Bleating Hearts: the Hidden World of Animal Suffering

Posted by Jennifer Molidor, ALDF's Staff Writer on December 11, 2013

bleating-heartsThe Animal Book Club is thrilled to review Mark Hawthorne’s brand new book Bleating Hearts: the Hidden World of Animal Suffering which hit shelves November 29th and is available as a paperback, a Nook book, or Kindle. So many of us call ourselves “animal lovers,” and yet suspect that there is a whole world of animal exploitation we turn our eyes away from, an awful truth that radiates like the heat of a blinding sun. It’s too hard to know, we tell ourselves, and yet as advocates and as companions to animals who share our lives, we are also compelled to know. Bleating Hearts is the book that we each need to read! And that is why Mark and ALDF are providing three autographed copies of Bleating Hearts to enter to win between December 11 and December 18 for your chance to get a free copy of Bleating Hearts!

Last week, the Animal Book Club spoke to Mark Hawthorne, live and in person, about the importance of knowing (watch the exclusive video here). “The truth is,” Mark writes, “we have an impoverished understanding of the animals we share this planet with.” And that is why Bleating Hearts is so important as a treatise on animal abuse—readers walk away with a far greater understanding of life as so many animals experience it.

Bleating Hearts explores the ways animals are harmed—ways few people may be aware of, but that are just as cruel as the factory farming, laboratory testing, fur farming, and exploitation in entertainment and ‘abusement’ parks that advocates work so hard to publicize. For example, Bleating Hearts contains sections on controversial topics like animals used in religion and sacrificial rites, the negative representations of animals in art, and the exploitation of animals in sports. From the sexual abuse of animals, to animals who are used for manual labor, Bleating Hearts is thorough but engaging, shocking but enlightening as well. Mark has an incredible ability to provide information without overwhelming the reader, and this book will be enjoyed by the most passionate animal advocates as well as those who are new to the world of animal advocacy.

“It is crucial that we see beyond the veil that hides this world of suffering from us,” Mark writes in Bleating Hearts. “Equally important,” he says, “we need to know that there is some optimism amid all the despair.” And that’s something Mark does so well, in this book and his previous works, and in his activism as well. Despite horrendous cruelty, mounting obstacles, and cultural resistance, Mark writes, speaks, and acts with an endlessly optimistic and encouraging spirit. Readers will put this book down and be inspired to act.

Mark is also author of Striking at the Roots: a Practical Guide to Animal Activism, an imminently useful book for animal advocates. Mark’s previous book encourages realistic ways we can each dedicate our lives to improving the lot of animals, and advises us on how to heal from the emotional aftermath of fighting against an infrastructure of animal cruelty so widespread, so enmeshed in our basic cultural traditions, that the rest of the world simply takes it for granted. Mark’s website lists a number of venues around the world where interested readers can find Bleating Hearts today. Get ready to open your eyes to new ways to help animals!

What’s the most useful thing you do to help animals?

8 thoughts on “Bleating Hearts: the Hidden World of Animal Suffering

  1. Chester says:

    The best thing you can do to help animals is to not eat them! That’s why I’m vegan — for the animals.

  2. Being vegan is one way I feel I help animals. Once you make the connection to “who” and not “what” you are eating it’s a true revelation. Living a cruelty-free life is the right choice for me; by making compassionate choices in what I eat, wear, products I use etc., I know I am not contributing to and supporting the pain, suffering and deaths of animals. I also think it’s very important to be a voice for animals, whether it be protesting, writing letters to newspapers, contacting your reps about animal issues important to you, and getting involved and active in specific causes. Animals need us – and if we truly care about them, it is our responsibility to advocate on their behalf.

  3. Deanne O'Donnell says:

    I am vegan and encourage others to try veganism also. We rescue are pets, never purchase, We donate to our animal shelter. I tirelessly promote death row animals and factory farming animals, animals used in entertainment and circuses, all wildlife including our creaturs of our oceans, on facebook and on line and am a member of over a dozen animal rights groups. I would give my life for my animals. I would have no problem putting myself in harms way to save an animal in distress or abuse. Trying to make a difference for animals is the only thing I care about. It is at the heart of who I am. My greatest desire is to make major difference in the lives of animals everywhere. I may not live long enough to do that, but it is my goal and the reason I am alive.

  4. Thomas Ponce says:

    What’s the most useful thing I do to help animals? I am always trying to raise awareness on all animal rights issues from factory farming to shark finning from the fur industry to animals in captivity and in entertainment, from puppy mills to vivisection. I look at every opportunity in life as a teaching moment and a chance for me to possibly make someone aware of the suffering that animals experience every day, awaken their compassion and get them actively on the road to living a cruelty free lifestyle. I try to make them see how we are all connected and how our every day choices effect way more than ourselves. I am a firm believer that with knowledge comes power and if we can educate others on what’s really happening in our world we have the power to make a change. By living a cruelty free life myself I hope to set an example for others my age as well as those of any age. I am also an active lobbyist for animal rights. I have my own organization called Lobby For Animals,, where I have posted some videos teaching people how to lobby for animal rights and be effective. I have attended delegates meetings and met with my Senators and Representatives and spoken on animal rights laws that need to be changed or introduced. I think it is so important for us all to get involved in lobbying for animal rights and represent animals in the political arena, it’s the only way the laws are ever going to change, and in turn, change the ways animals are viewed in our society.

  5. Shel Graves says:

    I make every day meat-less Monday. Enjoying a plant-based diet is the best thing I can do for the animals, promotes compassion, and it cares for my health too.

  6. Lucy Muller says:

    A good way to help animals is to live a lifestyle that does no harm. Show others by a quiet example, but we need groups like PETA etc. to make noise to get attention.

  7. Karen says:

    I think animal harmers should have the same back 20 fold. If I see any one hurting animals I stop them even if it means I get hurt.

  8. Tom Krepitch says:

    I thought I might get this for Christmas, so I waited to buy it. It didn’t turn up in my stocking this year, but I just bought it from Amazon, where it is currently only 99 cents. Not sure how long it will be at this price, but take a look. :)

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