Written Works

A Plea for the Animals

By Matthieu Ricard
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Every cow just wants to be happy. Every chicken just wants to be free. Every bear, dog, or mouse experiences sorrow and feels pain as intensely as any of us humans do. In a compelling appeal to reason and human kindness, Matthieu Ricard here takes the arguments from his best-sellers Altruism and Happiness to their logical conclusion: that compassion toward all beings, including our fellow animals, is a moral obligation and the direction toward which any enlightened society must aspire. He chronicles the appalling sufferings of the animals we eat, wear, and use for adornment or “entertainment,” and submits every traditional justification for their exploitation to scientific evidence and moral scrutiny. What arises is an unambiguous and powerful ethical imperative for treating all of the animals with whom we share this planet with respect and compassion.

“Are animals mere things, here for us to exploit? Or are they rather sentient, often intelligent beings, entitled to live their own lives? Matthieu Ricard examines theological, philosophical, and scientific thinking on both sides of the issue and concludes that without doubt we must recognize each animal is an individual deserving of our compassion and respect. A Plea for the Animals is fascinating, instructive, and compelling, speaking to us on both an intellectual and emotional level. “— Jane Goodall

More videos by Matthieu Ricard on Altruism

A Plea for Animals continues and completes the wonderful work Matthieu Ricard did in his Altruism, drawing on science and philosophy to show that compassion cannot be limited to members of our own species but must be extended to all beings capable of suffering. This is a book for everyone who is willing to consider the case for a radical change in the way we treat animals. “—Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation

A Plea for the Animals is a gem. Ever single page has many words of wisdom and the overall message is one of unfettered optimism.”  — Marc Bekoff, Psychology Now and Huffington Post

“Matthieu Ricard’s new book, A Plea for the Animals, is an eloquent and impassioned appeal to humans to extend respect and compassion to all living beings, without limits. As Ricard stresses throughout his book, if we truly believe in kindness and ethical conduct, then the ‘right to live and not suffer cannot be the exclusive privilege of human beings’.” — PETA

October 2016 Publication Date