Perhaps what makes Building An Ark: 101 Solutions To Animal Suffering by Ethan Smith and Guy Dauncey different from many animal rights’ books is its gentle message of hope.  – August 9, 2008

Normally when animal cruelty statistics are stacked up together it becomes a litany of woe and suffering – the planet is losing 50,000 species a year, 90% of sharks, tuna, cod, swordfish and marlins are forever lost, in the US alone nearly 10 billion mammals and birds are killed every year (not including fish), 25 million animals are used in medical experiments and more than 10 million unwanted animals are euthanized each year. Yet somehow Building An Ark manages to include well-researched factual information without overwhelming the reader.

Unfortunately for many in the green movement, animal welfare is still seen as somehow outside the list of possible solutions to heal our sick planet. The authors ask us to remember to include animal welfare and well-being in all our decisions, environmental or otherwise. Animals shouldn’t be an afterthought or a tokenistic addition to our discussions, animal welfare is imperative to any environmental argument as animals are an intrinsic part of the planet we all share. I think of the gentle words of Albert Schweitzer who asked us to ‘Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight.’

Building An Ark is part of the Solutions Project, created by Dauncey, and follows a similar format to other books in the series. The first half of the book is laid out with subjects exploring what life is like for animals on the planet. Animal sentience, factory farming, animal entertainment, cetaceans as elders and many more components of animal existence encourage the reader to consider their relationship with animals.

The second section of the book is divided into straight forward solutions for elevating animal suffering backed up with figures on how much suffering can be elevated by say, not consuming meat (Solution 5), so you will save about 35 animal lives each year. The second half of the book includes various solutions geared towards individuals, schools, action groups, businesses, governments, etc.. Some of the solutions are a touch repetitive but overall the book is excellent.

Building An Ark deserves a wide audience, in particular schools would very much benefit from having this gentle and accessible book as part of their course criteria, which fits in perfectly with Solution 22: Help Children Voice Their Compassionate Choice.

Published by New Society Publishers, a British Columbia publishing house committed to printing books that are 100% old growth forest free, chlorine free and printed with vegetable-based, low-VOC inks.


A must read for all generations! – March 31, 2008
Building an Ark; 101 Solutions to Animal Suffering, is a one-of-a-kind tool to help stop animal suffering around the world, by offering practical, easy to follow solutions that everyone can apply in their every day lives.

Our planet IS in peril, and animals play a key role in our ecology, evolution and the very fabric of our society. It is our fundamental responsibility to protect them and treat them as sentient beings, capable of emotions and feelings of pain. It is our fundamental responsibility as parents, teachers, business owners, and community leaders to inform ourselves and instill in our children, employees, colleagues and communities the very prime, most precious and vital understanding that ALL life is precious and must be treated as such.

It would be so simple to contemplate a chapter of Building an Ark at a time in a classroom, or to read it in the quietude of your own home and to commit, a step at a time, to changing our world to be a better place for all its inhabitants. This is one book no caring home or educational facility should be without.

Diana Saakian (Montreal, Quebec),


A great introduction to animal suffering – November 17, 2007
This is an excellent book! It is the most comprehensive guide I have ever read on animal suffering, and serves as a great book for those who are new and interested to the topic, as well as seasoned animal rights activists and vegans.

The best part about this book is that after covering all the ways in which animals suffer everyday, it offers helpful solutions in the second half of the book to these problems that all of us can help participate in.

Truly a great book and a must-read!!! I highly recommend this book to everyone.

Carly S. (San Diego, CA),


Problems and Solutions in Animal Suffering

 “… there is no sharp line between us … and the rest of the animal kingdom.” So Jane Goodall reminds us in her Foreward to Building an Ark: 101 Solutions to Animal Suffering, by Ethan Smith and Guy Dauncey; New Society Publishers, 2007. The authors and publishers have chosen a good subtitle, suggesting as it does that the core problem is not too few rights for animals, but too much suffering. We cannot activate our own compassion which alone will motivate us to end animal suffering until we look at it squarely and acknowledge its horrific proportions.

As for solutions, Smith and Dauncey divide the 101 they propose into groups according to who could best implement them, thus listing solutions for individuals, schools, farmers, business, governments and so on. What’s interesting is how solving animals’ problems (suffering and abuse) leads naturally to solving the problems that plague humans — the environmental and health problems for which Dauncey has previously written “solutions” books. Animal welfare were it to be accomplished would be the breakthrough, if we consider soil and water polluted with farm wastes, cancer-causing chemicals in meat, and loss of wildlife habitat which also performs global-cooling effects for us all.

Building an Ark includes amusing cartoons and encouraging messages from the famous, like Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, the Dalai Lama and Alex, an African Grey Parrot. It also points us to hundreds of websites and groups. With so many trying, why haven’t we succeeded yet in eradicating animals’ suffering? The authors remind us that “we have it within us to be bold, creative and determined and to embrace intelligent solutions for all our problems.” Yes, “we” do, but what about the non-“we” — those who want to hunt, eat veal, flip calves upside down at rodeos, and torture rats in laboratories? For them, sadly, we compassionate people are the problem.

Barbara Julian,


Advance Praise for Building an Ark: 101 Solutions to Animal Suffering

As E. F. Schumacher said, the real problems facing the planet are not economic or technical, they are philosophical. The heart must lead the mind. There is no question that this would be a better planet for all life including humans if we moved toward the philosophy outlined in this book. It shows the way to a better place, philosophically and practically.
— Robert Bateman, Artist and Naturalist

Finally, a practical and engaging book of solutions for animals! You don’t have to worry that this is one of those books about animal suffering that’s too sad to bear. Just the opposite — Building an Ark is full of so many hopeful, positive ideas that enable each of us to become enthusiastic partners in creating a more compassionate world.
Zoe Weil, President, Institute for Humane Education, and author of Above All, Be Kind: The Power and Promise of Humane Education; and So, You Love Animals: An Action-Packed, Fun-Filled Book to Help Kids Help Animals

Building an Ark is a most welcomed and needed book. Every individual can make a positive difference to heal our wounded world, and this easy to read book tells us how to do it and how to keep our dreams alive. Read it carefully and share it widely. I sure will.
— Marc Bekoff, University of Colorado; author of The Emotional Lives of Animals and Animals Matter

On every page of Building an Ark, you will hear the animals calling to you, and urging you to turn compassion into action for the animals. Whether you have been working for animal rights for over twenty years, or just starting on your path, this is the book you will want to read and re-read for information, resources, inspiration, and hope.
— Lorri Bauston, President of Animal Acres, L.A. Farmed Animal Sanctuary and Co-founder of Farm Sanctuary


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