Bleating Hearts

Bleating Hearts

The Hidden World of Animal Suffering

An investigation of how animals are exploited for entertainment, apparel, research, military weapons, sport, art, religion, food, and more.


Comprehensive and hard-hitting, Bleating Hearts examines the world’s vast exploitation of animals, from the food, fashion, and research industries to the use of other species for sport, war, entertainment, religion, labor and pleasure.


"...Mark Hawthorne’s Bleating Hearts is the most comprehensive single compendium of animal exploitation that exists. Here at EP [Eating Plants] we tend to approach ethics through considering what’s on the end of our forks. Hawthorne forces us to expand that vision in ways even experienced ethical vegans will find informative and alarming...." ~ James McWilliams,

Mark Hawthorne’s impeccable compendium is stark testimony to the end of human privilege. Today, Bleating Hearts is an essential reference for any and all studies. Soon, it will number among other history books on the rise and fall of modernity. ~ G.A. Bradshaw, Psychology Today:

Although a terribly difficult read, there’s much to be gained from Bleating Hearts. I suspect that seasoned activists will derive the greatest benefit, since this is hardly an “intro to animal rights” text – but perhaps Hawthorne can spur some omnivorous readers to make the connection between the dogs on their laps and the cows on their plates. After being confronted with the horrors in this book, I hope it will become increasingly difficult for readers to resist change rather than simply embrace it. ~ Kelly Garbato, Easy Vegan:

This is not a book for the faint of heart. It can leave one in tears of pain and frustration. However, it could also move people to confront the blindness and cruelty and take action towards the "moral parity" that Hawthorne struggles with in the final chapter. ~ Rowan Wolf, Uncommon Thought:

If you care at all about human- and/or non-human animals, Bleating Hearts is essential reading. There is so much to learn about, and there’s no better nor more compassionate guide through the hidden world of animal suffering than Mark Hawthorne. ~ Vegansaurus,

Bleating Hearts will touch your heart and leave you a stronger advocate for animals... As someone who has been working for more than 25 years on various animal issues — from hunting, to fur, to animals in marine parks, to circuses, etc. — and someone who, of course, spent a significant amount of my activist history working to help animals raised and killed for food and those used in experiments, I learned a lot from this book. ~ Lauren Ornelas, Founder/Executive Director Food Empowerment Project

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. ~ Jennifer Molidor, Animal Legal Defense Fund:

.... Bleating Hearts: The Hidden World of Animal Suffering by animal activist Mark Hawthorne. This 625 page tome is one of the most, if not the most, detailed treatise on the use and abuse of nonhuman animals (animals) of which I am aware, and I am astounded by Mr. Hawthorne's breadth and depth of knowledge about countless topics. I guarantee your learning curve will be vertical and that you will sit back in amazement at the amount of information between the widely separated covers. The 103 pages of detailed notes also astounded me. ~ Marc Bekoff, for Psychology Today:

Reading this book will remind you to keep standing up for animals and not settling for cruelty as a way of life. The animals need us. While they are torn, broken and harmed, we are their hearts and we should never stop bleating. ~ Save a Scream,

Richard Ryder condemns the worldwide abuse of animals. Bleating Hearts: The Hidden World of Animal Suffering by Mark Hawthorne. Changemakers Books, 2013. ISBN: 9781780998510 This book is particularly valuable for two reasons. First, it covers the whole world, looking at cruelties and anti-cruelty campaigns from Afghanistan to the Arctic. Secondly, because it is up to date, it is also a useful reference book. Mark Hawthorne examines some of the more forgotten cruelties such as the shooting of captive antelopes, zebras, kangaroos, lions, bears or tigers – often these are the old, half-tame animals no longer wanted by zoos – with guns or, even more cruelly, with bows and arrows, in which case the wounded animal may take an age to die. Such ‘canned hunting’ is booming in the US and South Africa. Big game fishing, where ‘macho’ idiots ‘play’ marlin and swordfish for as long as they can, is also a growth industry. Dog sled racing is growing in Alaska, and hare coursing in Ireland. Dolphins are still kept in cramped aquariums in South America, and hunted to death with knives and spears in Iceland and Japan. Elephants are injured with bullhooks in India, and in New Zealand many animals have suffered in the making of films. Bears are still baited in Pakistan; orang-utans are forced to kick-box in Thailand, stallions to fight in Indonesia and South Korea, and camels to wrestle in Turkey. It has been estimated that in Spain, Mexico and other countries, as many as 250,000 bulls a year are still fought to death – or to paralysis, after being stabbed in the neck, then, still conscious, dragged off to a slaughterhouse where they may be skinned alive, unable to move. Animal sacrifice still continues in India. Mass carnage occurs every five years in Nepal to appease the Hindu goddess Gadhimai in rituals during which some 250,000 animals are killed over just two days. And, of course, millions more animals die on the intensive farms and in the laboratories of developing countries as the cruelties of the West sweep across the globe. Many animals also suffer in the name of so-called art, such as dogs left to starve in performance art, or animals being bludgeoned to death in snuff films. And millions of animals are still employed around the world to draw carts and pull ploughs. With increasing urbanisation their plight is worse than ever. In India, Egypt and Afghanistan, thousands of donkeys work in scorching brick kilns, and elephants are forced to drag timber in Laos and Burma, often in terrible conditions. In his book, Hawthorne also attacks the inherent cruelty involved in the ‘rape racks’ and the electro-ejaculation used in artificial insemination. The author ends his catalogue of horrors by considering the increasingly clear correlation between sadistic abusers of animals and those who go on to become serial torturers of humans. In one study, 32 out of 44 serial killers (73%) also reportedly abused animals. Some people seem to think that after all the publicity over animal rights in the last few decades of the 20th century, everything is now all right. It is not. This book is essential reading for anyone who believes that the current status quo regarding the relationship between humans and non-humans is acceptable. Far from it: it is an abomination. Armed with modern technologies, human beings now torment and torture their evolutionary brothers and sisters in a million different ways, daily and continuously. But do not let me put you off. Out of the 500 pages of this book, at least 400 are more relaxed and without horror stories. Hawthorne gives the addresses of helpful organisations, and governments we should protest to. I believe this is the greatest moral issue of our age – the international mistreatment of our co-inhabitants of this little planet, who are being grossly abused because we, as members of the human race, are too arrogant and greedy to face up to the fact that our species is not the centre of the universe! ~ Richard Ryder, Resurgence Magazine

A staggering investigation into the ethics of animal exploitation around the world, 'Bleating Hearts' pulls no punches as it examines the many ways humans use and abuse our fellow creatures. Hawthorne artfully travels to the darkest corners of animal suffering, bringing to light not only the disturbing truth about people’s mistreatment of nonhumans, but what we can do about it. Eloquently written and thoroughly researched, this doesn’t just belong on every animal advocate’s bookshelf—it deserves to be discussed and shared. This is a brilliant, powerfully persuasive book that will inspire you to make a difference. ~ Ric O’Barry, founder of The Dolphin Project

If there is a place in your heart for animals, this is an important book for you to read. But is also more than that. If you want to lift the veil of denial, so that you can make your life an effective statement of compassion, you'll find this book to be nothing less than extraordinary. ~ John Robbins, author of The Food Revolution and Diet For A New America and co-founder of the Food Revolution Network (

Bleating Hearts' is gut-wrenching and heartbreaking. It's also a shining beacon of hope that simply must be read by anyone who envisions a compassionate world. By unveiling the hidden atrocities committed against animals, Mark Hawthorne arms us with the most powerful tool for change: awareness. Once we know, we can't but act. ~ Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, bestselling author and creator of The 30-Day Vegan Challenge

Mark Hawthorne’s 'Bleating Hearts' is a rare accomplishment. Both encyclopedic and incisive, it should be required reading for every consumer with a conscience. His penetrating overview of our often unthinking and always multi-faceted exploitation of nonhuman animals reminds us how deeply invested material culture is in horrors that, by design, we are not supposed to see. Hawthorne sheds an uncompromising light on not just on our poor treatment of farmed animals, but of all animals, including those we abuse for fashion, entertainment, recreation, and even art. In allowing the reality of the human-animal relationship to speak for itself, 'Bleating Hearts' will fundamentally change the way you look not just at animals, but the world we share with them. ~ James McWilliams, author of "Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly" and "The Politics of the Pasture: How Two O

I can't think of any recent book that so comprehensively covers animal issues and gets it so consistently right. If everyone read it, the amount of suffering in the world would be reduced considerably, for it would be impossible to read Bleating Hearts and not be moved toward the vegan way of life. His facts are incontrovertible, his arguments are convincing, his detailed analyses are persuasive. This is a powerful and wonderful book that I cannot recommend enough. ~ Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, author of When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals and The Face on Your Plate: The Truth About Food

Please don't read this book if you want a happy ending. Mark Hawthorne’s depth and research surrounding the fragility and lives of our animal kin exposes too many ‘secret shames,’ sees an inevitable self-reflection, and should be mandatory reading for us all. A Chinese saying encapsulates perhaps something we can all do to create the kinder world that so many species deserve: ‘To close your eyes will not ease another's pain.’ Open your eyes, read, reflect, react, and be part of the dramatic change this book demands. ~ Jill Robinson, MBE, founder of Animals Asia Foundation

An important, timely addition to unmasking the myth of the 'humane treatment' of nonhuman animals. Hawthorne's searing indictment is must reading for both those new to the animal rights movement and for seasoned animal rights activists. ~ Tom Regan, author of The Case for Animal Rights and Empty Cages: Facing the Challenge of Animal Rights

In the face of information that might render us speechless, Mark Hawthorne is thorough and articulate. 'Bleating Hearts' empowers us with ways to challenge what has been both normal and hidden, making this book a remarkable achievement of vision and voice. ~ Carol J. Adams, author of The Sexual Politics of Meat

Mark Hawthorne speaks with a deep knowledge and passion. It’s a heady mix that suffuses you with a desire to change the world. The shocking tales of animal cruelty are hard to comprehend, and 'Bleating Hearts' may well make you angry and indeed could spark an eternal hunger for justice in your soul. The world needs us to use the facts so well laid out before us in this poignant book, to call for a revolution in society's institutionalized blindness in its treatment of animals. An excellent book that will sway hearts and minds forever. ~ Juliet Gellatley, founder and director of Viva!

This book deserves to be widely read. Well-researched and eloquently written, it is a most comprehensive overview of the cowardly and brutal way humans treat animals the world over. 'Bleating Hearts' requires some courage as many chapters make for harrowing reading. Thankfully, this book also offers hope and features many organizations and individuals that will inspire readers to stand up for the animals we share the planet with. ~ Hans Kriek, executive director of SAFE New Zealand

Bleating Hearts is a gracefully written, authoritative account of our mistreatment of our nonhuman neighbors. Exhaustively researched and meticulously sourced, it exposes the entire panoply of suffering that we inflict on animals—suffering that the animal exploitation industries keep carefully hidden from our view. Written in a clear, straightforward style with no sensationalism or deliberate attempts to shock, Hawthorne’s descriptions of animal abuse throughout our society command our attention by their very judiciousness. A concluding chapter featuring several of the leading lights of the animal protection movement giving thoughtful and thought-provoking answers to questions that are at the forefront of the animal rights dialogue lends added moral depth to the preceding narrative. Bleating Hearts is among the most important animal rights books of the 21st century. For years to come it will be essential reading for animal activists, academics in the growing field of human-animal relations, and everyone who wants to know the documented, unadorned truth about our treatment of the sentient beings with whom we share our planet. ~ Norm Phelps, author of The Longest Struggle: Animal Advocacy from Pythagoras to PETA and Changing the Game: Why the Battle for Animal Liberation Is So

In Bleating Hearts: The Hidden World of Animal Suffering, Mark Hawthorne shines a desperately needed and penetrating light on the underbelly of the human-nonhuman animal relationship. Hawthorne has written this book to speak for the billions of animals who have no voice. It has taken a great deal of courage to bear witness to and then put into words the mindboggling amount of animal suffering that most of humanity chooses not to see. This is not an easy read, but it is a must-read. And, once you read this book, you will no longer be able to say: ‘I didn’t know what was going on.’ And, moreover, once you know, I hope, I pray that you will take action. ~ Joyce Tischler, founder of the Animal Legal Defense Fund

If you’re looking for a hard-hitting, up-to-date, and well-researched indictment against the animal exploitation industries, this is your book. ~ Jonathan Balcombe, PhD, Animal Studies Department Chair, Humane Society University

’Bleating Hearts’ is a must-read for anyone who cares about animals, humanity, or justice. Providing a no-holds-barred look at our complex and all too often cruel and exploitive relationship with other animals, this book will forever change the way you look at what you eat and wear and how you entertain yourself. You will come away informed, moved, outraged, and inspired to take action. ~ Nathan Runkle, executive director of Mercy For Animals

Much as you might spin a desk globe, this book allows you to stop and put your finger on any of the many issues concerning animals in the world and look at it up close, especially those the public almost never hears about. Stories and statistics provide the reader with a clear view of the sometimes surprising issues that involve animals, and while each chapter will leave you informed, often aghast, they will no doubt motivate many to absent themselves from inadvertent participation in cruelty and, instead, adopt animal-friendly choices. A useful, accessible, riveting read. ~ Ingrid Newkirk, president and co-founder of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Mark Hawthorne
Mark Hawthorne Mark Hawthorne is the author of A Vegan Ethic: Embracing a Life of Compassion Toward All, Bleating Hearts: The Hidden World of Animal Suffer...
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