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Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animalsby Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson
Synopses & Reviews
The best-selling animal advocate Temple Grandin offers the most exciting exploration of how animals feel since The Hidden Life of Dogs.
In her groundbreaking and best-selling book Animals in Translation, Temple Grandin drew on her own experience with autism as well as her distinguished career as an animal scientist to deliver extraordinary insights into how animals think, act, and feel. Now she builds on those insights to show us how to give our animals the best and happiest life — on their terms, not ours.
It's usually easy to pinpoint the cause of physical pain in animals, but to know what is causing them emotional distress is much harder. Drawing on the latest research and her own work, Grandin identifies the core emotional needs of animals. Then she explains how to fulfill them for dogs and cats, horses, farm animals, and zoo animals. Whether it's how to make the healthiest environment for the dog you must leave alone most of the day, how to keep pigs from being bored, or how to know if the lion pacing in the zoo is miserable or just exercising, Grandin teaches us to challenge our assumptions about animal contentment and honor our bond with our fellow creatures.
Animals Make Us Human is the culmination of almost thirty years of research, experimentation, and experience. This is essential reading for anyone who's ever owned, cared for, or simply cared about an animal.
"Grandin (Animals in Translation), famed for her decades-long commitment to treating livestock as humanely as possible on its way to slaughter, considers how humans and animals can best interact. Working from the premise that 'an animal is a conscious being that has feelings,' the autistic author assesses dogs, cats, horses, cows, pigs, poultry, wildlife and zoo animals based on a 'core emotion system' she believes animals and humans share, including a need to seek; a sense of rage, fear, and panic; feelings of lust; an urge to nurture; and an ability to play. Among observations at odds with conventional wisdom: dogs need human parents, not alpha pack leaders, and cats respond to training. Discussions of why horses are skittish and why pigs are arguably the most intelligent of beasts — raccoons run them a close second — illuminate the intersection of people and more domesticated animals; chapters on cows and chickens focus more generally on animal welfare, particularly the horrific conditions in which they are usually raised and slaughtered. Packed with fascinating insights, unexpected observations and a wealth of how-to tips, Grandin's peppy work ably challenges assumptions about what makes animals happy." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"A well-written, down-to-earth look into the lives of lots of animals, including animals that make up part of our food chain." Rocky Mountian News
"Noted scholar Grandin...devotes equal space to domestic, commercial, and captive animals. For pet owners, her perspective is invaluable, but slaughterhouses aren't likely to change without an economic incentive to match Grandin's moral one. (Grade: A-)" Entertainment Weekly
With the groundbreaking Animals in Translation, Grandin drew on her own experience with autism as well as her distinguished career as an animal scientist to deliver extraordinary insights into how animals think. Now she builds on those insights to show how to give animals the best and happiest life.
Over 60 percent of Americans live with pets, and last year spending on pets crossed the 60 billion dollar line, ensuring these creatures of cohabit are well nurtured, groomed, entertained, and, ideally kept happy. Countless studies have shown the benefits of pet ownership for humans—decreased rates of depression, heart disease, and other ills. But what about the animals? Is pet ownership mutually beneficial to the dogs, cats, lizards, and turtles we bring into our homes and families? Run Spot Run leads readers on a mindful exploration of the ethics and experiences of pet ownership. In a series of short essays, Pierce asks readers to think about the animals, and ourselves. She offers philosophically informed discussions of the decisions we make—from whether to rescue a pet, to how to treat our companions illnesses, to how to best train and feed them. All pets are considered, from dogs to hermit crabs, and every current or future pet owner and animal lover will find points of relation and invaluable advice on living with animals companions.
A life shared with pets brings many emotions. We feel love for our companions, certainly, and happiness at the thought that we’re providing them with a safe, healthy life. But there’s another emotion, less often acknowledged, that can be nearly as powerful: guilt. When we see our cats gazing wistfully out the window, or watch a goldfish swim lazy circles in a bowl, we can’t help but wonder: are we doing the right thing, keeping these independent beings locked up, subject to our control? Is keeping pets actually good for the pets themselves?
That’s the question that animates Jessica Pierce’s powerful Run, Spot, Run. A lover of pets herself (including, over the years, dogs, cats, fish, rats, hermit crabs, and more), Pierce understands the joys that pets bring us. But she also refuses to deny the ambiguous ethics at the heart of the relationship, and through a mix of personal stories, philosophical reflections, and scientifically informed analyses of animal behavior and natural history, she puts pet-keeping to the test. Is it ethical to keep pets at all? Are some species more suited to the relationship than others? Are there species one should never attempt to own? And are there ways that we can improve our pets’ lives, so that we can be confident that we are giving them as much as they give us?
Deeply empathetic, yet rigorous and unflinching in her thinking, Pierce has written a book that is sure to help any pet owner, unsettling assumptions but also giving them the knowledge to build deeper, better relationships with the animals with whom they’ve chosen to share their lives.
About the Author
Temple Grandin earned her Ph.D. in animal science from the University of Illinois and went on to become an associate professor at Colorado State University. She is the author of four previous books, including the national bestsellers Thinking in Pictures and Animals in Translation. Grandin spearheaded reform of the quality of life and humaneness of death for the world's farm animals. Through her company, Grandin Livestock Systems, she works with the country's fast-food purveyors to monitor the conditions of animal facilities worldwide. She lectures widely on both animal science and autism.
Catherine Johnson, Ph.D., is a writer specializing in neuropsychiatry and the brain. She cowrote Animals in Translation and served as a trustee of the National Alliance for Autism Research for seven years. She lives with her husband and three sons — two of whom have autism — in New York.
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