In the Company of Animals: A Study of Human-Animal Relationships by James SerpellIn the Company of Animals: A Study of Human-Animal Relationships by James Serpell

In the Company of Animals: A Study of Human-Animal Relationships

byJames Serpell

Paperback | August 13, 1996

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In the Company of Animals is an original and very readable study of human attitudes to the natural world. It contrasts the way we love some animals while ruthlessly exploiting others; it provides a detailed and fascinating account of ways in which animal companionship can influence our health; and it provides a key to understanding the moral contradictions inherent in our treatment of animals and nature. Its scope encompasses history, anthropology, and animal and human psychology. Along the way, the author uncovers a fascinating trail of insights and myths about our relationship with the species with which we share the planet. James Serpell is the editor of The Domestic Dog: Its Evolution, Behavior and Interactions With People (CUP, 1995).
Title:In the Company of Animals: A Study of Human-Animal RelationshipsFormat:PaperbackDimensions:316 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.71 inPublished:August 13, 1996Publisher:Cambridge University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0521577799

ISBN - 13:9780521577793

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Table of Contents

Part I. A Paradox: 1. Of pigs and pets; Part II. The Case Against Pets: 2. Substitutes for people; 3. Instruments of follie; 4. Pets in tribal societies; 5. A cuckoo in the nest; Part III. An Alternative View: 6. Pets as panacea; 7. Health and friendship; 8. Four-legged friends; Part IV. Exploitation and Sympathy: A Conflict of Interests: 9. The myth of human supremacy; 10. Killer with a conscience; 11. Licensed to kill; 12. The fall from grace.

From Our Editors

What purpose, if any, do pets really serve? Are they simply an outlet for misplaced love? Or four-legged friends who help us to satisfy vital emotional needs? Whatever they are, when we elevate pets to the status of social companions, we undermine the distinction between human and non-human. In other words, pets force us to confront the moral contradictions inherent in our treatment of animals in general. Pursuing this idea to its logical conclusion, the author uncovers a fascinating and disturbing trail of myths, evasions and double standards which humans have used since earliest times to justify their subjugation of nature and other life forms. Through an exploration of the phenomenon of pet-keeping across history and between cultures, this thought-provoking study reassesses our relationships with animals and the natural world. This new edition of In the Company of Animals has been substantially revised and updated to take into account developments in research since 1986.

Editorial Reviews

"Why did James Serpell feel the need to write a book in defence of pet-keeping? Surely this is one aspect of human behaviour that requires no advocacy. But read on. Indeed, read this book, for it is full of fascinating comments on a subject that many of us have taken for granted." Desmond Morris, BBC Wildlife Wildlife