A provocative examination of the fine line between the use and abuse of animals.
In a continuation of his study on the interaction of animals and humans, Laufer (Journalism/Univ. of Oregon; Forbidden Creatures: Inside the World of Animal Smuggling and Exotic Pets, 2010, etc.) opens the doors to the complex world of animal service and exploitation. What is the difference between use, misuse and abuse of animals? How does a person know an animal is actually enjoying itself? Do animals feel pain? Does a chicken raised specifically for meat suffer more or less at its death than a rooster raised specifically for cock fights? Is a circus act entertainment for humans or an enslavement of animals? These are some of the many troubling questions the author poses as he travels the world searching for answers. From a lion handler in Budapest to whale shows at SeaWorld to slaughterhouses in California, Laufer graphically details firsthand the varied ways humans and animals interact. Descriptions of canned hunts, dairy-cow abuse, vivisection and many examples of cockfights force readers to ponder the same questions as the author. Interviews with members of the Humane Society, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and numerous animal-rights organizations counterbalance interviews with breeders of fighting cocks, arsonists and many others who see no harm in how they treat animals.
Laufer’s compelling evidence will push readers to assess the distinctions between love and mistreatment among our animal brethren.