Suz's Reviews > Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals

Animals Make Us Human by Catherine  Johnson
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's review
Apr 01, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: audiobook, non-fiction, work
Read from April 01 to 08, 2011

The title of this book "Animals Make us Human" completely misrepresents the book. I was expecting something a little more philosophical, I guess with that kind of title. The subtitle - "Creating the Best Life for Animals" modifies it a bit, and if that were the title, alone, it would have been more representative of the book.

The other issue I had, was that the book was wildly inconsistent. Each part of the book was about a specific animal (Dogs, Cats, Horses, Cattle, Chickens). While the Dogs, Cats and Horses used case studies, behavioral studies, and ancestral behaviors to explain (and sometimes debunk) theories behind behaviors, the Cattle and Chicken chapters went into some of the horrors of slaughter houses and how Temple Grandin had worked in the industry to improve conditions and did not talk about behavior with nearly the depth that other chapters had.

While I think Temple Grandin is terrific, and I enjoyed huge swaths of the book, I just wish it had been edited to be a little more consistent - why talk about the horrors of chicken farming, but not puppy mills? Why focus on wolf behaviors and studies between wolves and dog behaviors but not discuss wild horse behavior vs domestic horses and different breeds? It wasn't a bad book, just a book in need of some editing for consistency's sake.

As for the author herself - she did a great job in each chapter, and I appreciate the viewpoint of a practical animal welfare proponent who wants to make the best lives for the animals under our care, and not a knee jerk, radical animal rights activist. Grandin is very even-keeled and thoughtful, with very sound evidence for her ideas and a genuine concern for the welfare of animals that is wonderful to read about.

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