Although a book by psychology professor Hal Herzog titled “Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It’s So Hard to Think Straight About Animals” has not been released yet, the work already has attracted national and international attention.
In the book, to be released Sept. 7, Herzog explores how people address the range of questions and moral issues linked to their relationships with animals. Is it OK to kill animals just because they taste good? Why is it OK to feed a mouse but not a kitten to your pet boa constrictor? Can dogs read people’s minds? Are pit bulls inherently dangerous? Do most children who abuse animals really become violent adults? (Herzog says they don’t.)
“I really changed my mind about human nature in many ways while writing this book,” said Herzog. “It strikes me that one of the things that separates us from animals is we are incredibly different across cultures. For me, that plays out in the world of how we treat animals.”
Herzog presented on the subject in Stockholm in July as the keynote speaker at the “People and Animals: For Life” conference. Meanwhile, the book, which is being published by HarperCollins Publishers, is being heralded in reviews as educational and enjoyable. The work has been featured by publications including Psychology Today magazine, which Herzog also writes a regular blog for titled “Animals and Us.” In addition, a national TV news station is making arrangements to cover one of Herzog’s upcoming book appearances.
A celebration of the book’s release will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 7, at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva, and additional author events featuring Herzog will be held in Durham, Raleigh and Pittsboro, as well as 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 16, at Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café in Asheville.
Herzog first became interested in animal behavior – especially reptiles – as a child. He kept about a dozen snakes as pets and went on in college and beyond to conduct research in animal behavior, even developing a personality test for baby snakes. Herzog later studied chickens, and as part of his research interviewed and observed people who engaged in cockfighting.
“That’s when I really realized the morality of our interactions with animals was complicated, and very interesting,” said Herzog.
By Teresa Killian Tate