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The Pig Who Sang to the Moon : The Emotional World of Farm Animals


Review from Amazon





Editorial Reviews


From Publishers Weekly

The horrors have been pointed out before-that factory farm chickens are genetically altered, debeaked without anesthesia, and crammed into overcrowded coops; that calves are separated from their mothers and kept in dark crates to become veal. Here Masson (Dogs Never Lie About Love) makes the case that the animals humans eat on a regular basis-pigs, chickens, sheep, cows and ducks-feel, think and suffer. Each animal gets a chapter, in which Masson interweaves folklore, science and literature (he quotes Darwin, Gandhi and the Bible) with his observations of the animals' behaviors. He relates how a pot-bellied pig saved the life of her keeper and visits Dr. Marthe Kiley-Worthington, of Little Ash Eco-Farm in England, whose cow does agility tricks; he also interviews those who raise animals for profit. But there is no subtlety in his sometimes nauseatingly Edenic anecdotes: abused animals always come around and we live happily ever after. The text is pocked with far-fetched hypotheses (e.g., "A woman coming across a young lamb in ancient times might well have nursed the lamb" to explain the domestication of sheep). Arguing that all farming of animals for food is wrong (even eggs), Masson rebuts the fallacy that farm animals would die out without us, but doesn't say how we are to make the transition. His peripatetic style lacks transitions, for example going from cock fighting, which gets only one paragraph, to meditations on why roosters crow at dawn. Despite the holes in his preachy argument, his narrative contains some solid, fascinating information on the emotional life of farm animals.

Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I bought this book & his previous book "When Elephants Weep" I started Elephants last night & I have to say I laughed so hard I cried when I read his account of encountering a wild elephant in Africa. He was so certain the elephant wanted to meet him too, that he approached him. The elephant snorted & scratched at the ground a few times in warning, but the author didn't heed the message & approached closer. The elephant snorted again & then charged him.


It was a very serious situation -- he was damned near trampled! -- but it was still so funny. He was incredibly fortunate that he stumbled & fell in some very tall grass & the elephant couldn't see him.


He made an excellent point of how we frequently attach human emotions & feelings to animals behavior that are completely wrong. Not saying that animals do not have emotions & feelings -- that is entirely the point of his book, that they DO -- but that we can't guess what those feelings are based on OUR context.


I look forward to the rest of this book & The Pig Who Sang to the Moon.


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