Animal Rights, Human Rights: Ecology, Economy, and Ideology in the Canadian Arctic
Published: June 1991© 1991
Imprint: University of Toronto Press
Page Count: 206 Pages
Dimensions: 6.06 x 9.03
206 Pages, 6.06 x 9.03 x 0.59 in
The campaign to ban seal hunting in Canada won international headlines and achieved its aims to a large extent. Most observers felt instinctively that the campaigners were "right" but little thought was given to the cataclysmic consequences the ban would have on the way of life and economy of a traditional people, the Inuit of Arctic Canada.
A distinguished anthropologist who has spent over twenty years living and working with the Inuit Community, George Wenzel provides a reasoned, in-depth, coolly written but powerful critique of this received interpretation and shows how the campaigners 'own cultural prejudices and questionable ecological imperatives brought hardship, distress and instability to an ecologically balanced traditional culture.
This book is both a careful academic study and a disturbing comment on how environmental activity may oppress a whole society, which raises serious questions about the motives and methods of the animal rights' movement in a much wider context than the case here studied.
'If Inuit have the right to cultural survival - the only alternative to total assimilation into the "southern" Canadian mainstream, then Animal Rights, Human Rightsis a vitally important book. In an era when we, as a country, are trying hard to recognize native rights and distinctiveness, Canadian should acknowledge the impact of the anti-sealing campaign. This book forces you to look the issue straight in the face. It is indeed a question of rights.'
David E. Pelly, Canadian Geographic
'This book illustrates beautifully the destructive, anti-ecological premises of economics that endanger peoples as well as environments. It also shows how naive, even obtuse, semi-skills of the protectionist lobby can be perverted to harm both the animals they seek to save and the human societies interwoven with them.'L.R. Taylor, Journal of Animal Ecology
'This book's cogent arguments for human rights, its dispassionate tone, and its conclusions make it vital reading for all who are concerned about the environment, man's role vis-a-vis animals, and the wider implications of animal rights. As powerful, in its own fashion, as Farley Mowat's People of the Deer.'J.A. Casda, Choice
'Animal Rights, Human Rights is much more than a social history - it is a tool for understanding.'Alan Saunders, Arctic Circle
'This wonderfully focused book would make a fine case study for courses in arctic ethnology, as well as cultural ecology, political geography, and economic anthropology. It should be in the library of every institution with a Canadian Studies program. It is suitable either for graduate students or undergraduates, and the glossary and bibliography are very useful. With 184 pages of text, it can be quickly read, and its subject matter is of value to social scientists and historians in general, not just anthropologists specializing in cultural ecology or economic development.'Ann McElroy, University of Buffalo, Reviews in Anthropology