Read Fear of the Animal Planet: The Hidden History of Animal Resistance by Jason Hribal Jeffery St. Clair Online


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 hiA 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 PETAJason 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....

Title : Fear of the Animal Planet: The Hidden History of Animal Resistance
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ISBN : 9781849350266
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 280 Pages
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Fear of the Animal Planet: The Hidden History of Animal Resistance Reviews

  • Wendy
    2019-06-09 11:09

    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 speciesism, it's still amazing on one level to read how captive animals can, and will, do this. Hribal delves into the history of the animals, and shows that retaliation is not uncommon (though zoos and circuses would have us believe so).But after a while it becomes somewhat tedious. It's as if he wants to show all the times he could find that elephants (for example) have been abused and resisted, but unfortunately there is little difference in the way this is done. The stories are horrifying because they showcase how humans abuse and exploit animals as a constant, ongoing source of profit and view animals only as profit-making machines, with total disregard for any familial bonds or suffering these animals endure. And how the zoos, aquariums, etc whitewash everything for the public (which is only too willing to believe those lies). After reading of a number of incidents about elephant resistance, I wanted something new; one person called it a laundry list of events, and that's what it feels like. I'd hoped Hribal would document other kinds of animal resistance to captivity and torture - certainly there are plenty of examples of "farm" animals escaping, swimming rivers, jumping fences. From listening to an interview with Hribal, I had also hoped he would explore the way animals have been exploited to build our society - everything from plowing fields to pulling carriages and being caught for food and clothes - and that a case could have been made for this sort of long-term resistance to centuries of exploitation.While such a lack is disappointing, it might not have been quite so disappointing had the book been edited. Typos by the score were distracting, although the use of "solidarity confinement" for "solitary confinement" was amusing in its way (considering the anarchist publisher).This is a book that could have been great but only succeeds in being good - though to a lay audience, to people not into animal rights, the editing could suggest that we are not terribly competent. I'd cautiously recommend this to activists, but can't really recommend it for non-activists. And that's the rub, because even when animals don't consciously resist their tormentors activists already understand that they suffer and don't want this - and non-activists don't.

  • Jasmine
    2019-05-31 11:58

    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 is showing freddie turnabout is fair play. I'm not just joking around. I'm not attributing to my rats thoughts and feelings they don't have. I am actually saying that I believe they have thoughts they have feelings and they have meaning beyond simply the fact that they are "stupid animals" a friend asked me if my rats had "actual personalities" the other day. I said, "that's a stupid question." that is what this book is really about, the fact that humans want to believe that animals aren't the same as we are.

  • Laura
    2019-05-25 13:58

    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 heard; unfortunately I cannot readily follow up on any of it because there are no sources. This book fails even as a jump-off resource.On the issue of the author's actual message, Hribal appears to be completely out of touch with current zoology research, and fails to understand basic principles of biology. As just one example, he dismisses the existence of musth in elephants as a backward bowing to "biological determinism" that we should have long moved past. I suppose humans going through puberty as a result of hormonal changes is also something we should have moved beyond?Clearly Hribal is writing to an already supportive audience, because he makes no attempt whatsoever to actually present his arguments. He presents a series of events, makes a snarky remark about the blindness of zoo people to the "real" circumstances, and essentially says that the events speak for themselves in support of his message that animals are actively and consciously resisting their captive state. I wanted some kind of analysis, or synthesis, or any ACTUAL ORIGINAL THOUGHT that would give me pause and make me reassess. Instead, he simply ignores the last several decades of research on animal cognition, emotion, and reasoning and proceeds to assume that simply demonstrating that animals are not automata supports his agenda over that of animal keepers and managers. I am so utterly disappointed and disgusted with every aspect of this book.

  • Christopher Rex
    2019-06-16 12:57

    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) by animals are premeditated acts of resistance. I don't necessarily disagree w/ him that animals think, know, remember and then use that knowledge in violent and crafty ways, it's just that he does a really crappy job of proving that. The book would get one-star if it wasn't for the fact that I like stories of animal "resistance" and I f'n hate zoos, aqua-parks, circuses and any type of enclosing of animals. There is zero analysis of animal psychology or evidence that he researched in that field at all. This, in my opinion, would clearly be essential if one was trying to prove "premeditation" (rather than instinct) on the part of animals when they try to escape or maul trainers etc. Basically, the book seems thrown together on the cheap. The writing is riddled w/ spelling and grammatical errors (some of them really bad) which undermines the validity of the book. The author thanked some dude for "wading through" various drafts which struck me as bizarre b/c some of the spelling and grammatical errors were atrocious and evident to me on the first read ("solidarity confinement" anyone?). There is even a spelling error on the back-cover. Such blatantly bad editing undermines what the author is trying to prove. Throw in sporadic unnecessary "big words" and I started to get annoyed at times.Could've been much better.

  • Shaun
    2019-05-26 10:57

    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 captivity and enslavement rather than aberrations or trivial, curious mishaps.In the epilogue, Hribal encapsulates much of the book: (after a paragraph addressing why zoos never release recalcitrant animals and rarely fund sanctuaries for animals that don't handle zoo life in accordance with their captors' aims) The zoo industry is full of such contradictions. It helps people learn about the importance of animals, but not what is vitally important to the animals themselves. Sea animals, elephants, and primates (etc) are capable of such amazing feats, but they are incapable of demonstrating their intentions and making their own choices. The industry encourages you to think that these animals are intelligent, but not intelligent enough to have the ability to resist. The industry encourages you to care about them, so that you and your children will return for a visit. But it does not want you to care so much that you might develop empathy and begin to question whether these animals actually want to be there.The intro includes a kind of muddled attack on the term "anthropomorphism" that set me off a bit. The author's idea, as I understand it, is that anthropomorphism is a pejorative term used for those who would ascribe culture and determination to animals, and that the idea itself is old hat. I think the problem is that the term is unfortunate when used to mean that, in animal cultures, we see only reflections of our own human culture, rather than understanding that animals have their own culture which does not necessarily mirror our own or even fit definitions in which we could find ease of comparison to our own. I actually do think the term (and practice) is problematic, and I would have liked to read more exploration of this idea in this book, but there's just a rather flippant dismissal on the front end and not much else - the book delves into instances of attack/escape and doesn't spend as much time analyzing the paradigm shift that Hribal is certainly spending a lot of time thinking about and calling for (which is, I think, sound).Told through meandering anecdotes of animal escapes, the writing is unfortunately pretty lacking and the grammatical mistakes are rampant, too. As a Pittsburgh resident, I found it humorous that the city's name comes up often either with or without the "h", which is a common mistake - however the oversight and inconsistency with which this occurs, sometimes within the same page, is illustrative of a larger lack of cursory editing throughout.Despite it's faults, it's a quick read and a good reference, useful for pursuing further info on the incidents the author includes. Plenty of admirable digging for buried stories in here.

  • abclaret
    2019-05-22 11:13

    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 zoos, circuses and theme parks, but that’s simply not the premise of the book! Hribal centrally believes, animals “have a conception of freedom and a desire for it. They have agency.” (pg 26) He goes on further on the agency theme claiming, “not only did the animals have a history, they were making history. For their history led directly to historical change.” (pg 29-30)So let’s be frank, when an elephant escapes a performing circus, seeks out and tramples its sadistic trainer; when a monkey repeatedly escapes its zoo, leading to redesign after redesign of the enclosure; when a captive orca attacks her trainer mid-performance in SeaWorld and when a tiger escapes and mauls children tormenting her – this is a political struggle, as defined by Hribal. It’s simply difficult to know how to assess this. Animal captivity speaks to me about our alienation from ourselves and nature, and the ability of capital to commodify it back to us, and also about anthropocentrism. Leave it to no doubt, I think zoos et al are pretty repugnant, in the same manner I do opulent shopping centres and tedious call centres. I just don’t see the political links the author is trying to make. Either way, what I believe or what I don’t believe, the onus of Hribal proving his thesis simply falls flat. The book essentially is a compiled list of testimonies of various animals contesting their captivity, so he never really moves beyond empirical research. Most of the stories are just conveyed in his rather loaded narrative. So there is virtually no discussion about psychology, socio-biology, consciousness or philosophy nor does he develop on anything put out by animal rights gurus like Best and Singer. The book feels like its asking for a radical leap of faith based on a string of observations. What’s worse is there feels to be a rather odious whiff of misanthropy about the book. Even if you accept that animal handlers, trainers, and even vets are part of the apparatus, why are animals attacking random people? Were affectively told in one incident this is reasonable because “teasing is endemic…[and p]ellet guns seem to be a particular favourite weapon among visitors.” (pg 106-07) The book is poorly argued, one of the few books I recall where the prologue carries more weight than the rest of the book and is littered with spelling mistakes. I simply can’t fathom what made AK Press print this.

  • Evelyn
    2019-06-01 13:53

    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 contends that all captive animals are slaves who are resistant to the conditions in which they are held, and in some instances raise up against those conditions by escaping from their enclosures and/or causing injury or death to their caretakers, trainers or handlers who the author views as imprisoning and mistreating them. The author supports his arguments by drawing upon literature and news reports chronicling animal escapes from zoos and circuses, and keepers who were alcoholics and/or mistreated the animals in their care. He fails to present a full picture of the events he chronicles since he dismisses out-of-hand investigations by experts employed by AZA and by industry and academia (I suspect he would discard any findings by Temple Grandin among others based upon his writings). He also totally fails to discuss modern exhibitory and enrichment and other practices designed to improve the environment in which captive animals are housed or breeding and reintroduction of animals to the wild.The book is given one star rather than zero stars to acknowledge that it is written in proper English, which unfortunately many books are not.

  • Wendy
    2019-06-14 09:52

    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 for themselves.

  • Lorien
    2019-05-31 08:12

    “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 circuses. Maybe that’s because we don’t often look beyond the “humane” facade presented by these organizations, maybe it’s because we assume that since the animals are getting fed regularly and are safe from “cruel” nature (which isn’t so cruel, see Jonathan Balcombe _Pleasurable Kingdom_) they are “happy” (see Kathleen Stachowski article in _Animal Blawg_ on protesting a circus, quoting a woman who just came out of the show and said, to the protestors, that the animals “seemed truly happy”).But what about humans who work with wild animals, who see them trying to escape or becoming violent with trainers? They may assume a particular animal’s conduct is an “in the moment” reaction to unfamiliarity, trainers, smells, etc. They may attribute even long-term behavioral changes such as depression or the failure to reproduce to factors like wrong diet or lack of ability to engage in “instinctual” activity (which, contrary to popular belief, is not mutually exclusive with cognition. Humans have instincts, for example, see Balcombe, Second Nature). Thus, animal “resistance” to captivity is probably considered something reactive and instinctual.But Hribal’s thesis is that wild animals resist their captivity with calculation and planning. His book is an attempt to prove this thesis and to argue for a re-thinking of our relationship to the animals we capture and use for entertainment.First, I have to say that I, personally, am not sure that “thinking” resistance versus reactive resistance is an important distinction when considering human duties towards nonhuman animals. I would argue that even without the ability to calculate and plan resistance, wild animals should not be forced into captivity. For me it’s not a question of how much agency an animal needs before her need to be left alone is taken seriously, it’s a question of giving her the benefit of the doubt. If she’s sentient, chances are she wants to live her life without me forcing her to wear sequined costumes, jump through hoops, or live in a city and climate she is not built for, among creatures she fears. So for me, sentience is enough, she doesn’t have to exhibit a locksmith’s facility with locks or plan for weeks to murder her trainers.But I’m not the average reader. Hribal’s thesis is important for what it means about animal agency and what that in turn means about humans’ knee-jerk acceptance of using animals as entertainment. Hribal’s thesis is important just because it’s a shocking one for most people: “What? That elephant hates being in the circus? That dolphin isn’t smiling at his trainer?” Hribal’s thesis is even shocking for people who consider themselves humanely inclined, because he focuses on rogue animals, even murderous ones, not on the cute, helpless ones animal welfarist organizations love to describe and photograph. Unlike the stuff put out by these orgs in their appeals for money, Hribal does not present animals as victims, but as complicated beings acting to change their own horrible fates. This idea alone is worth the price of admission, so to speak. Animals are not “one-note” creatures, wow. In addition, Hribal focuses on individual animals, not species. He tells each story using the animal’s name, and personal history. So the way he writes is important for its inherent respect towards the beings he’s writing about.Because Hribal’s ideas and respect for his subjects are important, and because his thesis does fly in the face of conventional wisdom about captive wild animals, his book needs to be convincing. For me, it ultimately was. However, I’m an easy audience, so he was kind of preaching to the choir. Therefore, I think it’s necessary to point out that the book is flawed, and, in order to reach a wider audience, Hribal should do some tinkering and maybe reissue a second edition.First, a couple of notes about the content. The book is ordered into four chapters: two concerning elephants, one on primates, and one on sea mammals. Hribal does include some stories about tigers, but the scope of his book is, overall, confined to the three groups mentioned above. (That’s not a flaw, but does makes me think that Hribal was rushing to get the book out. The book does come at you in a sort of breathless rush.) In each chapter, Hribal tells the stories of animals who have resisted their captivity in various ways. There are stories of animals who’ve escaped captivity numerous times and foiled all attempts to build better enclosures for them, stories of those who’ve attacked trainers, (killing some), and stories of those who’ve both escaped and attacked specific spectators who harrassed them. While the particular animal’s resistance in those cases seems fairly obvious, Hribal also discusses cases in which the “resistance” is more veiled, such as certain animals’ failure to reproduce in captivity. In those cases, he ventures into more speculation about the animals’ motivations. I found this a little disconcerting, only because I’m used to reading biologists and cognitive ethologists, who take care to delineate their own speculation from what their research has revealed. Hribal could benefit from taking a slightly less passionate tone here, and at least appearing more clinical, especially with his more radical conclusions.That said, the book does not pretend to be a scientific work, nor should it be read as such. Most of the material in it is anecdotal, and Hribal does not attempt to back up the anecdotes with biological or ethological studies. Instead, Hribal, as his title makes clear, is writing a “history” of animal acts of resistance. Therefore, readers like me, who expect animal stories to be bolstered with some scientific research, will be disappointed. Unfortunately for Hribal, when it comes to cognition, the human default mindset seems to be to assume that animals are incapable of any, until proven able by huge batteries of human-devised tests. This attitude, screwed up as it is (and as I said, I’m even prone to it), works against Hribal. In any other context, a “history” consisting of news stories and anecdote would likely be given the benefit of the doubt, but not when it comes to stories of animal intelligence and complexity. Hribal could dip into the enormous amount of research into animal intelligence that’s out there, and the huge discoveries being made every day in order to bolster his stories (like Jonathan Balcombe does, for example). That would make his thesis go down easier in some quarters. But I’m not sure he should need to.Overall, the content of Hribal’s book is good: fascinating stories of what appear to be extraordinary acts of resistance by captive animals, told with respect for the individual animals. Hribal dips into news stores, interviews with trainers, zoo archives, and stories from spectators who witnessed the animals’ acts of resistance, and includes material spanning the 19th and 20th centuries and many countries, as well as recent US history.There are several flaws in Hribal’s execution of the book. First and foremost, there are typos and grammatical errors. These detract from the overall message, and are easy to find and fix. A good copy editor could work wonders here. It is really important for books that present a radical viewpoint to be as flawless as possible in terms of grammar and spelling. Hribal is just handing opponents free ammo to use against him by not taking more care here.Second, Hribal needs to include some endnotes. While he notes his sources in a general fashion in the prologue, it would be incredibly helpful to have specific sources cited in the book itself. This is a must in scholarly works, and it’s useful in non-scholarly ones, especially with subject matter that is at all controversial. Hribal needs to make it easy for people to take his subject seriously, so he needs to supply citations. Otherwise, his book looks too much like fiction. End notes have the added value of not interrupting the flow of the book. Citations would make it much harder to discount the stories Hribal is telling, and enable readers, like me, who are interested in the subject, to do our own research more easily.Third, the way Hribal organizes his book is strange, almost stream of consciousness. He’ll tell one particular story of resistance, and suddenly segue into another story before he’s finished the first story. He seems to organize stories around what particular form the resistance took, but this isn’t ever made clear, and the way he jumps between anecdotes gives the book a rough draft quality. Because it is a short book and the chapters are short, this isn’t a big problem in terms of ease of comprehension, but I wanted this book to have the kind of clarity and beauty that the subject deserves, and it did not. Organizing the material better would help with that. To be fair to Hribal, as I alluded to above, I think his passion for the subject comes through more than any attempt at elegance. That’s not a bad thing if you’re (again) preaching to the choir, but he needs to think about how to make it come through a lot better for tougher audiences. Although the stories are fascinating and important ones to tell, Hribal’s sort of rushed, lumped together style lessens their impact.In conclusion, although I personally enjoyed this book, I think Hribal could do better. If he chose to redo it, I’d suggest getting the grammar, spelling and syntax as clean and clear as possible first. Then work on the organization and backing the material up with citations. I’d love to see the stories in this book become as powerful as they should be.

  • Melanie
    2019-05-20 12:00

    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, labor, and abuse. That being said, I don't buy that all of the cases listed in this book are necessarily that. Lastly, I found the author's two different spellings of Pittsburgh really REALLY aggravating. It happened throughout the entire book, not just once or twice, so it was possible to ignore.

  • Alix
    2019-05-20 08:05

    Great book, I hope it helps more people see that animals do resist.

  • pattrice
    2019-06-06 12:59

    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 examples from around the world as well as examples of different kinds of resistance, such as elephants trampling test fields of GM crops, baboons using direct action against habitat-destroying development, and monkeys ransacking government offices. I'd been collecting, and sometimes writing about, such incidents for years before this book came out and so, when it came out, I thought "Great! An actual historian has been collecting these too. Can't wait to see more examples, along with an analysis."But that's just me and was maybe an exaggerated expectation. Again, in terms of demonstrating that particular acts of escape and attack here in the United States definitely have been purposeful and therefore can be rightly read as resistance, this book does what it set out to do.

  • Leanne
    2019-06-13 06:49

    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 species and of how little concern is given to their physical health. (I already knew that little to no attention is paid to their psychological well-being.) I'm glad Hribal discusses the unethical capture methods used by laboratories and animal entertainment industries. I'm also glad he debunks the idea that zoos breed captive animals out of concern for species preservation - rather, the captive breeding programs are a response to more stringent restrictions on wild capture.The biggest drawback to this little history book is its atrocious editing. Many pages are riddled with spelling and grammatical errors. How can anyone mistake "solidarity" for "solitary", for example?

  • Daniel Burton-Rose
    2019-05-29 12:56

    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-publisher Jeffrey St. Clair calls Tilikum, a Sea World orca who deliberately drown his trainer, "the Nat Turner of the captives of Sea World," (18) while Hribal characterizes a sea mammal escaping into the Great Lakes as a recapitulation of the underground railroad. This rhetoric comes off as trivializing of anti-slavery slavery rebels, and misses a chance to connect the colonialism that destroyed and enslaved indigenous peoples the world over with the same forces' deadening containment through cataloging of non-human species. Still, the assertion that violent animal resistance to their confinement has a measurable effect on their conditions of confinement is well-taken.

  • Shenanitims
    2019-06-19 12:16

    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 for quite an exhausting read trying to keep track of everyone.Which is a shame because Hribal's central thesis, that animals are intelligent creatures who can and do consciously decide to rebel is quite believable in light of all the evidence. Collecting said evidence and sequencing it to maximize its support of the thesis would make the most sense. Instead we have tales interrupted by stories taking place a hundred years in the past, which, when viewed as evidence, makes it seem as though Hribal was grasping at straws. "This is bad! Check it out, it happened once a 100 years ago!" versus outlining an ongoing rebellion tracing back 100 years.

  • Maggie
    2019-05-25 11:52

    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 like Sea World. Seized in horrendous attacks on their pods or born in captivity, they're paid in fish when they do well, never get to retire, and earn billions for the companies that own them. Hribal shows us that rather than reacting randomly, attacking animals plan their attacks, target only those who've abused them, and, having feelings and agency, just want to be free. He doesn't go into animal experimentation much, but this -- and perhaps even pet ownership -- are other areas of actual and potential animal abuse that need to be questioned.

  • Corvus
    2019-06-14 10:03

    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 make anyone (pro-animal lib or not) think very hard about their own perceptions of other animals. I definitely recommend that everyone read it and I think it can be interesting and exciting for people of all interests and backgrounds- not just animal liberationists or anti-authoritarians.My main criticism is that I wish it was longer. It's only about 160 short pages and it feels a little unfinished. I would have liked to hear about more species.

  • James
    2019-06-18 11:55

    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 though... since a confined space drives humans mad too.Fast read. I found the writing style somewhat annoying at points, in that the author kept switching off the main story to other similar incidents. Otherwise, a quick disturbing read. I'll never go to a zoo again, I think.

  • Penny
    2019-05-24 09:07

    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 put on trial to judge whether they should be punished and/or killed for hurting/killing humans. This was mostly during the Middle Ages. Sometimes the animals were acquitted.

  • Kathleen O'Neal
    2019-06-01 05:54

    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 less convinced before) I'm still glad I read this book. I have never looked at animals in captivity the same way again.

  • Donna
    2019-06-15 07:07

    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 of this little volume that make it stand up & be counted as important.

  • Nova
    2019-05-24 06:56

    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 activists as extra fuel on the fire.

  • tout
    2019-06-01 07:05

    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 free from their containment. The world of cages must be exterminated from this earth.

  • Rebby
    2019-05-23 05:46

    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.

  • Pradeep
    2019-06-10 06:03

    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)

  • Will
    2019-06-16 12:13

    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!

  • Erik
    2019-05-21 14:13

    I'll give it 2 because the content is awesome, but this was a slog.

  • COIL
    2019-06-19 10:59

    Introduction alone makes this book worth reading. The rest was a good first start and I hope for more in future editions.

  • Butterfly
    2019-05-22 10:03

    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.