The Lines We Draw – A Book Review


A few days ago I was invited to read a book, The Lines We Draw by Sangamithra Iyer. At the exact moment that I was reading the invitation, I was actually listening to a vegan podcast, Our Hen House, who was interviewing the author. I decided that it was clearly fate.Also, if you haven’t discovered Our Hen House yet, go listen to Mariann and Jasmin. They are seriously funny, explore fantastic subjects, and always bring on terrific guests. I know you’ll love their vegan banter as much as I do!

The Lines We Draw – A Book Review

The Lines We Draw is a short ebook that was published on January 19th, 2014 about the author’s interview with a retired scientist who performed research on chimpanzees, Dr. Alfred Prince. It’s a story that explores the ideas about why and how we could justify what we do to animals that are so closely related to us humans and the devastating effects we create in the wake.

It’s a short book, only taking about 30-60 minutes to read. What I learned with regards to research performed on chimps, was surprising less poignant as my ongoing and pervading thoughts on why and how humans can justify these horrendous injustices carried out on all animals, including chimps. This book will stick with you. It will make you think. And it’s important to note that this is done largely without graphic detail of the monstrous acts. I, myself, just can’t bare to read or view such sadness. I rarely have it in me. I’m in awe of the undercover activists and applaud all the work they’re able to do. I don’t know how they do it. 

Prince’s relationship with the chimps is explored and it’s an interesting one, indeed. Iyer doesn’t lend an overwhelming opinion in the book, but allows you to form your own beliefs with the facts and story provided. It’s a very thought-provoking book and one that demands a spare half hour. 

The book description from Amazon:

“This is a story about boundaries – physical, biological, ethical. It evolved from a conversation with the late Dr. Alfred Prince, a hepatitis researcher, about the use of chimpanzees in medical research and expanded into a larger discussion about ethics. Prince left New York University’s Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates (LEMSIP) in the 1970s to establish New York Blood Center’s chimpanzee research colony in Liberia. The story weaves various threads and makes connections between logging, the Liberian Civil War, and vivisection. Chimpanzees are slowly being phased out of research in the United States, and the New York Blood Center has ceased testing in Liberia, but questions remain about the fate of laboratory chimpanzees.”

The Lines We Draw is available for download at and Barnes and Noble.

Take action now: You can help! Sign this petition to release the Rockville 15 to a chimpanzee sanctuary!

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