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Why Are Most Animal Right Activists Women and Most Hunters Men?



Reviews the book, Brutal: Manhood and the exploitation of animals by Brian Luke (see record 2007-12860-000). Luke, a philosopher and animal activist, has produced a book that is part psychology, part philosophy, and part polemic. The book's central thesis is that humans have a natural sympathy for other species that is corrupted by a socially constructed concept of manhood and by exploitative social institutions such as recreational hunting, industrialized meat production, and animal research. The book is divided into three sections. In the first, Luke argues that humans are instinctive animal liberators. The second (and weakest) section focuses on (a) how men eroticize hunting and (b) the author's belief that there is a direct connection between ancient animal religious sacrifice and modern biomedical research. In the final section of the book, Luke points out that although the vast majority of rank-and-file animal activists are women, the contemporary animal rights movement has strong undercurrents of sexism in ethical philosophy and political strategies. In this review, the reviewer examines three themes in Brutal that are particularly relevant to psychologists: sex differences in the treatment of animals, the nature and nurture of compassion, and the relative importance of emotion and logic in our moral stance toward nonhuman species. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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