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

Animals Make Us Human by Temple Grandin
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Jan 13, 12

bookshelves: non-fiction

The big thing with Grandin's books (NF) is that she's autistic, and also a specialist in humane treatment of "food animals": cows, chicken, pigs. She was particularly famous because she headed up the McDonald's audit of feed lots and slaughter houses. Apparently her autism gives her a unique perspective on this--and her prior book, Animals in Translation, was very interesting. It talked about how small changes in the animal's environment meant both cost savings for the companies involved in managing these farms/slaughterhouses and also made the treatment of the animals more humane. Well, as humane as any slaughterhouse could be. I would recommend Animals in Translation and I have a keeper copy at home, which means I must have really liked it.

This is the boring version of that book. The disappointing thing was that there is a picture of a dog on the cover but the chapter on dogs is very short and not very helpful. The biggest problem with the book for me, though, was that she never actually addresses how animals make us human. This is really a book about the things that drive animals and each chapter deals with a different animal. But god, is it boring! I gave up during the chapter on poultry.

The one thing I did take from this book was that animals see very differently than we do. Grandin talks about how certain things that look innocuous and obvious to us can look very different to animals. This was useful to me because my oldest dog Sullivan is rapidly losing his sight. In the last few months he's become very fearful of the entry way to our house. I had always figured that it was because the baby gate often sat near the door (we use the baby gate to block the kitchen off from the entry way while we are at work--the dogs stay in the kitchen during the day. Don't worry, it's a big kitchen and they're tiny dogs.). I moved the baby gate, he was still freaked, and the other day I realized that it might be the console table that is actually setting him off. I wouldn't have thought about that before reading this book. So we're going to move the table this weekend and see what happens.

Anyway, if you really want to read this, read the Dog/Cat chapters and the Horse chapter, and then skip everything else.
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