The relationships between humans, animals and the natural world across history and between cultures.
YA Serpell begins with a discussion of society's utilitarian attitude toward factory-farmed livestock as opposed to its affectionate relationship with domestic pets. Comparing pigs with dogs and cats, he cites innumerable research projects, case histories, and anecdotes as he attempts to answer the question of why pigs aren't subject to the same ethical considerations as are cats and dogs. Authors and scientists from ancient times to the present are quoted in his maelstrom of curious and contradictory findings. The principal reasons for keeping pets, their effect upon the owners, and reasons for particular breeding practices are included. Serpell also cites the psychological ramifications of pet keeping. A fascinating study for pet lovers, and of special interest to anthropology and science classes. Mary Wadsworth Sucher, Baltimore County Reading Services