BOOKS: Vegan is love: Having a heart and taking action

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  March 2012:

Vegan is love:
Having a heart and taking action
Written & illustrated by Ruby Roth
North Atlantic Books (c/o Random House
(1745 Broadway,  New York,  NY 10019),  2011.
40 pages,  hardcover.  $16.95.

Vegan is Love delves into animal mistreatment at zoos, circuses,  marine parks and aquariums–all common destinations for schools and families.  “You do not have to be an expert to know that animals do not want to balance on balls or jump through hoops of fire,”  says  author Ruby Roth.  Roth explains that Orca whales live in the wild and asks how can we learn “from prisoners in a pool?”

Animals have entertained us for millennia with little consideration given to the comfort and safety of the non-human performers.  Activism on behalf of animals used for performance and exhibit closed the Tower of London menagerie in 1832,  and brought the passage of a British law against baiting tethered wildlife with dogs in 1835,  but only within the past few decades has nearly 200 years of campaigning brought to widespread public awareness the realization that wild animals may suffer in any captive situation, especially if made to perform.

Vegan is Love also teaches children about animal racing, hunting,  and rodeo.  Roth suggests that children be kind to animals by not wearing fur and by adopting a vegan diet.

Roth ends the book with sections on helping the environment and what children can do to make a difference. Colorful clever drawings work in tandem with an interesting story to hold  young readers’ interest.

Cautious parents might think Vegan is Love may be too intense for children,  but–as a humane educator for more than 20 years–I suggest adults should read the book before dismissing it.  Shielding children from the truth behind circuses or rodeos may be more harmful than reading a book like Vegan is Love.  Some young readers may disagree with the book’s message;  others will embrace it. –Debra J. White

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