Cover image for Dominion : the power of man, the suffering of animals, and the call to mercy
Dominion : the power of man, the suffering of animals, and the call to mercy
Scully, Matthew.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : St. Martin's Press, 2002.
Physical Description:
xiii, 434 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


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Material Type
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HV4708 .S38 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
HV4708 .S38 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." - Genesis 1:24-26In this crucial passage from the Old Testament, God grants mankind power over animals. But with this privilege comes the grave responsibility to respect life, to treat animals with simple dignity and compassion.Somewhere along the way, something has gone wrong.In Dominion , we witness the annual convention of Safari Club International, an organization whose wealthier members will pay up to $20,000 to hunt an elephant, a lion or another animal, either abroad or in American "safari ranches," where the animals are fenced in pens. We attend the annual International Whaling Commission conference, where the skewed politics of the whaling industry come to light, and the focus is on developing more lethal, but not more merciful, methods of harvesting "living marine resources." And we visit a gargantuan American "factory farm," where animals are treated as mere product and raised in conditions of mass confinement, bred for passivity and bulk, inseminated and fed with machines, kept in tightly confined stalls for the entirety of their lives, and slaughtered in a way that maximizes profits and minimizes decency.Throughout Dominion , Scully counters the hypocritical arguments that attempt to excuse animal abuse: from those who argue that the Bible's message permits mankind to use animals as it pleases, to the hunter's argument that through hunting animal populations are controlled, to the popular and "scientifically proven" notions that animals cannot feel pain, experience no emotions, and are not conscious of their own lives.The result is eye opening, painful and infuriating, insightful and rewarding. Dominion is a plea for human benevolence and mercy, a scathing attack on those who would dismiss animal activists as mere sentimentalists, and a demand for reform from the government down to the individual. Matthew Scully has created a groundbreaking work, a book of lasting power and importance for all of us.

Author Notes

Matthew Scully served from January 2001 until June 2002 as special assistant and senior speechwriter to President George W. Bush. He worked in the president's 2000 campaign and has also written for vice presidents Dan Quayle and Dick Cheney and for the late Pennsylvania governor Robert P. Casey. A former literary editor for the National Review, he has been published in various periodicals, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. He lives with his wife, Emmanuelle, in northern Virginia.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Increasing media coverage of troubling trends in animal mistreatment, from genetic cloning and experimentation to factory farming, has heightened the moral imperative to examine how humans use and treat animals, according to Scully. He quotes a wide variety of sources--including the Bible, other famous literature, debates in British parliament, and conversations at a hunter's convention--to provide a wide spectrum of views on the uses of animals and whether they possess consciousness and the ability to feel pain. Scully takes note of our arbitrary, often contradictory approach to the treatment of animals, from objections to experimentation on animals and bans on wearing furs to the blithe consumption of burgers and steaks. He traces the history of the animal rights movement and its philosophical underpinnings and argues for a balance between the cruel and cavalier treatment of animals and the more radical notions of the animal rights movement. Scully is sensitive and insightful without being sentimental. --Vanessa Bush

Library Journal Review

This is one of the best books ever written on the subject of animal welfare. Scully, a journalist and former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, chooses to fight on his own ground, and he rightly argues that the important thing is not insisting upon equal "rights" for animals but in treating them with a modicum of respect and dignity. His book is as close as a philosophy can come to representing "animal rights" goals while not proclaiming animals to be equal in status to humans, as do classic works like Peter Singer's Animal Liberation. As a journalist, Scully personally investigated several major animal industries, including those of hunting, whaling, and factory farming. He asks penetrating questions and shows the logical and political inconsistencies used to defend cruel industries. Although some may balk at the author's sarcasm, it adds an emotional element to his unequaled depth of insight. Scully has a remarkable grasp of the issues and a unique perspective on our societal treatment of animals. Every library should purchase this book. Highly recommended.-John Kistler, Utah State Univ. Lib., Logan (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. ix
1 The Things That Arep. 1
Mere Painp. 2
Into Your Handsp. 11
Practical Ethicsp. 20
Reckless Divine Crueltyp. 24
This Lovely Worldp. 28
Tasty Nibblesp. 36
2 The Shooting Fieldp. 47
Skins and Bonesp. 49
Take Chargep. 52
Fair Chasep. 56
The Deer Factoryp. 62
Men of Influencep. 67
A Spot of Plains Gamep. 72
The Curatorsp. 77
Nimrod.comp. 81
3 Matters of Consequencep. 88
Go Forthp. 90
The Lord of Mercyp. 95
Laissez-Fairep. 100
Imperative Cookingp. 108
Deeper Than Choicep. 112
The Prosperity Biblep. 120
Back at the Ranchp. 126
Think a Second Timep. 130
Mild Qualmsp. 135
4 Riches of the Seap. 141
Save the Whales for Dinnerp. 142
Collective Guiltp. 146
Time to Deathp. 150
Wise Usep. 155
Scientific Researchp. 161
Cultural Imperialismp. 169
Brave Fishp. 177
Sanctuaryp. 186
5 The Lawsp. 191
Unknowable Territoryp. 194
The Masqueradep. 200
Want Nutp. 209
Thinking About Thoughtsp. 217
Profound Respectp. 229
The Stress Genep. 235
Knowledge Without Lovep. 241
6 Deliver Me from My Necessitiesp. 247
Managerial Intensityp. 249
The New Agriculturep. 253
State of the Artp. 259
Lean Generationp. 263
For Their Own Goodp. 269
Piece by Piecep. 277
7 Nature and Nature's Godp. 287
Necessary Evilsp. 288
Thou Shalt Notp. 294
Self-Evident Truthsp. 299
The Mirror Testp. 305
A Crime Against Naturep. 312
A Fresh Startp. 325
An Obligation of Justicep. 337
8 Justice and Mercyp. 350
Game Butcheryp. 353
An Abominationp. 360
Noah's Choicep. 368
Sinning Bravelyp. 375
They Know Painp. 389
The Good Shepherdsp. 393
Notesp. 399
Acknowledgmentsp. 423
Indexp. 427