Us and Them
Black Inc., $19.95
Anna Krien situates her essay on the importance of animals beyond the simple arguments of what we ought or ought not do to animals.
She claims in her introduction that, “I am not weighing up whether our treatment of animals is just, because it isn’t. That age-old debate is a farce — deep down we all know it. The real question is, just how much of this injustice are we prepared to live with.”
She divides her essay into three case studies: killing, testing and hunting. She explores, in each case, how our treatment of animals intersects with (legitimate?) human needs or desires.
The initial section was highly evocative because of its focus on the possibility that cultural and economic issues are too frequently ignored in discussions of the treatment of animals.
I am not certain she breaks any new philosophical ground. It is perhaps true, however, that most attitudes towards human treatment of animals are not changed through careful reasoning but by hearing and telling stories.
Krien is an excellent storyteller.
Phillip Michael Sherman is Assistant Professor of Religion, Humanities Faculty, Maryville College, USA.
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