15 Top Animal Rights Books to Read




Reading about the plight of animals and how to advocate for animal rights is, for many, an important aspect of the vegan lifestyle.

Knowing about the lives of those you would like to help to improve and the importance of doing so can start you off on the vegan path as well as reinforce your efforts along the way.

Whether to help you to begin a vegan lifestyle or to increase your knowledge and awareness of the realities of animal agriculture these books provide insight into the reasons for going vegan.

Many of these books also give practical suggestions for how to positively contribute to the animal liberation movement.

Here are 15 of the top books to read relating to animal rights:

Disclaimer: Some of these books may contain graphic details that are difficult to read, but are essential in order to effectively convey what goes on behind closed doors, particularly on factory farms.

(Click on the images to link to the books.)

1. Bleating Hearts: The Hidden World of Animal Suffering by Mark Hawthorne


Bleating Hearts by Mark Hawthorne examines the many ways in which non-human animals are abused. Bleating Hearts is an eye-opening look into how ingrained in our society the use of non-human animals truly is. With no area too sensitive to leave untouched, from food, clothing, scientific research, religion, entertainment, and more, Hawthorne presents more in-depth accounts of many of these practices.

Thorough and well researched, rather than solely leaving the reader to contemplate these disheartening realities, Bleating Hearts also provides the necessary tools to take action and contribute to the animal liberation movement and to change that can have a positive impact for all beings.

2. Until Every Animal is Free by Saryta Rodriguez


Well written and researched, in Until Every Animal is Free Saryta Rodriguez challenges the belief that humans are superior to all other animals and addresses the ideologies that have long supported these views. Until Every Animal is Free also shares much of the current work that is being done to bring the Animal Liberation Movement into the public conscience, as well as the positive impact that veganism has had so far.

3. Animal Liberation: The Definitive Classic of the Animal Movement by Peter Singer


Originally published in 1975, Animal Liberation by Peter Singer has been a truly groundbreaking work for animal liberation movement. In terms of content, Animal Liberation is not an easy read as it brought focused on the idea of “speciesism” and the complete disregard society has for non-human animals.

A philosopher and professor, Singer addresses the moral side of how non-human animals are treated. Using undeniable and often highly disturbing facts and imagery, Singer removes the curtain between consumer and producer. From animal agriculture to scientific testing, our use and abuse of non-human life is abhorrent and endemic to our society.

Through his rather graphic presentation of the deplorable realities behind these industries, it becomes apparent that if we can’t look at or even read about these things how can we continue to support them? After reading Animal Liberation, choosing to “not see” the truth is no longer an option.

4. Striking at the Roots: A Practical Guide to Animal Activism by Mark Hawthorne


Striking at the Roots by Mark Hawthorne is a practical guide to animal rights activism. Learning from the advice and experiences of others is an excellent way to learn the ropes of advocacy and to find the inspiration needed to take action. Further, Striking at the Roots covers various forms of activism from letter writing to leafleting and others, explaining the how and why for each.

Hawthorne even addresses the emotional aspect of animal rights activism and how to deal with the psychological effects of being constantly aware of such cruelty and the suffering of animals. Consequently, Striking at the Roots is a well-rounded approach to activism within the animal liberation movement.


5. Mad Cowboy: The Plain Truth from the Cattle Rancher That Won’t Eat Meat by Howard F. Lyman with Glen Merzer


Mad Cowboy is written by Howard Lyman, a rancher from Montana whose testimony on The Oprah Winfrey Show, of the dangerous practices of the cattle and dairy industries, instigated the infamous lawsuit between Texas cattlemen and Oprah. Mad Cowboy exposes the appalling realities of animal agriculture in both their practices as well as the protection afforded to them by government agencies.

Additionally, Howard Lyman shares his personal health journey that led him to investigate the agricultural practices used in cattle and dairy farming. His discoveries led him to make the connection between these practices and large scale deterioration of human health as well as a disturbing amount of environmental destruction.

A well-known book, Mad Cowboy continues to serve an important role in the animal liberation movement. However, it also covers other effects of animal agriculture and thus advocates a vegan diet for the good of the animals, the planet, and our health.

6. Change of Heart by Nick Cooney


Change of Heart by Nick Cooney is about the psychology behind successful activism and creating social change. Cooney puts forward the idea that the findings of social psychology can and should be used in advocacy work and the non-profit field, including the animal liberation movement.

Change of Heart conveys the undeniable logic in applying tried and true methods regarding changes in people’s behaviour and beliefs. If you want to change the world for the better, why not use techniques that work? And Change of Heart manages to show you how to go about doing just that.

7. Uncaged: Top Activists Share Their Wisdom on Effective Farm Animal Advocacy by Ben Davidow


Uncaged presents advice from thirty leading activists in the animal liberation movement. If you already are, or are looking to become an animal rights activist, Uncaged has the advice and inspiration you will need. Providing insights and strategies, Uncaged can serve as a manual for a practical approach to animal rights activism.

When it comes to advocacy, learning from those who have years of experience is certainly a good place to start. And their encouraging and reassuring words really help to find even greater motivation to get out there and create positive change.



8. Eat Like You Care: An Examination of the Morality of Eating Animals by Gary L. Francione and Anna Charlton

In this book, Eat Like You Care, Gary Francione and Anna Charlton delve into and dissect the moral argument for eating animals. The authors solidly put forward and thoroughly support the reasons for why, if we provide animals with any moral value, it is our moral obligation to live vegan. One cannot be morally consistent if they oppose the mistreatment of animals (here they use the example of Michael Vick and dog fighting), yet continue to eat animals for pleasure.

Having established that there is now more than sufficient evidence to prove that we do not need to eat animals for health, Eat Like You Care explains why a vegan diet is the only logical choice when it comes to food.


9. The World Peace Diet by Will Tuttle


The World Peace Diet by Will Tuttle looks at the wider effects that our food choices have. The author offers a more conscious approach to our lives and choices that will increase happiness and have a more positive impact on the world around us. For example, eating animals, particularly those from factory farms supports considerable cruelty.

The World Peace Diet explains that regardless of background of beliefs, everyone can benefit from living with a higher level of consciousness and awareness. Taking the advice given in this book can only help to make the world a better, more loving place. It is only up to us collectively, as a species, to make it a reality.

10. Animal Rights the Abolitionist Approach by Gary L. Francione and Anna Charlton


In Animal Rights the Abolitionist Approach, the authors explain why the positive progression of the animal liberation movement requires a revolution in the approach being taken. Gary Francione and Anna Charlton believe that in order for any real change to occur there needs to be a greater acceptance of the view that non-human animals are non-human persons.

They argue that there can be no “compromising” steps and that more “humane” methods that still result in animal products being produced is not effective. The abolitionist approach instead requires the complete commitment to the vegan lifestyle and anything less is unacceptable. In order to change the way non-human animals are viewed, commitment to their rights and freedom must be absolute.

11. Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism: The Belief System That Enables Us to Eat Some Animals and Not Others by Melanie Joy


A social psychologist, in Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows Melanie Joy shares her insights into how, as a society, we have more compassion and empathy for certain animals, yet choose not to extend those same emotions to farm animals.

The term “carnism” is used to describe the belief system that makes it acceptable to eat some animals, but not others. A corner stone of the animal liberation movement is the willingness to extend compassion to all animals. Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows also explores the realities of factory farming and the environmental impacts of such large scale operations.

12. Living the Farm Sanctuary Life by Gene Baur with Gene Stone


Gene Baur is the co-founder and president of Farm Sanctuary. Thus, he brings an insider perspective to some of the positive outcomes of the animal liberation movement. Living the Farm Sanctuary Life encourages people to live in alignment with their values and it even comes with vegan recipes from a number of celebrities and well-known plant-based chefs.

Stories of animals that have been rescued by Farm Sanctuary provide an uplifting and hopeful component that shows people the good that can come from the choice to live compassionately. Living the Farm Sanctuary Life has tips and advice for how to incorporate practices into your life that result in living more harmoniously with other species and the world around you.

You can find out more about Farm Sanctuary and other animal sanctuaries by following them on social media.

13. My Gentle Barn: Creating an Animal Sanctuary Where Animals Heal and Children Learn to Hope by Ellie Laks and Nomi Isak


My Gentle Barn takes the reader through the early days of The Gentle Barn, an animal sanctuary that shows the wonderful effects that can be had in a place built on love. My Gentle Barn is a glimpse into the life on an animal sanctuary with uplifting stories of animals and their recoveries, all while interacting and connecting in a positive environment with humans. This book is an inspiring account of the good that can be done when acting out of compassion.

14. Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer


In Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran Foer presents his investigation into factory farming, the modern practices of large scale animal agriculture, and the cultural background influencing society’s meat consumption. Foer also delves into the moral implications of supporting these industries through the purchase and consumption of animal products. One of the most important aspects of the animal liberation movement is acknowledging the deplorable way in which animals are treated on factory farms and realising our contribution to it.

Further, Foer explains the experiences and influences that led him to question his food choices, sharing much of his personal history in the process. A natural writer, Eating Animals is an enjoyable read despite such serious subject matter, and it has a lasting and personal effect on the reader.

15. Project Animal Farm by Sonia Faruqi


Project Animal Farm follows the around the world investigation by Sonia Faruqi into animal agriculture and agribusiness in the search to better the lives of animals, human health, and the planet. Despite many of the stark realities the author discovers, she does not lose her sense of humour, proving that all hope is not lost. With a refreshing approach, the author provides real suggestions for how to go about making positive changes.

These are just some of the many well written books on animal agriculture, the animal liberation movement, and the ethical approach to a vegan lifestyle.

Education is the key to making more informed decisions about your life and understanding how those decisions affect others.

By providing details and insights into why veganism is such an important endeavour to undertake, these books help to make the connection between the animals who could become the food on your plate or the shoes on your feet.

Realising your connection to these industries is the first step to being able to make changes for the better. Every step towards more compassionate living is an important step for all animals, and the planet as a whole.

Do you have any other books you would like to recommend relating to the animal liberation movement? Let us know by email or leave a comment below!

You can find these and other books in the vegan resources section of the right-hand side bar menu under “books.”

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