Bryan Appleyard

They May Have an Emotional Hole

Wild Minds: What Animals Really Think

By

Allen Lane The Penguin Press 336pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

The Lives of Animals

By

Profile Books 125pp £4.99 order from our bookshop

Animals have become a problem, a zone of serious instability in our moral self-perception. On the one hand, we seem to be an unusually caring age – domestic pets are pampered as never before, people are upset about fox-hunting, they fear for the fate of whales and other endangered species and they demand the extension of legal personhood to the higher primates and domestic pets. On the other hand, we seem to be an unusually savage age – factory farming and animal experimentation impose unprecedented suffering on animals. When it comes to the non-human world, we seem to oscillate violently between sentimentality and nihilism, between an inability and a refusal to think clearly.

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