Hal Herzog, an animal behaviorist and one of the world’s foremost authorities on human-animal relations, shows us how whimsical our attitudes towards animals can be. He questions how rational we are in our relationship with animals.
For example, consider something as simple as a puppy. In the United States, a puppy is a pet. In Australia, it’s a work animal. In Kenya it’s a pariah. In Korea, it’s lunch.
In his book, Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It’s So Hard To Think Straight About Animals, Hal points our that our attitudes towards animals is both biological and cultural.
In our discussion, Hal presents some unusual discoveries. Consider dogs versus snakes. Most of us have a fear of snakes and an attraction towards dogs. Yet, we are 100 times more likely to be injured by a dog than a snake.
Or, having “cage-free” meat makes it easier to eat meat. In fact, Peter Singer did a study in 1975 about our meat eating habits and exposed the cruelty of the food industry. Since that time, however, our meat consumption has risen 3 times, not decreased. The food industry is so ingenious that they have figured out how to disembody meat from the animals from which it comes to make the notion of eating meat more appealing to consumers.
Hal concludes that human infantile characteristics in animals makes them more likely to be liked.
Listen to the entire interivew here: