Emily'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
Feb 10, 11

really liked it
bookshelves: 2011
Read in February, 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. Why are mice the subjects of elaborate protocols during medical research, but if they escape and live in the walls of the lab, they're vermin?

Some of our feelings about animals seem to be innate (furry and big eyes = cute, snake = repulsive) while others are cultural and mutable. For example, pigeons used to be seen as falling in the "lovable but not useful" category in America (people used to raise them) but now are seen as "flying rats"--neither lovable nor useful. Pets are lovable but not useful and farm animals are not lovable, but useful.

The author doesn't try to steer your thinking in specific ways; instead, he explores the roots of our hypocrisy in human history and psychology. If you're looking for a passionate book about vegetarianism, this isn't it--it's a description of different ways humans think about animals rather than a prescription of how we should treat them. Great title, too.
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