About the Book

Empty Cages: Facing the Challenge of Animal Rights is a non-threatening, courteous but uncompromising book that explains animal rights to ordinary Americans and invites them to join in the struggle for animal liberation.

Tom Regan’s journey from butcher to animal rights advocate is a common thread used throughout the larger narrative. For example, it helps explain who animal rights activists (ARAs) are (we’re not a motley crew of misanthropic social misfits hell bent on terrorizing the local furrier), how different people become ARAs (there’s no one-size-fits-all answer), what we believe, why we believe it, and how (when given the opportunity) we can defend our convictions against the most challenging objections.

The role the media plays in misinforming the public about ARAs is explained as is the power exercised by the major animal user industries. Roughly speaking, the public has a negative image of ARAs because this is the picture presented by the media, and the media presents this picture because this is the one that serves the interests of the major animal user industries — who just happen to pay a lot of advertising dollars, for example.

Empty Cages unmasks the rhetoric of these industries and shows why what their spokespersons say about their treatment of animals (these industries treat animals “humanely”) is not sometimes false. It is always false. The book helps readers understand why these spokespersons should never be trusted.

Empty Cages takes the reader inside fur mills, the leather industry, factory farms, and the slaughterhouse, among other places. What we find is not pretty. What we find is truth. And the truth is anything but “humane.” The public will never demand change in how animals are treated if they do not know how animals are treated. Empty Cages provides readers with the necessary knowledge, far surpassing any other book on the market in the depth and breadth of its coverage.

The animal rights movement is not going anywhere (except backwards) if too few people want to make its goals a reality. Among the major impediments to real progress is the behavior of ARAs. Paradoxically, we can be the animals’ worst enemy. Sometimes we are self-righteous. At other times we get so caught-up in staging outrageous or tasteless media opportunities that we give animal rights a bad name. These and other “turn-offs” (including vandalism and other forms of violence) are explored. Readers are encouraged not to generalize on the basis of the behavior of a few. Not all ARAs engage in violence, for example, just because a small handful do.

Empty Cages is written in a relaxed, conversational style. Although the topic is serious, humor finds a place. Above all, it tells a story filled with faith and hope: faith in the goodness of humanity, hope for a better future for the animals.