Cover image for Animal equality : language and liberation
Animal equality : language and liberation
Dunayer, Joan.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Derwood, Md. : Ryce Pub., [2001]

Physical Description:
xviii, 265 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV4708 .D86 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



The first book on language and nonhuman oppression--and the most progressive animal-rights book to date-- Animal Equality shows that deceptive, biased words sustain injustice toward nonhuman animals. Speciesism (prejudice against nonhuman animals) survives through lies. The book's compelling evidence of nonhuman thought and emotion debunks language that characterizes other animals as unreasoning or insensitive. Vivid descriptions of hunting, sport fishing, zoos, aqua-prisons, vivisection, and food-industry captivity and slaughter reveal the cruelty that misleading words legitimize and conceal.

Animal Equality also uncovers the speciesist attitudes and practices underlying much sexist and racist language. Every animal--nonhuman or human--deserves equal consideration and protection, Joan Dunayer argues. Offering pronoun, vocabulary, and style guidelines, she proposes new language that will bring us closer to nonhuman liberation.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

In her foreword, Carol Adams calls this book "the benchmark" for the study of animals and language. Dunayer's contention is that human language choices contribute to the victimization of nonhuman animals. Relying on the traditional animal rights argument that sentience earns animals our moral consideration, Dunayer focuses on how pronoun use, metaphors, syntax, euphemisms, and lies discount nonhuman animals' experiences. She points to examples like our (false) dichotomy between humans and animals--as though humans were not animals--and syntax that fails to make the animal the subject of a sentence. Examining the practices of hunting, zoos, vivisection, and animal agriculture, Dunayer systematically reveals how each discourse deceives and euphemizes nonhuman animals' experiences and pain. Although Dunayer addresses the necessity of rights for nonhuman animals, she states, "Honest words will grant them the freedom and respect that are rightfully theirs." Yet feminists have shown that the eradication of oppression involves more than a change in language. Dunayer ends with pioneering "style guidelines" that "counter speciesism" and a thesaurus with "alternatives to speciesist terms." Not without its problems, this book is recommended for general and academic readers as groundbreaking in the animal rights literature. M. Betz Hull Independent scholar