Of all the books I read on the animal-rights front, this one seemed the least biased, carefully stating facts from both sides. The author presents a 150-year history of the conflicts between scientists using animals in biomedical research, and the activists seeking to protect animal rights, concerned for their welfare. There are detailed chapters showing personal stories from both sides. On the one hand, it is pointed out that many advancements in medical science would not have been possible without research and testing using animals. On the other hand, the cruel practices and suffering of animals is exposed- not only from activists trying to shut down labs and threatening violence to specific scientists, but also more subtly, people working from within the system to try and improve things yet keep the labs functional.
I don't think reading this book changed my mind any, but it certainly taught me a lot. It's a pretty compelling read, even if it does stray from time to time into philosophical asides- which I mostly glossed over. In the end, it appears that the author's stance (even though she tries to be neutral you can feel which side she leans towards through the writing) is that research is a necessary evil- we would not be where we are today without it, but things can and must be greatly improved.
Rating: 4/5 ....... 389 pages, 2000