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Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard to Think Straight About Animals
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Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard to Think Straight About Animals

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  2,865 ratings  ·  459 reviews
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 m
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Hardcover, 326 pages
Published September 7th 2010 by Harper (first published 2010)
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Celest It mostly discusses ethical treatment of animals, weighing out the different ways that humans utilize animals for food, research, companionship, etc.…moreIt mostly discusses ethical treatment of animals, weighing out the different ways that humans utilize animals for food, research, companionship, etc. It looks at scientific perspective, cultural perspective, and moral perspective. There is some discussion of vegan lifestyle, but that is only a small part.(less)

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dara
Dec 25, 2010 rated it did not like it
I'm torn between one star and two. I would have given it a two just because the author seems to be making steps similar to those of Michael Pollan--"humane" meat, eating less meat, etc. And although the author seems to be conflicted with his own choices, I feel that these steps could make a difference if enough people adopted them. Would I much rather the guy be vegan? Well, duh, but that's not the world we live in. If this book manages to convince someone to even CONSIDER the moral implications ...more
Megan
At home, I have a bearded dragon, a cat, and a brand new leopard tortoise with a respiratory infection. (pictures at the end)

Before buying both the bearded dragon and the leopard tortoise, I did my research, as of course anyone should do before investing in a pet, particularly an exotic pet. So when Genbu (that's the tortoise) developed a runny nose after coming home, I knew from my research that he was probably a carrier of a type of bacteria leopard tortoises are particularly sensitive to and
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Jim
Feb 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Written by a psychologist & anthrozoologist, Herzog seems to hold to the middle of the road in most debates & gives a good account of both sides so far as I can tell. There's a lot more to how we think about animals than I would have thought & he comes at the issue from several different angles. He uses multiple studies & comparisons of their findings when he can. It's amazing how often so much diatribe is based on single studies & faulty science, though.

(Update: Here's a goo
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Courtney Lindwall
Dec 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: 2010, non-fiction
I watched a video one time on Youtube of a soldier in Iraq throwing a puppy off of a cliff for fun. You could hear the puppy's cry get farther away as it plummeted lower and lower. You can probably still find this video if you search "soldier throws puppy off cliff." This video deeply affected me, and I do not really consider myself an "animal lover." I felt very strong hatred toward the men, very intense sadness for the puppy. How could someone do that? And yet...I eat meat.

In fact, I eat meat
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Jim
Mar 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I listened to this a few weeks ago & gave it 5 stars as an audio book
(My review is here: http://maison34.fr/review/show...)
even though I don't think that was the best format for it. While it's not filled with facts & figures that require study, there were some I would have liked to have reviewed, not easy in audio format, so I bought the HB paper edition & am skimming through it. Definitely the better format!

(Update: Here's a good interview with Herzog that covers some of what
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Marya
Jan 10, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
Interesting topic, colloquial writing, shoddy research. This book bravely takes on the question of how humans think about animals and why our thoughts are clouded with contradictions. Why do people oppose the torturing and killing of lab mice for scientific pursuits, but not the torturing and killing of mice they view as pests inside their homes? Why do people oppose cockfighting but not factory chicken farming which destroys chickens in arguably more inhumane ways in greater numbers? Why do peo ...more
Becca Van Tassell
Jun 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: animals
I agree with the basic premise of this book. Our attitudes about animals are logically inconsistent, and when people are extremely logically consistent, that leads to absurdity. Hypocrisy is inherent in the relationships between humans and animals, and complications are impossible to escape from.

However, this book only gets 2 stars because I don't think it was terribly well-written. It is anything but cohesive. There are hundreds of "mini-essays," each relating an anecdote, study, or philosophic
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Sarah
Aug 25, 2011 rated it it was ok
There were several moments during this book when I thought, "WTF!?" but due to other obligations, I did not write them down and prepare a review.



1. I had forgotten all about the book until reading an article about the feral dog epidemic, when I remember that one of the more insane things in this book is when Herzog posits that if we keep spaying and neutering all our animals, someday (soon) there won't be any left so breeding dogs/pets is a good thing. He then cites the Netherlands, where spay/
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Heidi The Hippie Reader
Mar 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club
Another one that I wouldn't have picked up without the encouragement of my book club. I knew most of the horrifying ways that people mistreat animals and this book doesn't offer any real solutions, so it was hugely depressing.

The author stated my position fairly well at the start of the book: "Like most people, I am conflicted about our ethical obligations to animals. The philosopher Strachan Donnelley calls this murky ethical territory "the troubled middle." Those of us in the troubled middle l
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Brian
Dec 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
Meh. This book has a good title, but it's misleading. Well, the part after the colon is misleading. Some more accurate titles for the book would be:

Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: It's Hard to Think Straight About Animals (omitted the "Why" because he doesn't really pretend to answer that.)

Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: It's Complicated (Yep)

Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat (Enough said. Oh, and the book would be blank to save on a lot of redundancy.)

The author has over
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Shomeret
Jun 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Although I liked this author's attempt to be fair to all perspectives, there were some questions that he chose not to explore.

Herzog points out that many dog lovers live with cats instead of dogs. In fact, he is one of them. But he never asks why this pattern has developed. Is it because cats make better apartment dwellers or are there other factors not related to urban living?

Also, in discussing the domestication of wolves (which is of particular interest to me), Herzog mentions a theory that w
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Penelope
I kind of want to give this book 3 stars, but when I try to think about what I learned from it...the title pretty much sums it up. If a book can't go beyond its 9-word title, that's a problem for me. Ultimately, Herzog's only certain conclusion seems to be that our relationship with other species is complicated. No kidding! I was hoping for more than that.

It seemed like there was a lot of emphasis on the "Some we love" aspect of the book. Lots of information about pets, including Herzog's specul
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Wendy
Oct 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, hardcover
I picked up this book because I love animals and I couldn't find any fiction books about them that looked interesting that week. Also, I thought the cover was cool and the premise sounded interesting.

I did not expect to have my world-view challenged! I didn't know a lot of the research and things he points out (I literally shouted 'Oh my God, seriously?!' when he points out that research shows dolphin therapy does nothing. I thought it did something, although certainly nothing as extreme as the
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Cortney
Mar 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A few hours ago I wrote in my "About Me" that I probably wouldn't be writing any reviews. But I enjoyed this book so much that I had to write one...

Mostly I wanted to assuage any fears that this is a book about shaming you for eating animals, or trying to lay down black and and white rules of how one should interact "correctly" with animals. The purpose of the book is not to convince you of black or white truths when it comes to how we treat animals. The purpose is to explore the large expanses
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Haritha
Feb 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I started reading this book in order to participate in the Read Smart book discussion series organized by NCSU Libraries and Wake County Public Libraries. I was so unimpressed by this book that I almost gave up on it. After a day or two, I was so traumatized by my not finishing a book that I started, that I went back to reading it.

This time, I was pleasantly surprised by how intelligent the book sounded. I think the author did a good job addressing the very confusing and somewhat hypocritical r
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Renee M
May 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Interesting, accessible discussion of our thoughts/relationships with animals. Herzog presents many sides and many scenarios, giving the reader the opportunity to appreciate a variety of viewpoints, and to, perhaps, reexamine his/her own thoughts on creatures of the earth and how we engage with them.
Linda Lombardi
The subtitle of this book should not be "Why it's so hard to think straight about animals," which leads you to expect some kind of answer to the question. "It's so hard to think straight about animals" is more like it.

For me, as someone who's written about animals myself and has a fair amount of familiarity with the research literature, this book was somewhat disappointing. There's not that much in this book that I didn't already know. The most interesting part was about cockfighting, which is b
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Joanie
Apr 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved this nonfiction look at our entrenched, loudly argued, and deeply inconsistent opinions involving human and non-human species. We all draw the line somewhere: Never eat a cow, a dog, a horse, a pig, a lobster, a bug. Kill all snakes, endangered or not. Poison rats. Stroke kittens. Experiment on a mouse but not a chimpanzee. Dote on the bottle-fed offspring of your milk cow until you put him (the bottle-fed offspring) on the dinner table. Protest the inhumanity of cock fighting over a chi ...more
Emily
Feb 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
I expected to feel chastised by this book about "anthrozoology" and how humans think about animals. Instead, the book highlights how very muddled our thinking is--we're nearly all hypocrites in one way or another. For example, a survey about whether self-reported vegetarians had eaten any kind of flesh in the preceding three days had surprising results--lots had. Many of us see cockfighting as brutal; factory farming is probably worse, but you don't see states lining up to outlaw chicken fingers ...more
Clark Hays
Nov 15, 2011 rated it liked it
Cognitive dissonance: gloss over it or untangle the knot?

This is a fun, worthy read of a complex subject. The author doesn't seek to draw any "meaty" conclusions, but rather uses a deft hand and light approach to probe the way humans think of animals from a variety of angles. I found it the most intriguing when referencing studies that seem to shed light on the way our brains perceive sentient beings. I found it the clunkiest when the subject turned to vegetarianism. Characterizing self-identifi
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Sofija
Dec 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely Amazing! So full of really good facts and stats and reality, yet there is no preaching or judgment or trying to persuade the reader to do anything but THINK about human-animal relationships, which it easily does. This book inspired me to revisit the desire to spend some time volunteering with animals (and gives great ideas of where to do so), to really think ethically and morally about my meat consumption even if I never become a vegetarian (which at the moment I don't plan to), and t ...more
Sarah
Oct 29, 2016 rated it did not like it
A book presenting as pro-animal rights but which is, in reality, a book justifying and providing yet more "reasons" for meat eaters to continue to eat dead things. His answer to eating meat and using animals for research is basically "it's really hard to think straight about these things". This then diminishes all of his guilt. The author is clearly heavily conflicted on his views around animals and cannot do the simple thing of going vegan. So therefore he wrote an entire book on it to try and ...more
Christopher
This is a huge collection of moral dilemmas inherent in the human-animal relationship. I've struggled a lot in the past few years with my food choices. It's almost impossible now to avoid the knowledge that our modern meat production system is morally reprehensible. Animals are terribly mistreated for their short lives, then they're killed, and more likely than not, their bodies are thrown into waste piles rather than used for nourishment. I thought that I had arrived at a satisfying moral concl ...more
Hiep Nguyen
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Psychological paradox of human beings in animal treatment, strongly driven by social norms, cultural behaviors & personal/religious belief (e.g. consume dozen tons of millions of chicken while condemn chicken fight as a crime that costs only thousands of chicken lives yearly). More unjustified dilemma of morality in animal treatment (killing millions mice for a temporary cure while spend millions for saving a useless dolphin). A new view over mankind attitude towards animal treatment, withou ...more
Rebecca Schwarz
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio_unabridged
An excellent investigation into the many varied ways that we treat animals and how we justify that range of treatment. The section where he compares the cruelty of cock fighting to the cruelty involved in factory farming millions upon millions of birds for our vast appetite for McNuggets is great, but there are many other thoughtful examples that bring psychology and philosophy to bear on this vast and difficult problem.
~*Kim*~
Oct 08, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Valerie
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I can and should read this again and again. Herzog seems to nail why today's animal rights and issues is beyond complicated.
Jennifer
Oct 10, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011
One thing I hate about some books like this – the ending. This book I found interesting, talking about why we eat some animals and not others and such. I did learn a lot (like people spend a ton of money to swim with dolphins and try to heal all kinds of things – those poor dolphins!) And the link between animal cruelty and serial killers is not really there (I always heard this one and the data doesn’t seem to support it. And a lot of people who are cruel to animals as kids are not serial kille ...more
Sorrell Akona Jade
May 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I didn't agree with the author on his every opinion showcased in this book. I'm 100% vegetarian, he is not. He would rather test medicines and medical procedures on healthy mice than by any other logical method, but me? Not so much. He would rather (hypothetically) save one strangers' life over the last three chimpanzees on earth, given the choice of either. I'm afraid I do not think in the same way. But this is all irrelevant.

This book challenges you to make your own moral choices, by your own
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Kusaimamekirai
Dec 19, 2016 rated it liked it
There is so much to like here, particularly toward the end when he describes people who despite what could be considered inconsistent attitudes about animals(eating meat but donating time to the Humane Society for example) are doing tangible and wonderful things to make the world a better place for all species.
At the heart of this book though are those inconsistencies.
He does a very nice job of making you think about why tourists in Seattle for example enjoy watching dead fish get tossed arou
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Hal Herzog has been investigating the complex psychology of our interactions with other species for more than two decades. He is particularly interested in how people negotiate real-world ethical dilemmas, and he has studied animal activists, cockfighters, animal researchers, and circus animal trainers. An award-winning teacher and researcher, he has written more than 100 articles and book chapter ...more
“The inconsistencies that haunt our relationships with animals also result from the quirks of human cognition. We like to think of ourselves as the rational species. But research in cognitive psychology and behavioral economics shows that our thinking and behavior are often completely illogical. In one study, for example, groups of people were independently asked how much they would give to prevent waterfowl from being killed in polluted oil ponds. On average, the subjects said they would pay $80 to save 2,000 birds, $78 to save 20,000 birds, and $88 to save 200,000 birds. Sometimes animals act more logically than people do; a recent study found that when picking a new home, the decisions of ant colonies were more rational than those of human house-hunters.
What is it about human psychology that makes it so difficult for us to think consistently about animals? The paradoxes that plague our interactions with other species are due to the fact that much of our thinking is a mire of instinct, learning, language, culture, intuition, and our reliance on mental shortcuts.”
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“Psycholinguists argue about whether language reflects our perception of reality or helps create them. I am in the latter camp. Take the names we give the animals we eat. The Patagonian toothfish is a prehistoric-looking creature with teeth like needles and bulging yellowish eyes that lives in deep waters off the coast of South America. It did not catch on with sophisticated foodies until an enterprising Los Angeles importer renamed it the considerably more palatable "Chilean sea bass.” 13 likes
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