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Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals

1 rating: 3.0
A book by Temple Grandin

Product Description  How can we give animals the best life--for them? What does an animal need to be happy

In her groundbreaking, best-selling bookAnimals in Translation, Temple Grandin drew on her own experience with autism as well as her … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: Temple Grandin
Genre: Outdoors & Nature, Science
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
1 review about Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best...

Living well with domestic animals

  • Feb 17, 2009
Rating:
+3
Grandin, an animal behaviorist known for her humane slaughterhouse designs and her outstanding books on autism (particularly her memoir "Thinking in Pictures") and relationships with animals ("Animals in Translation"), focuses on how we can give domestic animals the best life.

Most people will find the chapters on cats and dogs the most useful. Other chapters explore the emotional and physical worlds of horses, cows, pigs, poultry, wildlife and zoo animals and how each intersects with humans (not always a pretty picture). In each, Grandin engages the reader with illuminating behavioral studies and empathic interpretations.

She approaches her subject with a system. "The rule is simple: Don't stimulate RAGE, FEAR, and PANIC if you can help it, and do stimulate SEEKING and also PLAY."

Much of her advice is common sense but the science offers fascinating reinforcement and explanation. Purebred dogs, for instance, have lost a lot of the wolf's natural submissive behaviors -- designed to keep the peace -- and may no longer be able to recognize warning signs in other dogs.

She also calls the animal's natural social evolution into play. Dogs, she says, descend from families of wolves, not packs, and are looking for a parent, not an alpha. Horses' fear and flight responses are the basis of their survival in the wild and training them requires reassurance, not breaking.

She shows how to recognize emotional states in animals and gives advice on avoiding negative reactions. All animals are frightened by new things -- and all animals are attracted to new things. It all depends on how it's presented -- forcibly or voluntarily.

In conclusion Grandin observes that "many cattle have better lives than some of the pampered pets," citing separation anxiety in dogs who hate to be left alone for hours. In Grandin's view, if people paid attention to the emotional lives of the creatures that depend on them, all would have a better quality of life.

While particularly of interest to people with pets or farm animals, Grandin's take on animals always sparks reflection.

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