Animals Make Us Human: A book review

Eventually I’ll get back to more food..and there’s only one book a month to review. I’m on vacation, so am eating well while reading. But I’m eating things I’ve eaten in previous 20150624_175143years (like this wonderful sub sandwich), and I don’t want to be too repetitive.

I finished my book, Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals, by Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson, for the June book challenge (reading one book a month from books that have been on my shelf for over a year, that is, purchased in 2013 or before) in less than a week, as I am still on vacation, and there is time for reading. Especially as it continues to rain almost every day. Yesterday was clear and sunny and beautiful, but this morning, already, there is rain and now-distant thunder heading our way.

This book has been on my shelf since 2010, although it appears to be my daughter’s book: 20150625_142116(0) copyshe is the animal behaviorist and there are slips of paper that are clearly hers marking pages. But there’s a plane ticket receipt of mine from 2010, when I first started reading. But obviously didn’t get very far. Even with that slow start, I enjoyed this very much!! I have heard Temple Grandin speak twice, and the co-author she works with still speaks in her voice. From her first book about being labeled autistic through her work with animals, she has a different and interesting perspective.

This book looks at the animals she knows and has worked with: farm animals like dogs and cats and horses, and then the meat industry animals with cows and pigs and chickens. She also discusses zoos and wildlife, areas in which she has been a consulted. My favorite story is teaching an Arabian horse to hold her ears properly in the show ring using clicker training. But there are many, many other good story examples in all chapters.

She speaks not only of research but of fieldwork, of observation of animals, to learn and describe their core emotions, and how things can be modified to help them to have better lives and experiences. I would suggest reading Animals in Translation first, as she references it a few times, but this can also be a stand-alone book. If I had star ratings, this would be 5 stars (and it is in my goodreads account).

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