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

Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat by Hal Herzog
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Oct 24, 10

Read from October 08 to 24, 2010

** spoiler alert ** Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard to Think Straight About Animals
By Hal Herzog

3 1/2 Stars

The title pretty much gives you all you need to know about the book. It is an indepth look at humans and their conflicting views on animals. I have to say that this is one of the most interesting books I've read recently. The author is a psychologist and is considered an expert on human-animal relations. He tells you straight up that he is "conflicted about our ethical obligations to animals". He admits that he eats meat, opposes the testing of oven cleaner on animals, but would sacrifice mice to find a cure for cancer. So he is clearly not pro one side or the other. His research is also conflicting, but gives the reader lots to think about and contemplate.

The book covers areas from pets and animal fights to research and which animals we choose to eat. These are some of the things I found to be interesting:

The cute factor:

People tend to like animals more, if they are cute. In fact, humans have gone so far as to start breeding cuter animals. Unfortunately, the animals are the ones that suffer our vanity. The snouts of Chinese pugs and French bulldogs have caused respiratory issues and their bulging eyes barely fit into their eye sockets. This breeding has also caused mental issues in pets, in which companies have taken advantage of. There are actually pet versions of Valium and Prozac.

Bizarre morals:

Hitler objected to killing animals for research. He was a vegetarian and found meat disgusting. Yet, he had no trouble killing other human beings.

Americans & their pets:

While most people consider their pets to be a part of their family, so people go to the extreme. Herzog titled this, "Turning pets into people". The amount of money spent on pets has skyrocketed in the last 10 years. The amount is more than movies, video games, and music combined. $17 billion for food, $12 billion for vets, $10 billion for supplies such as kitty litter, and $3 billion for things such as dog walkers, pet massages, and new age animal communicators. Extreme items have also become available, such as the $3000 Swarovski dress offered at a pet boutique.

Pets as a hazard to your health:

60% of the pathogens that humans are susceptible come from animals. Some of those include roundworm, ringworm, E.Coli, hookworm, and cat scratch fever. 85% of baby turtles carry salmonella, and there are 75,000 cases of infection from reptiles each year. Even therapy pets have been known to carry MRSA.

Chickens we eat Vs. Cockfighting:

In his research, Herzog actually found that, despite it's negativity, chickens involved in cockfighting are treated a whole lot better than those who end up on our dinner plates. The cockfighter is actually pampered during its life. They run free and even have their own bedroom to sleep in. The chickens we eat never see the sun, are top heavy, so they have to spend most of their time laying down, and often develop blisters and sores on their feet.

What we eat:

Culture is by far the most important factor when it comes to what animals we will eat and which ones we won't. What is considered disgusting in one culture is a delicacy in another. Take dog for example. Americans are disgusted by the idea of eating dog, yet the Aztecs developed a hairless dog specifically for eating. In Asia, nearly 16 million dogs are eaten every year.
People view animal flesh as disgusting, which is why we see meat packaged the way it is today. We see more packages of single parts than we do of the whole animal. **And I have to admit, that when I cook a whole chicken, the sight of it (especially where the neck bone comes out) grosses me out, while cutting up boneless chicken breasts doesn't.**

Research using animals:

Although many people oppose research using animals, there are many things we would be without without it. Some of these include vaccinations for polio and MMR. There would not be antibiotics, blood transfusion, open heart surgery, insulin, and medication for epilepsy, depression, hypertension, or ulcers. Pets wouldn't have rabies vaccinations, nor would there be treatments for heartworm or cancers. Testing on animals is one of the biggest controversies when it comes to animal rights. When he asked his students whether it would be better to test on animals or an infant that is blind, deaf, and incapable of experience pain, many students responded neither. They felt we should conduct our biomedical experiments on death row inmates.
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