For most of the animals in this book, the moment captured was one filled with fear, pain and humiliation. For a fortunate few in one section, those moments were full of love and security. "We Animals" is broken up into five sections: Fashion and Entertainment, Food, Research, Mercy and Notes from the Field.
Though each photograph is poignant it its own way, some punch me in the stomach a little harder than others. On page 26 you'll find a photograph titled "Afternoon at the Bullfights." In it a bull lies dead in the dirt in the middle of a bullfighting arena. The shadow of his killer, the matador, casts over him. The bull thought of as a mighty and strong animal yet his body lay limp and lifeless with his legs tucked in close to his stomach. The contrast of his enormous, once powerful body and the clear powerlessness he had in the face of human is humbling.
The next photo, titled "Next for Slaughter" on page 55, has been passed around the internet a lot and for good reason. It allows you to look into the animal's soul. In the forefront of the photo you see a little, white rabbit in a green crate. Behind him is a human, slitting the throats of other white rabbits hanging from a conveyor machine. The rabbit is staring into the camera lens and his ears are tucked back. He is very clearly terrified of his future. If ever there was doubt that animals in slaughterhouses know their fate, this photograph will clear anyone's mind of that doubt. This rabbit knows, and all you want to do is grab him and take him far way from there.
"Vietiane Xin Ling Money Farm" is a pair of photographs of Macaque monkeys. On the left sits a rail thin, starving monkey. She's looking up and out of the frame at the body of her deceased companion. The pain in her eyes speaks volumes. We've all lost a loved one, but the thought of a loved one leaving when we are vulnerable and scared with no one to comfort us is overwhelming. When you look at her, you can't help, but feel her pain.
Finally, on page 94, you'll find a photo of Gene Baur, Farm Sanctuary's founder and president, sitting in the grass with Opie, a steer who had been rescued as a calf. According to McArthur's caption, "Opie lived at Farm Sanctuary for eighteen years before he passed away. Gene and Opie remained friends to the end." Opie clearly feels safe and secure next to Gene. He is leaning towards his friend, looking at him and sitting close. Opie is one of the luckiest guys on earth, as most are not rescued.
Of course, this is just a small sampling of the many, many animals in this book and you might find different photos that resonate with you. At 40 dollars, this book would be perfect for any ethical vegan's coffee table. You can also purchase prints from the We Animals website and hang them on your wall. Either way, your guests will see the beautiful photography, and ultimately find themselves looking into the eyes of animals. "We Animals" will get anyone thinking.
Rachel is recent graduate of the University of Maine, where she studied Spanish and English with a concentration in professional writing. In addition to writing and editing for Eco-Vegan Gal, she is the blogger behind The Judgmental Vegan and writes for One Green Planet.