Courtney Lindwall'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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's review
Dec 19, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: 2010, non-fiction
Recommended for: Everyone
Read from December 23 to 25, 2010 , read count: 1

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 every day. I love meat. There is nothing quite as satisfying as a still-bloody hunk of cow, seasoned and with a side of loaded mashed potatoes. And I sleep well every night. Not a single toss or turn for the likely thousands of animals that have been outright slaughtered for simply my mealtime pleasure. I am aware of this strange inconsistency. I do nothing to change it. And thus is the moral predicament, the seemingly bizarre relationship humans have with animals of the other species that both Hal Herzog, and now myself, are completely fascinated by.

Hal is an anthrozoologist. He studies, through various and rather crazy research adventures, how humans relate to animals. He's been to cock fights, animals rights marches, the homes of hoarders. This book was so incredibly interesting. I found myself laughing at my own irrationalaties when it comes to my views about animals. Cock fighting, for example. Evil, right? Debased men working through some sort of Freudian penis-envy debacle by putting their literal cocks in a ring and having them duke it out. Well, sort of. But not quite. Cock fighting is an intricate and perhaps not all that inhumane sport when you compare it to the lives of chickens raised for eating. I think anyone who just had some nice Tyson Chicken Snackers did much more of an immoral inservice to animal kind than a single cock fighter. Cocks raised for fighting get very special treatment for two years before theyre put in the ring. They get a very special diet, and loads of sunshine to help bring out their inner Muhammad Ali. Sure, in every race 50% of the contestants wind up thrown into a bin with the other losers. But, at the end of the day, two years of doting and thirty minutes of intense battle leading to death is still far better than the life a normal feeding chicken lives, cooped up in a ridiculous pen with a ridiculous number of other chickens, until within a very short period of time they're man-handled and taken somewhere that mechanically and quickly cuts their heads off and lets their bodies bleed out on an assembly line.

I guess my point is, the book makes you stop and think about why we deem some animal treatment as cruelty and other forms of animal treatment as the "way life is." Why do I love pandas and give a rat's ass about the fate of the Peruvian scorpion? Why are there 3 times as many women in animal rights activism than men? Why, oh why, do I have absolutely no response to the fact that millions of lab mice are euthanized before experimentation every year simply because they are surplus, and yet I had two quite dear pet mice as a child for many years?

It's a conundrum. And a really fascinating one. The book is incredibly well-researched, the voice is tongue-in-cheek, down to earth, and neutral. Hal isn't necessarily trying to convince you one way or the other. This is not the book of an activist. It's the book of a curious scientist, who, also, happens to be both a meat eater and animal lover.

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12/24 page 70
01/11 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Kirsty (new)

Kirsty I do have to ask though, was it just the species of the animal that worried you (the puppy)?

Would it not have been deeply upsetting if you'd seen an animal you happily eat, say, a pig or a sheep, be thrown off a cliff, crying? It certainly would have been for me.

I have yet to actually read this book so I'm not sure how the author tackles this, but I'd like to think that we can care equally about the well being of animals that we choose to eat as those that we choose to live with

message 2: by A (new)

A The first example you mention was a display of evil treatment towards an innocent creature, and it is unnecessary (so it would seem). Meat eating is utility (we don't want the animals to suffer or not know about it; the animal is simply a means to serve our need for food.

message 3: by Aaron (new)

Aaron Taylor Absolute b*ll*cks. There is no such thing as an animal lover that eats the flesh of murdered animals, it is such an obvious contradiction. It takes two seconds to search google and find the overwhelming amounts of research that shows it is possible, not to mention easy and healthy, to eat a plant-based diet containing no animal products. Meat eating is not 'utility', it is completely unnecessary, letting an innocent creature be tortured and murdered for your taste buds is the definition of selfishness.

message 4: by Benette (new)

Benette Troux We may not LIKE these things about ourselves, but it is a blatant hypocrisy. I ate meat for years and then one day in the middle of a burrito, I just got nauseated and quit. I didn't want to eat something I wasn't willing to kill myself. You know there are cannibal tribes that say human flesh is the most nourishing. Some of them only eat the flesh of the already dead. They are killing nothing, but we would label that barbaric. Let's at least be straight with ourselves. It's barbarian and brutal.

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