Amelia Mulder's Reviews > Second Nature: The Inner Lives of Animals
Second Nature: The Inner Lives of Animals
** spoiler alert ** A most extraordinary book. Even though I've been vegan for quite a while, it's absolutely opened my eyes to stereotypes about animal intelligence and empathy that even I was still upholding, such as the inherent cruelty of nature, which Balcombe shows is not nearly as cut-throat as nature documentaries would lead us to believe. Animals actually have time to enjoy their lives, they have a purpose beyond feeding or entertaining us, and their lives are not just a constant battle for survival. Often their abilities, intelligence and senses go way beyond what we give them credit for, with human intelligence as the standard their worth is measured against. Balcombe shows that often we'd fall far short if our abilities and yes, even intelligence in reverse was measured against theirs.In the last chapter of his book, titled The New Humanity, Balcombe makes a case for veganism or at the very least, eating less meat, as he describes our growing meat habit, a consequence of growing human populations and their growing appetite for meat, as the “greatest direct threat we pose to the welfare of animals.” He goes on to demonstrate how what we eat has more environmental impact than how much we fly or drive, and how ill-prepared our planet is to feed meat to 7 billion humans.
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