Liz Dee here. Did you catch my interview with activist extraordinaire Janelle Elizabeth Soto? Janelle is currently hard at work planning the opening of New Jersey’s first vegan diner, The Killer Vegan Diner and Delicatessen. #PRIVATE#As an out-and-proud Jersey girl, I personally cannot wait. In the meantime, I’ve been busy attending Janelle’s popular Sunday vegan brunches, which she hosts at Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant in South Orange, as a precursor to the forthcoming restaurant.
But I’m not just a fan of Janelle’s scrumptious grub. As I’ve learned more about her longtime activism, I’ve become mildly infatuated with her unique and rich activism history. An outspoken vegan of 18 years, this woman has seen (and done) it all, using her skills, talents, and voice to speak up for animals in a plethora of ways. We can all learn a thing or three from her. And so I was elated when Janelle agreed to let the flock in on some of the books that have helped shape her evolving advocacy. Below you’ll find Janelle’s Top 5 Animal Rights Books. I, for one, have a trip to my local bookstore planned for later this afternoon. Just like Janelle’s food, when it comes to her book suggestions, I can’t wait to dig in.
Oh, and as a bonus, we’re offering one lucky flock member a copy of Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation. To enter to win, email contest [at] ourhenhouse [dot] org. Include your mailing address, and specify that you’d like to be entered to win Animal Liberation. You can only enter to win one time, and the contest is only open to flock members. You have one week to enter, which means you have until Thursday, May 30, at midnight EDT. We’ll randomly select a winner on May 31. Good luck!
Janelle Elizabeth Soto’s Top 5 Animal Rights Books
The Animal Rights Handbook: Everyday Ways to Save Animal Lives by Laura Fraser. I randomly came across this book in the nature section of a bookstore, and although it was a little book, it made an enormous impact. It provides an overview that contains brief, easy-to-read chapters detailing multiple facets of animal exploitation and what you can do to effect change.
- Animal Liberation by Peter Singer. This has been my bible. From the moment I first picked it up, the philosophical approach of this tome to the issue of animal rights really made sense to me.
- Free the Animals by Ingrid Newkirk. Reading this book roused and emboldened me. It definitely opened me up to civil disobedience and direct action, and quite possibly played a part in my extensive arrest record.
- Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. The fact that the author’s journey isn’t a straight line encourages people who may otherwise give up completely. Safran Foer is relatable. It’s a plus that he does not come from the AR world. Moreover, he’s just a great writer.
- Wringer by Jerry Spinelli. There was a nationally known annual pigeon shoot in Hegins, Pa, which began in 1934. Every year, people came from all over the country to shoot pigeons. In 1997, I, along with six other activists, blocked the main highway leading to the pigeon shoot. Long story short, after that protest, full-time activism was no longer on the agenda for me – what with looming legal defense fund costs stemming from numerous charges, multiple felonies included. So I got a job running the children’s department of a bookstore, where I came across Wringer. The book describes a conflicted boy’s fear of his approaching birthday, which would entail him becoming a “wringer” – one of the kids tasked with wringing the necks of any birds who remain alive after being shot (unfortunately, there are a lot). I sold so many copies of this book. Anyone who came into the store to buy something for a child age eight and up probably went home with this, as I touted it as the tale of a kid marching to the beat of his own drum. Happy ending – the Hegins pigeon shoot ended the following year.