Making A Killing: The Political Economy of Animal Rights
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Making A Killing: The Political Economy of Animal Rights

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  262 ratings  ·  39 reviews
Suggest to the average leftist that animals should be part of broader liberation struggles and—once they stop laughing—you'll find yourself casually dismissed. With a focus on labor, property, and the life of commodities, Making a Killing contains key insights into the broad nature of domination, power, and hierarchy. It explores the intersections between human and animal...more
Paperback, 185 pages
Published November 1st 2007 by AK Press (first published January 1st 2007)
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Wendy Kobylarz-Chouvarda
This book links nonhuman oppression with human oppression; its audience is anarchists and other leftists, as well as activists who take a less-political stance.

We discussed this in book group last week and one of the comments against it is that it does not use feelings as a valid reason for stopping animal exploitation. I agree with this to an extent. There are far too many books promoting animal liberation that ignore the emotional aspect of nonhuman suffering. It would be ideal, I agree, if e...more
Making a Killing is a great primer on animal rights activism and anarchism. Torres's thesis is that anti-speciesism is consistent with a non-hierarchical, anarchist society. He really blasts mainstream animal rights organizations (and rightly so) for ignoring real animal liberation while giving awards to slaughterhouse designers and raising money for their corporate boards. He also criticizes left movements for ignoring animal rights movements as being less important than other human rights stru...more
Does animal rights have a place within anarchism or indeed within the liberation of the working class? Bob Torres’ Making a Killing... is not the first to take up the tenuous issue of animal rights philosophy and anarchism but he certainly tries to cover a lot of ground. By primarily drawing upon a critique model of capitalist economy through Marx and drawing upon issues of social ecology via Bookchin he weaves together a sound argument that is an impassioned plea for the left and libertarians t...more
Aug 08, 2008 Claire rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: vegans; social anarchists; critical thinkers
Of the three books I have (so far!) read about animal rights and veganism (the others being Animal Liberation and The World Peace Diet), this one resonated with me the most deeply. Perhaps I'm just reading it at a particularly ripe time. Torres lays down logical and convincing arguments, drawing on Francione, Bookchin and other theorists, about the connection between animal exploitation and all the various forms of more widely recognized discrimination. The commodification and exploitation of an...more
Sarah Clement
One of the best animal philosophy books to come out in a while, this was one of the first books I read to really introduce me to the basics behind abolitionism. Although both Torres and Francione (another well-known abolitionist author) can rub people the wrong way, I particularly like the way Torres looks at the issues. He can be very cold and logical (in a good way), and though not completely sans emotion, he approaches the issues in a very calculated way that made the book fascinating and tho...more
Apr 01, 2008 Cathy marked it as to-read
Left Turn also reviewed this. I've generally been dismissive of animal rights folks, but some theology I've read lately has caused me to question my consistency in respect for life - I still don't fall in the "everyone should be vegan" camp, but I do think folks on the Left need to consider the limits of which lives we value and which hierarchies we fight against.
Minku Sharma
Mar 28, 2008 Minku Sharma rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: your brain, yo.
Recommended to Minku by: AK Press
This is the closest approximation of the book I would have written about the need for animal rights and anarchism to fall in love with each other and start making babies, if you know what I mean.

You should also check out Vegan Freak: Being Vegan In A Non-Vegan World, and you should listen to the Vegan Freak Radio podcast. It's all good.
Jinxi Caddel
Bob Torres is an amazing writer. He offers a compelling argument that there cannot be justice in our society until we stop ignoring the suffering of sentient animals and its relation to capitalism and oppression. I highly recommend this book. Fascinating and insightful.
Sean Gardner
One of my favourite animal rights books out there... Really interesting argument!
Alma Ramos
strong argument for vegan advocacy. a little preachy, but i think that's his style.
Feb 15, 2008 Kara rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kara by: Emily
Shelves: activism
I'm glad Bob wrote this book about two essential things: why anarchists must care about animals, and why the animal rights movement must be integrated with other justice movements.

I agree with Bob on many things, but, I can't say I enjoyed reading the book. It's that cold kind of logical/theoretical approach that I'm sure someone out there needs in order to understand these issues, but that leaves me, well, cold. He started to warm up with some discussion of how his students struggled with a coo...more
pinktheory  Ⓥ
Jan 08, 2008 pinktheory Ⓥ rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: animal rights advocates, human rights advocates, anarchists, humanists,vegans
Shelves: non-fiction, vegan
I already listen to Bob Torres on the Vegan Freak podcast, so I have heard many of the arguments that he raises in this book. But it was nice to read the book as it expands on his ideas in an organized fashion. In this book, Torres provides parallelisms between other forms of oppression in our society and animal exploitation. He explains in a logical manner how animal exploitation is perpetuated in our society because of decades and decades of socialization in a hierarchal capitalist world. Like...more
Radical, controversial and boundary pushing all summarize Torres' book about animal rights, veganism and the animal rights movement. I greatly appreciated how he brought capitalism and Marxist theory into the discussion and he slammed home points about the double standards that many organizations have when it comes to animal rights and double standards that we, human animals in this world, often carry with us. For example, PETA's fight for animal rights, while also giving awards to slaughterhous...more
I’ve lately been listening to the small collection of archived Vegan Freak Radio podcasts hosted by Bob and Jenna Torres, so I figured I’d read their books.

Making a Killing is well-written, if dry, and the end result is spotty. Torres has a background dissimilar to that of most animal advocates: He majored in agricultural science and it was through the cold and mechanical view taught by his “animal science” classes that he began exploring a meat-free lifestyle. His familiarity with the world of...more
May 11, 2008 Josh rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Vegans and non-vegan "radicals"
Recommended to Josh by: Theresa
Shelves: food-industry
Bob Torres is a sociologist, so this book definitely comes from an academic place, but he is also a vegan and a social anarchist, so it is bound with passionate opposition to unjust authority and the widespread slaughter of animals for food and convenience. Obviously, as some sort of anarchist and vegan, I came with a sympathetic approach to this book, but I think his thesis that leftists/marxists/anarchists/feminists cannot truly embrace a radically progressive agenda without embracing veganism...more
I wish I could give this book more stars. I totally agree with 99% of its contents (not sure about the ALF critique), but unfortunately Bob Torres is not the best writer. It is repetitive, often boring, and not free from mistakes (both linguistic and typographical, which are the editor's fault, but still...). It lacks the "OMG I couldn't put it better" factor ;) It's short, but could have been shorter (pointless repetitions) and at the same time I feel it should be longer and more thorough. I'm...more
It's my sincere hope that Bob Torres' Making a Killing will one day be considered a game-changing piece of analysis. To point out, as Torres does, how little credence is given animal rights by people involved in wider struggles for justice and equality is important; to also point out, as Torres does, how little thought is given to those wider struggles for justice and equality by those concerned with animal rights is crucial.

His emphasis on placing the struggle for animal rights in a wider cont...more
This is a pretty solid discussion of the economic basis of why western culture treats animals the way that they do. I'm not always a huge fan of Torres' writing, but when he is doing more academic styled work he is at his best. Interesting stuff here! Definitly good for folks who have been veg or vegan for a while, OR for folks thinking about it.

Torres leans pretty heavily on what might be dubbed an anarcho-marxian analysis of macro economies to underpin his discussion. That's no problem for me...more
Bob Torres employs Marx and Bookchin to form a critique on domination of non-human animals. Torres moves beyond typical non-human animal activist writing, examining activist tactics, which are frequently macho, sexist, and misanthropic. I found most of the theoretical analysis boring, but I do agree with Torres in that having theoretical backing is important. Torres quotes some feminists - Adams, Feinberg, LeGuin - for which Torres deserves some props.
Like most anti-speciest lit, Making a Killin...more
J. Mark F.
Other than acting as a simplified primer on Marxist modes of production, this book is rife with problematic material. Example: "We abolished human slavery because we recognized long ago that all humans have intrinsic and inherent value beyond their ability to serve as a resource to others." (p.24) Sorry, no.

I guess people who want a book on the purely ethico-political aspects of speciesism, rooted solely in identity-politic-essentialisms, should pick this up, though I don't foresee ever recomme...more
Margot Friedman
Sep 05, 2008 Margot Friedman rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Margot by: searched for vegan info
This book changed how I see the animal-human relationship. It is turgid and hard to read in spots because it is written by a professor with a philosophical Marxist bent. But it is a great introduction to the concept of "speciesism" -- the idea that we put ourselves above animals, without any justification. I predict that in 200 years, we will be very embarrassed that we ever thought we could "own" animals. Just like today we are embarrassed that we ever thought it was okay to "own" another perso...more
Luc Brien
This is definitely not my usual reading material, and I found it a bit of a slog. I'm not all that familiar with anarchistic principles, and this book, to me, kind of assumes a certain level of knowledge. That's fine, I picked it up as I went along. I did really enjoy the meshing of anarchism,animal rights, and other social justice issues, and 'Making a Killing' has left me wanting to know more about anarchism, and how it ties in to other things I care about.
An articulate, theory-lite argument for including the interests of non-human animals in a broader leftist (and specifically anarchist) movement. It also helpfully provides a brief crash-course in various forms of anarchism, ecology and animal rights.

As a card-carrying member of the 'converted', I broadly agreed with many points. Still, it was nice to see them articulated and backed up. It would be interesting to discuss it with a non-vegan lefty.
This was really pretty great. A must for anyone who considers herself a progressive/liberal/lefty of some sort. Quasi-academic in spots but not painfully so. I recommend that the final chapter, 'You Cannot Buy the Revolution', be read first, imho it does a better job of outlining and giving context to the rest of the book than the first chapter does. It's also there that Torres's own ideas really come to the fore. This one's a keeper.
justin stepney
Nov 21, 2008 justin stepney rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: everyone, especially vegans
Recommended to justin by: ak press
LOVED this book. made me think very much upon myself and my own vegan thoughts and the world's, etc. everyone should read. i really admire the approach towards such thoughts in a different context than usual, meaning against the capitalist mindset in general, as a major reason against the animal industry. not long at all and u wanna keep readin, go get it.
A favourite, although I have a few quibbles. A slight excess of legalese seeps into ethical tomes from the United States, but otherwise this is an enjoyable romp through Marxism, anarchy, and a generally unforgiving carnist landscape... Will Bob make it out in the end and reunite with his lady love, or will the undead eat his brains? Read it to find out!
Feb 04, 2008 Stephanie rated it 2 of 5 stars Recommends it for: new vegans and critical consumers
Shelves: vegan
I was really dissappointed by this book, though I had been waiting for it for years. Don't get me wrong- I love Veganfreak Radio, the forums and think Bob is a great guy. The book is well researched and I agree too 99% of the contents. Unfortunately, there wasn't anything new to it and I found it a drag to read.
This is an excellent introduction into the anarchist vegan life, and the good reasons for living on the edge of both movements. We are not are free as we'd like to think. Books like this remind me of what we can become.
Jan 03, 2008 Linus rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Linus by: Kristen
Good enough for me to want to write a blog entry on. This definitely changed my view on anarchy and has made me want to explore more into what social anarchy is. My understanding is way flawed on it.
This was a really good book if you're looking for a critical analysis of animal exploitation as a product of capitalism and how this exploitation mirrors other forms of oppression.
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“Our economic order is tightly woven around the exploitation of animals, and while it may seem easy to dismiss concern about animals as the soft-headed mental masturbation of people who really don't understand oppression and the depths of actual human misery, I hope to get you to think differently about suffering and pain, to convince you that animals matter, and to argue that anyone serious about ending domination and hierarchy needs to think critically about bringing animals into consideration.” 15 likes
“If we're all led to believe that poverty is just a matter of laziness or stupidity or whatever other justifications we can come up with, then we're not likely to be in a real position to do much about it when it comes to attacking the root cause of the problem. Instead of demanding a more equitable system for the distribution of social and economic goods, we blame the victim. This is insidious, because ideology is something we carry around with us in our heads; it forms the basis of our day-to-day understanding of the world.” 7 likes
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