"The PETA Practical Guide to Animal Rights: Simple Acts of Kindness to Help Animals in Trouble" 

Although not officially a companion book to Making Kind Choices: Everyday Ways to Enhance Your Life Through Earth- and Animal-Friendly Living, this Practical Guide certainly works hand-in-hand as a wonderful resource for beneficial options and munificent actions regarding animals.

In this encyclopedic compendium, author Ingrid Newkirk, co-founder and president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, names names -- of humane charities and businesses, of organizations promoting animal welfare and of educational books, videos and Web sites. Included are instructions for making homemade cruelty-free products, as well as government and media contact information.

But the book goes well beyond a sterile list of resources. Newkirk relates many uplifting and numerous heartbreaking stories gleaned from her own personal experiences and contacts with others as introductions to actions, resources and answers. Emphasizing positive choices, the book suggests non-violent ways that everyday people can help end animal cruelty. The first step in halting the inhumane treatment of our fellow creatures is to end species-based discrimination, and the first step toward that is altering our perspective by considering "who" animals are, not "what."

To illustrate the point, Newkirk opens with an endearing tale of an injured rhinoceros, raised in captivity and released in a Kenyan sanctuary. The rhino, Makara, painfully entangled in barbed wire, approached the sanctuary's founder Anna Merz for help. Bravely, he stood silently still while she cut and unwound the dangerous wire. Unusual encounters highlighting the connection between humans and animals are countered by gruesome images of brutal treatment in the name of needless medical testing, sport, fashion, entertainment and mere convenience.

Newkirk engages the reader through appeals to empathy for all living creatures. Speaking for animals who cannot speak, she provides hard facts, personal insight, inspiration and ideas, in addition to helpful resources. Best of all, she provides answers to those difficult questions most often posed to animal rights supporters. But one burning question remains: How can a supposedly superior form of life such as mankind claims to be knowingly permit the torture and murder of innocent lives without speaking out and working to end the horror and terror animals endure at the hands of humans?

Ingrid Newkirk will give a presentation at Big Hat Books in Broad Ripple (along the Monon Trail, next door to Broad Ripple Brew Pub) at 6 p.m., July 8 from 6-8 p.m.

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