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Fear of the Animal Planet: The Hidden History of Animal Resistance
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Fear of the Animal Planet: The Hidden History of Animal Resistance

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  123 ratings  ·  31 reviews
A Siberian tiger at the San Francisco Zoo leaps a 12-foot high wall and mauls three visitors who had been tormenting her, killing one. A circus elephant tramples and gores a sadistic trainer, who had repeatedly fed her lit cigarettes. A pair of orangutans at the San Diego Zoo steal a crowbar and screwdriver and break-out of their enclosure. An orca at Sea World snatches hi ...more
Paperback, 280 pages
Published January 11th 2011 by AK Press (first published 2003)
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3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  123 ratings  ·  31 reviews

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Aug 01, 2011 rated it liked it
On the one hand I liked this book quite a bit.

On the other, I expected/had hoped for more from this after listening to a couple interviews with the author.

Hribal explores captive animals' resistance to their captors and tormentors. He documents how animals can, like people, differentiate between people and shows that wild animals who have had enough don't just kill randomly (even though they could easily do that) but target their prey. Even to someone actively trying to rid herself of speciesi
Feb 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: american
This is a book about animal resistance, it's about the fact that we aren't attributing human qualities to animals we are claiming only humans have brain processes shared by many animals, I mean it isn't like we are the only ones with frontal lobes.

Animals can learn, animals can manipulate, animals can hate.

this is a book about why we respect animals. Or why I respect animals. It's about how when I say freddie and I had a talk and we came to an agreement, or Freddie is annoyed with me, or Boris
Aug 12, 2017 rated it did not like it
First, who thinks it is in ANY WAY acceptable to write and publish an entire nonfiction book without a single citation? This book is filled with quotes and references, and not a single source is given. There are no notes or even a bibliography at the back. This is unprofessional, makes his arguments look even weaker, and is just plain sloppy. While I knew of most of the instances he mentions in the book, there were a few new ones, along with particular responses and analyses I had not previously ...more
Christopher Rex
Aug 06, 2011 rated it it was ok
As much as I like stories about elephants trampling sadistic trainers, monkeys and orangutans figuring out how to pick-locks and tigers escaping from zoo enclosures to maul teenagers who taunt them, this book really fails in proving its central thesis. The little stories therein are good, but the book reads more like a collection of newspaper articles about animal attacks and escapes rather than being centered around a well-researched thesis or idea. The author claims that attacks (and escapes) ...more
Jan 29, 2011 rated it it was ok
This is not so much a great book as a well-researched dossier of incidents of elephants, primates, whales, etc escaping from captivity in zoos and circuses and/or attacking their trainers and captors. Hribal's prose just doesn't do it for me, even if his thesis does. The author was a student of Peter Linebaugh, whose work is a big influence on mine currently - and I greatly appreciate the underlying themes, namely that we should see these attacks and escapes as calculated revolts against captivi ...more
Apr 08, 2011 rated it did not like it
This book deals with the rather thorny issue of animals escaping enclosures and attacking, primarily their captors. So it’s fair to say there was a little controversy surrounding the publication of this book. There are a string of articles about in Hribal’s name, which try to argue animals are part of the working class. This book is simply the logic of his intellectual trajectory.

I have read comments that have tried to argue this book presents a good case against the captivity of animals in zoo
Apr 13, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: animals, non-fiction
Although I and many others may not agree with the author's premise based upon the arguments of animal rights activists (ARAs) that animals do not belong in captivity, it is always helpful to read their arguments in order to understand them and be capable of preparing cogent arguments to rebut them. For these reasons I read this book, with which I continue to vehemently disagree after finishing it. I found that it is a one-note, tone deaf diatribe against holding animals in captivity which conten ...more
Jul 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book is an easy, riveting read, as well as the best case for ending animal captivity (particularly "wild" animals in circuses, zoos, and other forms of human entertainment) that I've ever seen. Its only flaw is that the introduction (by another writer), while certainly fascinating and educational on its own, seems very disjointed from the rest of the book, and even contradicts the text of the book at times. Bottom line is, READ THIS, especially if you've wondered why animals don't stand up ...more
Aug 05, 2011 rated it it was ok
“Animal Resistance”, at first glance, doesn’t seem to be such a loaded term, especially when talking about wild or feral animals. Anyone who’s been around wild animals knows that they resist capture and captivity. That seems pretty clear when one considers animals caught and used in horrific (or “inhumane”) ways, like bear bile farms, or when one considers how feral cats act when captured for TNR.

However, most of us humans don’t see resistance to captivity in animals in zoos, aquariums or circus
Nov 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
Although I found the individual stories interesting, the lack of citations in the book made me question whether what I was reading was factual or not. I also understand that while the author tries to use an overwhelming number of stories to support his thesis, it becomes redundant after a while. A short book such as this shouldn't feel tiresome to read, and after a while, this definitely did. I love animals, and think they are smart as well as emotionally cognizant enough to resist captivity, la ...more
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great book, I hope it helps more people see that animals do resist.
Excellent for what it is, but I'd hoped for more. Jeffrey St. Clair's thought-provoking and evocative introduction is worth the price of the book. Hribal's analysis of acts like escape or attacks as resistance is spot on, and he offers many, many case examples of escapes from , aquariums, zoos, labs, and circuses along with a few examples of attacks on handlers and other tormentors at those same sites.

What more did I wish for? Since the title references the animal "planet," I'd hoped for example
May 08, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: animals, history
I appreciate the author's expose of zoos, waterparks, laboratories, and circuses. I especially like the way he draws attention to the way they hide or try to explain away the surprisingly large numbers of animal escapes and acts of resistance. It is very disturbing to learn just how willfully these greedy institutions ignore the protests of suffering, intelligent species and continue to ruthlessly exploit them. I was also unaware of how drastically shortened are the lifespans of many captive spe ...more
Daniel Burton-Rose
Nov 07, 2011 rated it liked it
A notable effort to write a "from below" history of zoos and aquariums by a student of prominent radical social historian Peter Linebaugh. One disappointment is that despite Linebaugh's profound work on transcending racial divisions in trans-Atlantic resistance movements, this book suffers from the standard animal rights appropriation of the African-American liberation struggle, without supporting or engaging with that struggle in any substantive way. Counterpunch co-editor and the book's co-pub ...more
Jan 08, 2015 rated it liked it
I really wanted to love this book. A history of animals resisting their cages? Sign me up!

Unfortunately the writing seriously hinders the readability. The book's organization is all over the place; often you'll spend three paragraphs reading about the personal history of one animal, only to have three of its rebellious predecessors introduced and expanded upon. Four or five paragraphs later (and three subsequent animal histories) the original animal's tale will finally be reintroduced. It makes
Mar 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Ever wondered whether it's right to keep animals captive in zoos and circuses just for our entertainment and the profit of zoo and circus owners? This book, which should really be called "Revenge of the Animal Planet," answers that question with a resounding "No!" Examples of animal suffering and resultant resistance in many species are given, from tigers to elephants to apes and monkeys. Perhaps most striking are the "killer" whales (orcas) who've injured and drowned their trainers at places li ...more
I read the first edition of this many years ago but never pasted my review on here. I'm one of those people who has agreed with Hribal's opinions on animal revolt long before this book came out. So, perhaps I am a bit partial. But, this is the first work of nonfiction in a while that I have been excited to pick up. It's well written, flows really well, and the material inside it is fascinating. It's sure to excite and educate even the most well read on animal liberation issues and is sure to mak ...more
Apr 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Decent case against circuses, zoos, and water shows. Basically, it details over and over animals fighting back and attacking their tormenters. I have a soft spot for True Crime books, so this kind of filled that for me. Its pretty brutal, both what they do to the elephants, tigers, and dolphins and all, and when the animals decide to fight back. I knew that circuses and water shows were messed up, but I didn't know that zoos were as bad as presented in the treatment of animals. Makes sense thoug ...more
Mar 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Read for Vegan Book Club.
This book explains how zoos, circuses, carnivals, aquatic themed parks have problems with their animals who want to be free or are fighting back at their trainers and others.
Elephants, tigers, primates, and sea mammals really get angry and unruly as they age in captivity. Sometimes they are fighting back at people who have abused them or teased/taunted them. Don't these animals have rights of their own?
The beginning of the book reviews case histories where animals were p
Kathleen O'Neal
Jun 29, 2013 rated it liked it
I read this book about animal resistance to human oppression while I was staying at a friend's house waiting for a lease to start so I could move into a new apartment. The thesis of the book is quite radical - that animals in captivity often act out violently as a way to resist political oppression. While the book failed to wholly convince me of its radical claims (a high but not impossible bar to meet where I'm concerned - I have read books with extremely radical claims and come away more or le ...more
Oct 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Buddha co-starred with Clint Eastwood but when he decided his silly routines were a bore he was clubbed, & when he stole donuts, killed with an ax handle.
We deliberately abuse animals for the sake of entertainment & a few of them deliberately try to even the score.
This book exposes zoos & other exploiters, opening our eyes wider to the arrogance & discounting given toward intelligent, feeling beings.
While bloody & sad, there's history, stories & compassion poring out o
Feb 17, 2011 rated it liked it
Honestly, the prologue and the epilogue were the highlights. The stories within were crammed together and a bit repetitive. It is indeed interesting to learn about the plight of animals in captivity but I would've liked a bit more commentary, history. That said the fact that the stories of so many unique animals was told is important and to hear of all of these animals fighting back and/or escaping is uplifting (though most all of their stories end tragically). I would recommend it to animal act ...more
May 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Although I think this book is poorly written, poorly edited and poor in general analysis, I'm extremely grateful that it reminded me of some of my hatreds. I often cried, on my way to work, sitting on the bus, reading this book. But it also inspired joy to read of trainers and owners trampled to death at zoos and circuses, taunting teens attacked by monkeys and tigers, whales pinning their trainers to the bottom of their enclosures until they drowned, and their attempts to break apart and break ...more
Feb 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Hribal does something here that has not been done before. He argues that animals have agency and make history. This thesis is both provocative and original; and he does a remarkable job proving it. Fear of the Animal Planet is a book that will get better with age, as it will definitely take time for people to catch up to its ideas.
Aug 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: speciesism
What "Blackfish" was to Orcas, this book is for rest of animal kingdom in captivity.

You know the resisting animals will always meet a horrible death, but their resistance is still compelling and heroic. An eye opener!

(Editing could have been better, though)
Dec 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
The introduction by Jeffrey St. Clair is amazing, and pretty much hits all the keys points from the book itself. The rest of the book was a bit of a let-down. In any case, interesting ideas!
Jun 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
I'll give it 2 because the content is awesome, but this was a slog.
Apr 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Introduction alone makes this book worth reading. The rest was a good first start and I hope for more in future editions.
Jan 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of the more original thinkers that I have read in a long time. Wonderful storytelling. Sections of the book should definitely be used in high-school programs.
rated it it was ok
Jan 06, 2011
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