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Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard to Think Straight About Animals
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Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard to Think Straight About Animals

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  1,668 ratings  ·  310 reviews
Combining the intellect of Malcolm Gladwell with the irreverent humor of Mary Roach and the paradigm-shifting analysis of Jared Diamond, a leading social scientist offers an unprecedented look inside our complex and often paradoxical relationships with animals.

Does living with a pet really make people happier and healthier? What can we learn from biomedical research with m...more
Hardcover, 326 pages
Published September 7th 2010 by Harper
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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dara
I'm torn between one star and two. I would have given it a two just because the author seems to be making steps similar to those of Michael Pollan--"humane" meat, eating less meat, etc. And although the author seems to be conflicted with his own choices, I feel that these steps could make a difference if enough people adopted them. Would I much rather the guy be vegan? Well, duh, but that's not the world we live in. If this book manages to convince someone to even CONSIDER the moral implications...more
Megan
At home, I have a bearded dragon, a cat, and a brand new leopard tortoise with a respiratory infection. (pictures at the end)

Before buying both the bearded dragon and the leopard tortoise, I did my research, as of course anyone should do before investing in a pet, particularly an exotic pet. So when Genbu (that's the tortoise) developed a runny nose after coming home, I knew from my research that he was probably a carrier of a type of bacteria leopard tortoises are particularly sensitive to and...more
Courtney Lindwall
Dec 26, 2010 Courtney Lindwall rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
I watched a video one time on Youtube of a soldier in Iraq throwing a puppy off of a cliff for fun. You could hear the puppy's cry get farther away as it plummeted lower and lower. You can probably still find this video if you search "soldier throws puppy off cliff." This video deeply affected me, and I do not really consider myself an "animal lover." I felt very strong hatred toward the men, very intense sadness for the puppy. How could someone do that? And yet...I eat meat.

In fact, I eat meat...more
Jim
Written by a psychologist & anthrozoologist, Herzog seems to hold to the middle of the road in most debates & gives a good account of both sides so far as I can tell. There's a lot more to how we think about animals than I would have thought & he comes at the issue from several different angles. He uses multiple studies & comparisons of their findings when he can. It's amazing how often so much diatribe is based on single studies & faulty science, though.

I'm listening to this...more
Jim
I listened to this a few weeks ago & gave it 5 stars as an audio book
(My review is here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...)
even though I don't think that was the best format for it. While it's not filled with facts & figures that require study, there were some I would have liked to have reviewed, not easy in audio format, so I bought the HB paper edition & am skimming through it. Definitely the better format!

Herzog lays the book out exceedingly well. Each chapter covers one ge...more
Marya
Interesting topic, colloquial writing, shoddy research. This book bravely takes on the question of how humans think about animals and why our thoughts are clouded with contradictions. Why do people oppose the torturing and killing of lab mice for scientific pursuits, but not the torturing and killing of mice they view as pests inside their homes? Why do people oppose cockfighting but not factory chicken farming which destroys chickens in arguably more inhumane ways in greater numbers? Why do peo...more
Shomeret
Although I liked this author's attempt to be fair to all perspectives, there were some questions that he chose not to explore.

Herzog points out that many dog lovers live with cats instead of dogs. In fact, he is one of them. But he never asks why this pattern has developed. Is it because cats make better apartment dwellers or are there other factors not related to urban living?

Also, in discussing the domestication of wolves (which is of particular interest to me), Herzog mentions a theory that w...more
Wendy
I picked up this book because I love animals and I couldn't find any fiction books about them that looked interesting that week. Also, I thought the cover was cool and the premise sounded interesting.

I did not expect to have my world-view challenged! I didn't know a lot of the research and things he points out (I literally shouted 'Oh my God, seriously?!' when he points out that research shows dolphin therapy does nothing. I thought it did something, although certainly nothing as extreme as the...more
Cortney
A few hours ago I wrote in my "About Me" that I probably wouldn't be writing any reviews. But I enjoyed this book so much that I had to write one...

Mostly I wanted to assuage any fears that this is a book about shaming you for eating animals, or trying to lay down black and and white rules of how one should interact "correctly" with animals. The purpose of the book is not to convince you of black or white truths when it comes to how we treat animals. The purpose is to explore the large expanses...more
Cheryl in CC NV
Nov 07, 2011 Cheryl in CC NV rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Dar
I was at the library, opened this to a random page, and found an aspect of statistics I never knew before.

p. 145 "When two bell curves overlap, even a small difference between the average scores of the groups will produce big differences at the extremes."

And his explanation of that makes sense to me. And I have friends who are totally illogical about which animals get which roles, succumbing to the cuteness of squirrels for example. And Temple Grandin recommended it. So, yeah, I checked it out....more
Haritha
I started reading this book in order to participate in the Read Smart book discussion series organized by NCSU Libraries and Wake County Public Libraries. I was so unimpressed by this book that I almost gave up on it. After a day or two, I was so traumatized by my not finishing a book that I started, that I went back to reading it.

This time, I was pleasantly surprised by how intelligent the book sounded. I think the author did a good job addressing the very confusing and somewhat hypocritical r...more
Becca Van Tassell
I agree with the basic premise of this book. Our attitudes about animals are logically inconsistent, and when people are extremely logically consistent, that leads to absurdity. Hypocrisy is inherent in the relationships between humans and animals, and complications are impossible to escape from.

However, this book only gets 2 stars because I don't think it was terribly well-written. It is anything but cohesive. There are hundreds of "mini-essays," each relating an anecdote, study, or philosophic...more
Emily
Feb 10, 2011 Emily rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
I expected to feel chastised by this book about "anthrozoology" and how humans think about animals. Instead, the book highlights how very muddled our thinking is--we're nearly all hypocrites in one way or another. For example, a survey about whether self-reported vegetarians had eaten any kind of flesh in the preceding three days had surprising results--lots had. Many of us see cockfighting as brutal; factory farming is probably worse, but you don't see states lining up to outlaw chicken fingers...more
Brian
Meh. This book has a good title, but it's misleading. Well, the part after the colon is misleading. Some more accurate titles for the book would be:

Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: It's Hard to Think Straight About Animals (omitted the "Why" because he doesn't really pretend to answer that.)

Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: It's Complicated (Yep)

Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat (Enough said. Oh, and the book would be blank to save on a lot of redundancy.)

The author has over...more
Penelope
I kind of want to give this book 3 stars, but when I try to think about what I learned from it...the title pretty much sums it up. If a book can't go beyond its 9-word title, that's a problem for me. Ultimately, Herzog's only certain conclusion seems to be that our relationship with other species is complicated. No kidding! I was hoping for more than that.

It seemed like there was a lot of emphasis on the "Some we love" aspect of the book. Lots of information about pets, including Herzog's specul...more
Linda Lombardi
The subtitle of this book should not be "Why it's so hard to think straight about animals," which leads you to expect some kind of answer to the question. "It's so hard to think straight about animals" is more like it.

For me, as someone who's written about animals myself and has a fair amount of familiarity with the research literature, this book was somewhat disappointing. There's not that much in this book that I didn't already know. The most interesting part was about cockfighting, which is b...more
Clark Hays
Cognitive dissonance: gloss over it or untangle the knot?

This is a fun, worthy read of a complex subject. The author doesn't seek to draw any "meaty" conclusions, but rather uses a deft hand and light approach to probe the way humans think of animals from a variety of angles. I found it the most intriguing when referencing studies that seem to shed light on the way our brains perceive sentient beings. I found it the clunkiest when the subject turned to vegetarianism. Characterizing self-identifi...more
Joanie
I loved this nonfiction look at our entrenched, loudly argued, and deeply inconsistent opinions involving human and non-human species. We all draw the line somewhere: Never eat a cow, a dog, a horse, a pig, a lobster, a bug. Kill all snakes, endangered or not. Poison rats. Stroke kittens. Experiment on a mouse but not a chimpanzee. Dote on the bottle-fed offspring of your milk cow until you put him (the bottle-fed offspring) on the dinner table. Protest the inhumanity of cock fighting over a chi...more
Lyndsey
I had to read this as part of a class assignment before going to view (for the second time) an art exhibit about human relationships with animals since well, practically the beginning.

I think anyone looking for hard, concrete opinions is going to be sorely disappointed. This is not a book for that. This is a book of observations; Herzog does include his opinions about things like

- Why do we love our animals so much?
- Do they love us unconditionally?
- Why are some animals pets in one country a...more
Jennifer
One thing I hate about some books like this – the ending. This book I found interesting, talking about why we eat some animals and not others and such. I did learn a lot (like people spend a ton of money to swim with dolphins and try to heal all kinds of things – those poor dolphins!) And the link between animal cruelty and serial killers is not really there (I always heard this one and the data doesn’t seem to support it. And a lot of people who are cruel to animals as kids are not serial kille...more
Kim
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah
There were several moments during this book when I thought, "WTF!?" but due to other obligations, I did not write them down and prepare a review.



1. I had forgotten all about the book until reading an article about the feral dog epidemic, when I remember that one of the more insane things in this book is when Herzog posits that if we keep spaying and neutering all our animals, someday (soon) there won't be any left so breeding dogs/pets is a good thing. He then cites the Netherlands, where spay/...more
Scot
A breezy overview of anthrozoology for the layman. Why do we feel differently about some animals than we do others? How and when and why do we anthropomorphize animal behavior? How do gender roles and other cultural markers affect out interactions with animals? What are the ethics of using animals in scientific experiments? Should we give up eating meat?

A lot of anecdotal evidence and personal reflection by Herzog, a psychologist, here. I particularly enjoyed the section that reflects on how and...more
Meg
I didn't find this a terribly compelling read. Herzog uses science to back up his arguments, but as he himself admits, he may disregard current scientific consensus if he doesn't agree. He uses mix of anecdotes dating from the 1970s to the present, science, and contemplations on ethical and social aspects of animal and human interactions to back up his claims. His conclusion (trust me, I'm not giving anything away) is that we can't "think straight" about animals, that being logical or emotionall...more
Andrea
A very easy to read, comprehensive study of our varying attitudes towards other species. Prepare to witness vegetarians who eat fish, cockfighters that claim they love their prized roosters, animal hoarders that are convinced they help their rescued pets, or lab workers torn between boiling a worm and a mouse alive. Human interaction with animals is complex, arbitrary, and morally confusing. Hal Herzog does a great job at exposing these inconsistencies without pushing his own judgment on his sub...more
Lauren
It was ok. I like some of the points the book made, but most of the time, it felt like there was no structure in the chapters and/or topics presented. It gets you to think about the way you view animals, and how most of us are hypocrites when it comes to animals. There were some other issues he didn't cover. He constantly harped on research animals, cock fighting, and animal rescue, but didn't delve much into agriculture and especially hunting. Sure he mentioned factory farming, but didn't go in...more
Katie Smith
Firstly, this book is not very well edited,which is rather frustrating. That being said, it was immensely interesting. As a "vegetarian" (really pescatarian, but I am truly not fond of that word) myself, I was intrigued to find out that I am not the only one out there that sometimes indulges in "flesh" and don't feel guilty about it. Also, I was intrigued by the way that people moralize their feelings towards animals.

I enjoyed this book because the author clearly enjoyed it too! He was interest...more
Alleah Boisvert
Herzog's humorous and friendly voice in this novel made it an easy and enjoyable read. I learned a lot from this book, and it did make some things about animal rights a little easier to understand. Herzog uses anecdotes and statistics to back up his opinions and plays the part of both sides. It didn't fully answer the question on the cover: "why it's so hard to think straight about animals", but who can really answer that? Herzog handled a tough and sensitive topic well by taking the sides of an...more
Cindy
With a conversationalist tone, the author examines the complex human-animal relationship. Not preachy, but straightforward in looking at how we perceive and treat animals.
Gretchen Alice
Really fascinating, although it never really seems to extend beyond a pop psychology review of anthrozoology. (Not that I don't think anthrozoology is a real field. It is, but the book is presented as merely the "fun facts" of the discipline.)

Here's the most interesting thing I learned. You know that campaign about not killing baby seals? The ones that are adorable and fuzzy and snow white? Baby seals only stay white and adorbs for about 14 days until their fur turns gray and mangy, so the legis...more
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Bookwormed Reviews: Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat - Hal Herzog 1 4 Feb 25, 2014 08:34AM  
  • The Inner World of Farm Animals: Their Amazing Intellectual, Emotional and Social Capacities
  • Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism: The Belief System That Enables Us to Eat Some Animals and Not Others
  • Second Nature: The Inner Lives of Animals
  • The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them
  • The Moral Lives of Animals
  • The Pig Who Sang to the Moon: The Emotional World of Farm Animals
  • The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy � and Why They Matter
  • Thanking the Monkey: Rethinking the Way We Treat Animals
  • Next of Kin
  • Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food
  • The Ten Trusts: What We Must Do to Care for The Animals We Love
  • Introduction to Animal Rights: Your Child or the Dog?
  • Empty Cages: Facing the Challenge of Animal Rights
  • In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave
  • Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy
  • Eternal Treblinka
  • Meat Market: Animals, Ethics, & Money
  • Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, And Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry
4322014
Hal Herzog has been investigating the complex psychology of our interactions with other species for more than two decades. He is particularly interested in how people negotiate real-world ethical dilemmas, and he has studied animal activists, cockfighters, animal researchers, and circus animal trainers. An award-winning teacher and researcher, he has written more than 100 articles and book chapter...more
More about Hal Herzog...

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“The inconsistencies that haunt our relationships with animals also result from the quirks of human cognition. We like to think of ourselves as the rational species. But research in cognitive psychology and behavioral economics shows that our thinking and behavior are often completely illogical. In one study, for example, groups of people were independently asked how much they would give to prevent waterfowl from being killed in polluted oil ponds. On average, the subjects said they would pay $80 to save 2,000 birds, $78 to save 20,000 birds, and $88 to save 200,000 birds. Sometimes animals act more logically than people do; a recent study found that when picking a new home, the decisions of ant colonies were more rational than those of human house-hunters.
What is it about human psychology that makes it so difficult for us to think consistently about animals? The paradoxes that plague our interactions with other species are due to the fact that much of our thinking is a mire of instinct, learning, language, culture, intuition, and our reliance on mental shortcuts.”
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“Psycholinguists argue about whether language reflects our perception of reality or helps create them. I am in the latter camp. Take the names we give the animals we eat. The Patagonian toothfish is a prehistoric-looking creature with teeth like needles and bulging yellowish eyes that lives in deep waters off the coast of South America. It did not catch on with sophisticated foodies until an enterprising Los Angeles importer renamed it the considerably more palatable "Chilean sea bass.” 8 likes
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