Synopses & Reviews
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.
"How rational are we in our relationship with animals? A puppy, after all, is 'a family member in Kansas, a pariah in Kenya, and lunch in Korea'. An animal behaviorist turned one of the world's foremost authorities on human-animal relations, Herzog shows us, in this readable study, how whimsical our attitudes can be. Why do we like some animals but not others? One answer seems to be that babylike features like big eyes bring out our parental and protective urges. (PETA has started a campaign against fishing called 'Save the Sea Kittens).' Research has shown that the human brain is wired to think about animals and inanimate objects differently, and Herzog reveals how we can look at the exact same animal very differently given its context--most Americans regard cockfighting as cruel but think nothing of eating chicken, when in reality gamecocks are treated very well when they are not fighting, and most poultry headed for the table lead short, miserable lives and are killed quite painfully. An intelligent and amusing book that invites us to think deeply about how we define--and where we limit--our empathy for animals. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
“Hal Herzog deftly blends anecdote with scientific research to show how almost any moral or ethical position regarding our relationship with animals can lead to absurd consequences. In an utterly appealing narrative, he reveals the quirky…ways we humans try to make sense of these absurdities.” Irene M. Pepperberg, author of Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Uncovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process
“Everybody who is interested in the ethics of our relationship between humans and animals should read this book.” Temple Grandin, author of Animals Make Us Human
“One of a kind. I dont know when Ive read anything more comprehensive about our highly involved, highly contradictory relationships with animals, relationships which we mindlessly, placidly continue no matter how irrational they may be….This page-turning book is quite somethingyou wont forget it any time soon.” Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Hidden Life of Deer: Lessons from the Natural World
“A fascinating, thoughtful, and thoroughly enjoyable exploration of a major dimension of human experience.” Steven Pinker, Harvard College Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of How the Mind Works and The Stuff of Thought
“This is a wonderful bookwildly readable, funny, scientifically sound, and with surprising moments of deep, challenging thoughts. I loved it.” Robert M. Sapolsky, Neuroscientist, Stanford University, and author of Monkeyluv and A Primate's Memoir
“Hal Herzog does for our relationships with animals what Michael Pollans Omnivores Dilemma did for our relationships with food….The book is a joy to read, and no matter what your beliefs are now, it will change how you think.” Sam Gosling, Professor of Psychology, University of Texas, Austin, author of Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You
“Wonderful. . . . An engagingly written book that only seems to be about animals. Herzogs deepest questions are about men, women and children.” Karen Sandstrom, Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat is both educational and enjoyable, a page-turner that I dare say puts Herzog in the same class as Malcolm Gladwell and Michael Lewis. Read this book. Youll learn some, youll laugh some, youll love some.” BookPage
“A fun read. . . . What buoys this book is Herzogs voice. Hes an assured, knowledgeable and friendly guide.” Associated Press
“An instant classic….Written so accessibly and personally, while simultaneously satisfying the scholar in all of us.” Arnold Arluke, Anthrozoös
A leading scientist offers an unprecedented look inside humans' complex and often paradoxical relationships with animals.
Combining the intellect of Malcolm Gladwell with the irreverent humor of Mary Roach and the paradigm-shifting analysis of Jared Diamond, a leading social scientist offers an unprecedented look inside our complex and often paradoxical relationships with animals.
Does living with a pet really make people happier and healthier? What can we learn from biomedical research with mice? Who enjoyed a better quality of life—the chicken on a dinner plate or the rooster who died in a Saturday-night cockfight? Why is it wrong to eat the family dog? Drawing on more than two decades of research in the emerging field of anthrozoology, the science of human-animal relations, Hal Herzog offers surprising answers to these and other questions related to the moral conundrums we face day in and day out regarding the creatures with whom we share our world.
Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat is a highly entertaining and illuminating journey through the full spectrum of human-animal relations, based on Dr. Herzogs groundbreaking research on animal rights activists, cockfighters, professional dog-show handlers, veterinary students, and biomedical researchers. Blending anthropology, behavioral economics, evolutionary psychology, and philosophy, Herzog carefully crafts a seamless narrative enriched with real-life anecdotes, scientific research, and his own sense of moral ambivalence.
Alternately poignant, challenging, and laugh-out-loud funny, this enlightening and provocative book will forever change the way we look at our relationships with other creatures and, ultimately, how we see ourselves.
“Everybody who is interested in the ethics of our relationship between humans and animals should read this book.”
—Temple Grandin, author of Animals Make Us Human
Hal Herzog, a maverick scientist and leader in the field of anthrozoology offers a controversial, thought-provoking, and unprecedented exploration of the psychology behind the inconsistent and often paradoxical ways we think, feel, and behave towards animals. A cross between Michael Pollans The Omnivores Dilemma and Bill Brysons A Walk in the Woods, Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat, in the words of Irene M. Pepperberg, bestselling author of Alex & Me, “deftly blends anecdote with scientific research to show how almost any moral or ethical position regarding our relationship with animals can lead to absurd consequences.”
Of the worldandrsquo;s dogs, only 1 out of every 4 and#160;could be considered pets, provided with food, shelter, breeding, grassy parks, doggie spas and day care.and#160; But millions of dogs roam the planet.and#160; These are village dogs, or neighborhood dogsandmdash;those that live in Masai villages, the streets of Calcutta, or that inhabit the Mexico City Dump.and#160; They are unrestrained, they are not owned, and, most importantly, humans exert no control over their reproductionandmdash;these are dogs, not pets.and#160; Like other wild species, these dogs have evolved to particular niches, often in the vicinity of humans, as they are highly adapted scavengers.and#160; And their adaptation is behavioral and morphologicalandmdash;the dogs themselves tend to look alike.and#160; Measurements of temple dogs in Thailand are strikingly similar to mountain dogs of Ethiopia, to the urban dogs of Nassaue and Mexico City.
We read rarely of these dogs, but their story is one of incredible natural selection.and#160; And they provide a fascinating means of exploring what it actually meansandmdash;genetically and behaviorallyandmdash;to be a dog. Raymond and Lorna Coppinger have studied these dogs for nearly four decades, and building upon their Dogs, which we published in paperback, they here present the first general interest book on these dogs.and#160; The book runs counter to the many books now available about companion dogsandmdash;and particular breeds.and#160; Many a bulldog or greyhound afficianado may be disappointed to learn how little their beloveds actually resemble dogs.and#160;
The dogs the Coppingers introduce here are hardly our best friendandmdash;they are responsible for the 70,000 human deaths from rabid bites each year. They also are the worldandrsquo;s second largest public health problemandmdash;sexually transmitted diseases being the first.and#160; What is a Dog? explores the natural history of these dogs.and#160; What resources (food, water, shelter) are available to them? How are those resources shared or competed for? How does an animal convert food into energy without being eaten itself? How does the physical environment, the andldquo;ecological landscape,andrdquo; shape behavior?and#160; Readersandmdash;dog lovers and those curious about animal origins in generalandmdash;will walk unleashed into a new appreciation for just what it means to be a dog.
Of the worldandrsquo;s dogs, less than two and#160;hundred million are pets, living with humans who provide food, shelter, squeaky toys, and fashionable sweaters. But roaming the planet are five times as many dogs who are their own mastersandmdash;neighborhood dogs, dump dogs, mountain dogs. They are dogs, not companions, and these dogs, like pigeons or squirrels, are highly adapted scavengers who have evolved to fit particular niches in the vicinity of humans. In What Is a Dog
? experts on dog behavior Raymond and Lorna Coppinger, present an eye-opening analysis of the evolution and adaptations of these unleashed dogs and what they can reveal about the species as a whole.
Exploring the natural history of these creatures, the Coppingers explain how the village dogs of Vietnam, India, Africa, and Mexico are strikingly similar. These feral dogs, argue the Coppingers, are in fact the real representative dogs, nearly uniform in size and shape and incredibly self-sufficient. Drawing on nearly five decades of research, they show how dogs actually domesticated themselves in order to become such sufficient scavengers of human refuse. The Coppingers also examine the behavioral characteristics that enable dogs to live successfully and to reproduce, unconstrained by humans, in environments that we ordinarily do not think of as dog- friendly.
Providing a fascinating exploration of what it actually meansandmdash;genetically and behaviorallyandmdash;to be a dog, What Is a Dog? will undoubtedly change the way any beagle or bulldog owner will reflect on their four-legged friend.
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.
About the Author
Hal Herzog is recognized as one of the worlds leading experts on humananimal relations. His research has been published in prestigious academic journals, including Science, the Proceedings of the Royal Society, American Psychologist, the American Scholar, Journal of Social Issues, and the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. His work has also been featured in Newsweek, USA Today, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, Scientific American, New Scientist, Science Daily, the London Times, and on Slate, CNN, National Public Radios Morning Edition, and MSNBC. He is a professor of psychology at Western Carolina University and lives in the Great Smoky Mountains with his wife and their cat, Tilly.