This Ghastly Children's Book About Animals Isn't for Kids at All

Bracing stuff from PETA and The Community

This illustrated sound book isn't meant for kids. 

Created by PETA and ad agency The Community, "The Secret Lives of Animals" was designed for adults and captures the actual anguished cries and guttural groans of creatures suffering in one way or another at the hands of human beings.

"All the sounds are real," says Ricky Vior, group creative director at the Community. "They were recorded on industrial farms, aquariums, labs—undercover by PETA activists or just ordinary people."

We've come to expect that cows go "moo," sheep say "baa" and pigs go "oink oink oink." Such comforting sounds are nowhere to be heard in "The Secret Lives of Animals," which instead offers a cacophonous collection of bestial screams and moans that are upsetting in the extreme.

Of course, that's the point, as the book is intended to convey, in the starkest possible terms, the horrors some animals endure in modern dairy, food-processing and research settings—as well as throughout hunting season.

So, take a deep breath before sampling this digital version of the book. PETA is also selling hard copies for $17.49.

Along with disturbing audio, "The Secret Lives of Animals" includes tales of woe told in dark nursery-rhyme fashion. Some representative stanzas:

"This little piggy was killed
Now it's on your plate
73 million pigs
Await the same fate

Three blind mice, three blind mice
This is their vile sacrifice
The pain, stress and all the rest
That goes with a product test.

Bang bang bang, shoot shoot shoot,
I think I got a deer
Watch it falling down, so cute!
Watch it shed a tear."

See some of the pages here: 

"This book was made for parents who grew up in a world where a trip to the zoo to see caged animals was a welcome activity, where animals were hunted indiscriminately for sport, where fur coats were gladly inherited from grandmothers," says Vior. "We believe the only way we can change how our kids will treat animals in the future is by re-educating their parents now."

Viro agrees that some folks might judge the content too intense or manipulative, "but sometimes, the truth needs to be told, as gross as it is. What's shocking is not the book itself, but rather the reality of it. Hopefully, someday, someone will read this book and think, 'My goodness, how barbaric humans used to be.' Here's hoping."


Brand: PETA
Agency: The Community
Chief Creative Officers: Jose Molla and Joaquin Molla
VP, Executive Creative Director: Ricky Vior
Associate Creative Director: Rodri González
Associate Creative Director: Cora Pérez Fernández
Writer: Virginia Feito
Illustrator: Cristian Turdera
VP, Client Services: Marci Miller
VP, Head of Growth & Partnerships: Mike Ridley
New Business Development:  Sebastian Markman
Brand Coordinator: Maddie Fortna
VP, Integrated Production: Laurie Malaga
Producer: Julio Rangel
Print Producer: Bob Hannau
Studio Director: Thomas Bolger
Front End Developers: Carrie Monescalchi, Fernanda Quagliaro
Studio Artists: Robert Herzfeld, Massimo Leone
Editor: Timothy Downing
Post Production House: The Makers Lab
Senior Post Production Manager: Sharon Campos
Senior Audio Engineer: Jeaninne Guenther
Production Company: Kreative Kontent
Director: Fro Rojas
Executive Producer: Debbie Margolis Horwitz
Creative Operations Manager: Mariana Sokolowski
Creative Operations Manager: Irene Araque
Idea Manager: Nadia Bowen
Director of Business Affairs: Natalie Greenman
Senior Business Affairs Manager: Daphne Papadopulos
Printed By: ARD Printing Solutions & D&B Bookbinders, LLC

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