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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard to Think Straight About Animals » User review

"My philosophy is that everything is more complicated than you thought."

  • Jan 12, 2011
Rating:
+4

I'm an animal-lover. I have a cat, a dog, and a a fish that has lived abnormally long. I feed birds and hummingbirds in my back yard. I love spiders and will usually make sure they get put outside rather than killed. However, I don't spare ants that crawl on my counters. I eat meat, and believe that my cat doesn't need to be allowed outdoors. Where does that leave me? Apparently, in good company.

Hal Herzog became fascinated with the way people create their own belief systems when it comes to animals. He wondered how people justify keeping certain animals as pets, viewing others as pests, and keeping a small list primarily for eating purposes. Why is animal research on primates so hated (enough to get your car bombed), and yet research on mice is rarely ever mentioned by those same animal-rights activists (even though the numbers are significantly higher)? How can those activists use the same tactics as terrorists, and yet feel they are morally superior? Why is it OK to raise roosters for fighting - and are those roosters better off than those raised in factory-farming?

Herzog covers a lot of ground, but does it effortlessly. There is a flow to the narrative, and it is helped along tremendously by interviews with people on every possible part of the spectrum. The book is an entertaining read, and while it probably will not convince anyone to change their personal views, it will certainly demonstrate that those views are as varied as the animals we co-exist with.

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About the reviewer
Beth C. ()
Ranked #277
I'm a SAHM of two, a board member of my son's charter school, and an avid reader. I am also an Amazon Vine member and the wife of a retired Coastie.
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How rational are we in our relationship with animals? A puppy, after all, is "a family member in Kansas, a pariah in Kenya, and lunch in Korea". An animal behaviorist turned one of the world's foremost authorities on human-animal relations, Herzog shows us, in this readable study, how whimsical our attitudes can be. Why do we like some animals but not others? One answer seems to be that babylike features like big eyes bring out our parental and protective urges. (PETA has started a campaign against fishing called "Save the Sea Kittens)." Research has shown that the human brain is wired to think about animals and inanimate objects differently, and Herzog reveals how we can look at the exact same animal very differently given its context--most Americans regard cockfighting as cruel but think nothing of eating chicken, when in reality gamecocks are treated very well when they are not fighting, and most poultry headed for the table lead short, miserable lives and are killed quite painfully. An intelligent and amusing book that invites us to think deeply about how we define--and where we limit--our empathy for animals.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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ISBN-10: 0061730866
ISBN-13: 978-0061730863
Author: Hal Herzog
Genre: Outdoors & Nature
Publisher: Harper
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