BOOKS: Speaking up for Animals—An anthology of women’s voices

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  September 2011:

Speaking up for Animals:
An anthology of women’s voices
Edited by Lisa Kemmerer
Paradigm Publishers (P.O. Box 605, Herndon, VA 20172-0605),  2011.
224 pages,  paperback.  $24.95.

Speaking up for Animals:  An anthology of women’s voices is a dandy collection of stories by women who have been touched in unique ways by animals.  The contributors may never meet one another but animals across the globe benefit from their dedication and commitment.

Killer tornadoes battered the Ohio Valley in 2001, demolishing twelve warehouses owned by the Buckeye Egg Corporation. Kymberlie Matthews flew in to help.  Like most factory farms, Buckeye crammed in as many chickens as possible to maximize profits. Amid widespread destruction,  Buckeye made no effort to save the birds who survived the collapse of their housing.  Matthews and crew rescued only a handful of birds before Buckeye sent bulldozers to bury thousands more survivors alive.  Matthews drove the rescued birds to safety,  but could not forget those left behind.

Lori Houston,  who later founded Animal Acres in California, cofounded Farm Sanctuary in 1986.  While investigating alleged mistreatment of animals at the Lancaster Stockyard in Lancaster, Pennsylvania,  Houston passed a pile of dead and decaying animals and nearly fell over when a sheep moved.  Dumping downed farm animals was at the time legal in Pennsylvania.  Houston tracked down the trucker who left the live sheep animal to perish,  but no charges were ever filed.  Hilda,  as the sheep became known, enjoyed twelve years at Farm Sanctuary.

Joelle El-Massih founded Beirut for the Ethical Treatment of Animals,  and is now the only full-time BETA employee among a large corps of dedicated volunteers.  El-Massih says that after nearly 35 years of war,  there isn’t much respect for people in Lebanon. Animals get even less consideration.  El-Massih is persistent, however,  and believes that changing one person will bring hope to change others.  BETA works in schools to educate children about animals.

BETA also presses for legislation to benefit wildlife and prevent cruelty.  But BETA is best known for evacuating about 350 animals from the path of fighting between Israeli troops and the Hezbollah militia during the summer of 2006.  The Best Friends Animal Society eventually flew many of the animals to the U.S. for adoption.

Speaking up for Animals: An anthology of women’s voices is an exciting journey through women’s lives as they rescue animals.  I’d love to attend a book signing attended by all the contributors. –Debra J. White

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