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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

3.80  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,326 Ratings  ·  390 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
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Hardcover, 326 pages
Published September 7th 2010 by Harper (first published 2010)
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dara
Mar 15, 2011 dara rated it did not like it
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
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Jim
Aug 05, 2014 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Courtney Lindwall
Dec 26, 2010 Courtney Lindwall rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: 2010, non-fiction
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
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Marya
Jan 10, 2011 Marya rated it it was ok
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
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
Sarah
Jan 31, 2012 Sarah rated it it was ok
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/
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Becca Van Tassell
Jun 13, 2011 Becca Van Tassell rated it it was ok
Shelves: animals
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
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Jim
Mar 13, 2014 Jim rated it it was amazing
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
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Shomeret
Apr 20, 2013 Shomeret rated it really liked it
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
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Brian
Oct 21, 2013 Brian rated it it was ok
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
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Heidi Wiechert
Mar 28, 2016 Heidi Wiechert rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club
Another one that I wouldn't have picked up without the encouragement of my book club. I knew most of the horrifying ways that people mistreat animals and this book doesn't offer any real solutions, so it was hugely depressing.

The author stated my position fairly well at the start of the book: "Like most people, I am conflicted about our ethical obligations to animals. The philosopher Strachan Donnelley calls this murky ethical territory "the troubled middle." Those of us in the troubled middle l
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Wendy
Nov 21, 2015 Wendy rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
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
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Cortney
Mar 05, 2011 Cortney rated it it was amazing
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
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Haritha
Feb 16, 2012 Haritha rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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
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Sofija
Dec 23, 2014 Sofija rated it it was amazing
Absolutely Amazing! So full of really good facts and stats and reality, yet there is no preaching or judgment or trying to persuade the reader to do anything but THINK about human-animal relationships, which it easily does. This book inspired me to revisit the desire to spend some time volunteering with animals (and gives great ideas of where to do so), to really think ethically and morally about my meat consumption even if I never become a vegetarian (which at the moment I don't plan to), and t ...more
Renee M
Aug 21, 2015 Renee M rated it really liked it
Interesting, accessible discussion of our thoughts/relationships with animals. Herzog presents many sides and many scenarios, giving the reader the opportunity to appreciate a variety of viewpoints, and to, perhaps, reexamine his/her own thoughts on creatures of the earth and how we engage with them.
Emily
Feb 10, 2011 Emily rated it really liked it
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
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
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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
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Clark Hays
Nov 15, 2011 Clark Hays rated it liked it
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
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Joanie
Apr 07, 2012 Joanie rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 07, 2014 Lyndsey rated it it was amazing
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
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MayberryAfterMidnight
The frequent jabs at vegetarians/vegans were a little tiresome. (The author especially seemed to like to cite statistics on failed vegetarians and the number of vegetarians who actually eat meat - he brought that up a few times.) The snide and callous comments about cats compared to dogs were weird. But the real problem is that the author doesn't seem to try to answer the very question his subtitle proposes. Granted, there are some interesting facts and anecdotes (although I want to know who his ...more
Badseedgirl
Oct 08, 2015 Badseedgirl rated it liked it
I grew up in a hunting and fishing family. I always had pets growing up and I love a delicious steak. My parents raised their own beef cow for a few years and we always named the cow the same thing “Kenmore” or sometimes just “Freezer.” I used to own and plan to again own chickens for eggs and meat. I currently own a dog I would run into a burning building to save and who I buy a Christmas stocking for every year. I spend more a year on my dog’s medicine than I do my own. So Some We Love, Some W ...more
Nem
Feb 11, 2016 Nem rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It covers many aspects of the human relationship with animals and just goes to show how convoluted and ass-backwards the vast majority of human logic really is. This isn't a book aimed at vegans, nor is it a book promoting vegetarianism or animal activism. It's a study of the way humans struggle with the tangle of morals and emotions that we have towards the animals around us, be they our pets or our food. Interestingly, for me it also highlights how we are animals ou ...more
Jennifer
Oct 12, 2011 Jennifer rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011
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.
Scot
Dec 19, 2011 Scot rated it liked it
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
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Meg
Mar 27, 2012 Meg rated it it was ok
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
Sheelie Kittee
Aug 19, 2016 Sheelie Kittee rated it it was amazing
By far this was one of the best reads for me, personally at least. I am very passionate about animals, animal rights and simply learning more - I am never one to try and proselytize anyone to do anything.

Further I have realized, one could argue that vegetarians are JUST as inhumane for example, Jain Indians believe all plants have life souls and when we eat many vegetables, we inevitably kill the animals. Even eating plants or a raw food diet, lives do become sacrificed. Be it a bee, ant, or bir
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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.” 10 likes
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