By Dale Peterson with an afterward and photographs by Karl Ammann
University of California Press (May 2003)
Berkeley, California; ISBN0-520-23090-6
“Eating Apes” by Dale Peterson is well written in a comfortable style. This excellent and easy to read prose contrasts with the disturbing facts it presents of the ongoing genocides motivated by western civilization’s penchant for greed and power. When you consider that indigenous human peoples of Africa have shared the forests with our fellow apes for thousands of years without destroying each other it is easy to determine who is responsible for this disaster. Consider the fact that our western civilization has yet to come across a people (ape or otherwise) who have lived in harmony with nature who we have not destroyed. This book chronicles the latest such destruction with regard to chimpanzees, gorillas and the human forest foragers as well as the forest in which they live.
Peterson’s book with Karl Ammann’s afterward in the book creates a bold and brave j’accuse of the logging and conservation organizations who are spearheading this latest attack. The uplifting part of the book is Karl Ammann’s story of uncompromising ethics and an amazing dedication to bringing the bushmeat crisis to the world’s attention. The apes are indeed fortunate to have a person of Ammann’s character befriend them. Ammann’s photographs are haunting and make statements that an entire book could not begin to express.
In addition to Ammann’s story, there is the story of a former hunter, Joseph Melloh, which serves to give the hunters a face and humanity that can be understood and even forgiven. What cannot be understood or forgiven is the “Feel Good Conservation” pap provided by the logging companies and some of the conservation organizations to exploit this crisis for their own gains.
Whereas Peterson’ bravery and Ammann’s amazing dedication will make you feel proud to be a human, the actions of the conservation organizations selling out to the logging companies will make you ashamed and angry. You must read this book. And then you must follow the advice of Peterson and Amman as to what you can do to help stop it. Finally, you must act now, because there is very little time left for our kin in the forests.
-- Roger Fouts
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