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 his trainer into the pool and holds her underwater until she drowns. What’s going on here? Are these mere accidents? Simply cases of animals acting on instinct? That’s what the zoos and animal theme parks would have you believe. But historian Jason Hribal tells a different story. In the most provocative book on animal rights since Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation, Hribal argues persuasively that these escapes and attacks are deliberate, that the animals are acting with intent, that they are asserting their own desires for freedom. Fear of the Animal Planet is a harrowing, and curiously uplifting, chronicle of resistance against the captivity and torture of animals.
“Vengeance is mine,” sayeth the captive beast. Prepare to have your illusions of security shattered as Jason Hribal shows us that a revolution is brewing among those frustrated leaping orcas, elephants in headdresses, and tigers kept behind bars. Animal spectacles, shows, and exhibits, it turns out, pose a deep, dark threat not only to nature herself but also to those who impose their will on wild spirits and those who pop in for a few hours to watch. A riveting, eye-opening book.”–Ingrid Newkirk, president and co-founder of PETA
Jason Hribal is an historian and educator. He is the contemporary editor of John Oswald’s 1791 classic, The Cry of Nature.
Jeffrey St. Clair is co-editor of CounterPunch and author of Born Under a Bad Sky.