In Review

How to Love Animals by Henry Mance

The Financial Times journalist explores how a world in thrall to animal cuteness remains indifferent to animal suffering

How to Love Animals

This is a book you might not enjoy very much, but it’s one you should almost certainly read, said Emma Beddington in The Spectator. Henry Mance, a journalist at the Financial Times, sets out to unpick a glaring “paradox”: how a world in thrall to animal cuteness – in which videos of kittens are watched by millions – “can remain indifferent to the suffering of almost all other animals, whether farmed, in captivity, or in the wild”.

Most of us prefer not to think about the horrors of livestock farming, but Mance doesn’t flinch from detailing them, said Sophie McBain in the New Statesman. During a spell working at an abattoir, he describes pigs panicking and squealing before they are stunned because they “can smell blood”, and can communicate with one another. At a pig farm known for its welfare standards, he describes picking up “overlays”: piglets accidentally crushed by their mothers, which have been bred to be three times their natural size. Yet the book also has its lighter moments: in San Francisco, Mance visits “Corgi Con”, where Corgi owners dress up as their pets (and vice versa).

Although Mance is himself a vegan (partly because of what his research led him to find out about the dairy industry), he isn’t doctrinaire or sanctimonious, said Ben Cooke in The Times. “For instance, he’s not that perturbed by hunting”: he even thinks big-game hunting is a good idea, because the money earned from selling licences can “provide hefty funding for national parks”.

Ultimately, what he wants is for people to stop dividing animals into “would-be humans” and “milk machines”, and see them for what they are – as “creatures valuable in their difference”. We may be a long way from achieving that now – but this thoughtful book ought to move us in the right direction

Jonathan Cape 400pp £20; The Week Bookshop £15.99

How to Love Animals
The Week Bookshop

To order this title or any other book in print, visit theweekbookshop.co.uk, or speak to a bookseller on 020-3176 3835. Opening times: Monday to Saturday 9am-5.30pm and Sunday 10am-4pm.

Recommended

Shell’s North Sea oil U-turn: ‘a first victory in a longer war’?
Activists holding sign reading 'Stop Cambo'
In Brief

Shell’s North Sea oil U-turn: ‘a first victory in a longer war’?

Fenchurch: an elevated dining experience
Fenchurch restaurant in London's Walkie Talkie skycraper
In Review

Fenchurch: an elevated dining experience

Christmas recipe: gingerbread ice cream
Gingerbread ice cream recipe by Robert Welch and From The Larder’s Georgina Hartley
On the menu

Christmas recipe: gingerbread ice cream

Tried and tasted: DIY Christmas meal kits
Stein’s at Home – The Festive Celebration Menu
In Review

Tried and tasted: DIY Christmas meal kits

Popular articles

Is World War Three looming?
Xi Jinping
In Depth

Is World War Three looming?

New TV crime dramas to watch in 2021
Olivia Colman and David Thewlis star in Landscapers
In Depth

New TV crime dramas to watch in 2021

Vladimir Putin and his mysterious love life
Vladimir Putin and his now ex-wife Lyudmila Putina
Profile

Vladimir Putin and his mysterious love life

The Week Footer Banner