Two fascinating, new, animal rights books address our current climate crisis and the need for legal personhood for animals
Los Angeles, August 11th, 2023 — New Zealand author M C Ronen and American authors Sam and Cynthia Machado have produced two very different animal rights books. But, both have the same underlying message: veganism, as a philosophy, is the solution to so many of society’s problems. One book is fiction and the other is non-fiction. One book talks about how animal agriculture is the main culprit in our escalating climate crises, and the other about how animals deserve to be treated as legal persons.
UnchainedTV’s Jane Velez-Mitchell interviewed these three authors about these new animal rights books, and you can watch the entire conversation here:
DEAR TUI, a Warning Is Climate Crisis Fiction
Maya Cohen-Ronen is a multi-award-winning fiction author, publishing under the pen name M C Ronen. Her writing is motivated by a desire to inspire fundamental social change. She is the author of The Liberation Trilogy, a series of page-turning dystopian thrillers composed of three novels: The Shed, Liberation, and It Was In Our Hands.
“It’s a climate crisis novel. It stemmed out of my frustration and fear that climate change is obviously real, it’s happening now, and it’s not some distant problem that we have to deal with. And, my frustration grows steadily because we don’t give animal agriculture enough space in the way that we talk about mitigating this disaster.”
Tui is one of the national birds of Aotearoa (New Zealand), a beautiful bird native to New Zealand, but it is also a personal first name. In this book, Tui is a 9-year-old girl, the daughter of the protagonist, Juniper. Ronen explains the message of the story:
“It’s a gut-wrenching story, it’s a very hard-hitting tale about the climate crisis, and the message is very clear: we have to go vegan, we have to adopt a plant-based economy in order to save ourselves.”
“All my books are very action-driven, so they ask you to do something, mainly to go vegan.” — M C Ronen, fiction author
THING… The First Book of Its Kind
Comic artists Sam Machado and Cynthia Sousa Machado are the husband-and-wife team behind the cartoons I Got This and If I Don’t Get Pants. Their work involves identity, politics, and social justice. Their editorial cartoons have been published in the Guardian, The New Republic and Redbook. To view their webcomic, click Cyberbunk. Cynthia and Sam live and illustrate in Miami, FL.
Their new book is a non-fiction comic novel titled Thing: Inside the Struggle for Animal Personhood. It tells the story of Happy, the elephant held captive at the Bronx Zoo for almost half a century, and the struggle to get her to be recognized as a “person” in a court of law with legal rights that come with being a “person.” This is the first graphic nonfiction book about the animal personhood movement, and it has a third author, Steven M. Wise, the legal scholar who files cases on behalf of captive nonhuman animals like Happy. Sam Machado explains:
“Steve is a close personal friend, and he has been leading this fight for nonhuman personhood for almost 30 years. His first case, involving chimpanzees, was the subject of a documentary. Now, he’s partnered with us to write this graphic novel about Happy.”
Cynthia Sousa Machado explains her role in the book:
“My job is to make everything look so inspiring that you want to keep turning pages, and to go ahead and tell a story with those pictures, like a documentary. Graphic novels have a wide birth of things they can do in the fiction world. But, in the non-fiction world, this has not been a tried and true way of disseminating information. This is one of the only books of its kind on the market.”
From 2018 to 2022, Happy was the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP)’s client in a court case that reached the New York Court of Appeals. Although the case was not won, two judges dissented and strongly criticized Happy’s continued confinement.
“We would like to see more parliaments, congresses, and courts start thinking like Ecuador, like other countries that have made some room for the nonhuman world to have a legal voice.” — Sam Machado, vegan author