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Animal Studies Journal

Abstract

[Review] ‘Every Moving Thing Shall Be Meat for You.’ A review of David Brooks. Animal Dreams. Animal Publics series, Sydney University Press, 2021. 290 pp. Animal Dreams is David Brooks’s third book assailing the vast edifice of the human-animal’s obdurate refusal to rethink its relationship with other animals. It is an erudite and searching contribution to the field of animal studies, and a passionate, persuasive appeal to the mind, heart and senses to change the way of human being-in-the-world that is pushing so many species to extinction and exploiting and truncating the lives of individual animals. Brooks is ‘on the side of the animal’, but experience and insight into the workings of the human animal leads him to argue not just for and on behalf of nonhuman animals, but that human animals too will benefit from ceasing to abuse other animals. In this vein, Brooks argues that the human animal is wounded in a primal, yet repressed manner by its complicity and active role in causing the ‘tide of suffering’ of other animals. This is an idea explored in the opening essay ‘The Smoking Vegetarian’ and drilled to the quick in a later essay on Derrida, ‘The Wound’. Given the human propensity for self-centredness, this is a strategy in the defence of animals, rather than a display of empathy for the human animal. It is Brooks’s steady gaze into the heart of darkness, combined with the unflinching pen, that makes Animal Dreams so eloquent a critique of the human animal and so eloquent and urgent a defence of animals.

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