BOOKS: So, You Love Animals: An Action-Packed, Fun-Filled Book To Help Kids Help Animals

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, Jan/Feb 1995:

So, You Love Animals: An Action-Packed,
Fun-Filled Book To Help Kids Help
A n i m a l s, by Zoe We i l. Animalearn (c/o The
American Anti-Vivisection Society, 801 Old York
Road, #204, Jenkintown, PA 19046-1685), 1994.
190 pages, paperback, $14.95.
It is generally agreed that reaching young people
with a humane message is among the most important goals
of the animal protection community. Unfortunately and
inexplicably, proportionate resources are not directed into
humane education by either national or local humane organ-
izations. Because of this, materials intended for general
distribution to children and teenagers are of special utility.
So, You Love Animals is just such a tool. One
needn’t wait for a humane education program to materialize
in the local elementary school: you can simply donate a
copy of So, You Love Animals to the school library. Along
with Ingrid Newkirk’s Kids Can Save The Animals, it ought
to be in all libraries.

Like Newkirk’s book, Weil’s is full of information
and activity ideas. Both Newkirk and Weil try to present
unpleasant information with as much humor as possible to
soften the blows. Newkirk is snappy with rather witty
jokes; Weil’s humor is somewhat cute, on a younger level.
Newkirk writes like an activist; Weil writes like a mother
(which she is). Weil is gentle and comforting––totally
There are, perhaps, two flaws in Weil’s book.
The first, shared with most activist manuals including
Newkirk’s, is using statistics that quickly become outdated
(some already are), instead of relying on less fluid facts.
The other is the assumption that children who want to help
animals can draw upon wellsprings of support and assis-
tance. For example, children are repeatedly told to contact
“the cruelty investigator” if they see someone abusing an
animal, or suspect mistreatment. In fact, only children liv-
ing in metropolitan areas are likely to have such recourse.
In rural areas, where animal abuse is most prevalent, the
nearest humane society may be hours away. If the cruelty is
blatant enough, regular law enforcement officials might be
persuaded to intervene, but it would have to be pretty bad.
Likewise, there may be no animal shelter within driving
distance. Making it all worse, children in rural areas are
least likely to receive parental approval for acts of compas-
sion or conscience (especially if they upset neighbors). But,
even in extreme cases, the child will at least have a friend
in Zoe Weil. She even invites children to write her letters.
I would be surprised if she didn’t answer them all.
––Kim Bartlett
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