2015 Ed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vegetarian
It makes a chilling argument, and is concise and to the point, without wasting words on anything obvious.

For instance, a tool used to force-feed slaves who are trying to starve themselves is pictured next to a foie gras force feeding tool. There's not much more to say than that, so the book just pictures them and moves on.

This book helped me understand how little I know about the mechanics of slavery -- how it operated in society, how much people knew outside of plantations, and how the "land of
Claire Melanie
Jul 30, 2014 Claire Melanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thought provoking and convincing look at similarities in discourses around race and species that justify and perpetuate exploitation and oppression. Compelling reading.
Christy Fearn
Dec 31, 2013 Christy Fearn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book that really influenced me and made the connection between the abuse of animals by breeding, killing and eating them and human slavery. It is logical that historically, figures who have deplored slavery have also eschewed eating animals, fish and birds. An important book that deserves to be read by everyone.
Mar 07, 2016 Corvus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: animals
This book is excellent. What I really enjoyed about it was how the entire thing is set up from the beginning to avoid the kind of tokenism often seen amongst single issue vegans to use a human rights issue to further veganism (and then ignoring that issue at all other times or pretending it has been solved). It takes both oppressions into account to show how they further one another. The forward by Alice Walker is also very good.
Nov 28, 2012 Ulrich rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While it is a comment worth making this book felt very bloated to me, the idea could fit in a pithy quote and be stuck on a photo to circulate facebook. Basically "If treating people like animals is so horrible and we know that animals suffer then isn't it actually wrong to treat animals that way also?"

There. That's all the book had to say. Worth saying, not worth an entire book.
Liam Arne
Mar 11, 2014 Liam Arne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Most certainly thought-provoking. I would not readily say that I concur with all of the assertions made by the author, but she clearly had researched significantly and wrote persuasively. Some of the comparisons were spot-on and chilling.
Spicy T AKA Mr. Tea
An engaging exploration into the connections and similarities between the oppression and violence used by humans over other humans and our culture's treatment of non-human animals. A very well written and accessible text.
Nothing especially new or compelling here, but maybe I've just reached a point of saturation; these ideas just aren't new to me or presented in a way that provokes much introspection.
Charlie Wagner
Read this book after chatting with the author (while eating a hotdog) at the Hegins Pidgeon Shoot. Interesting little book.
Sep 02, 2010 Lauren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very quick read. Interesting even though the author clearly has a strong agenda of her own.
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“It seems that the desire to oppress others is so ingrained in many humans that they readily distort even a liberating theory or concept into its inverse, creating another wall of defense against positive change. Ultimately, an unbiased observer of human behavior must conclude that most action is not shaped by theory, but rather theories are shaped to conform to actions we have no intention of changing.” 4 likes
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