SCIENCES

Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We Eat

Univ. of Chicago. Mar. 2017. 224p. ISBN 9780226195186. $25. NAT HIST
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King (anthropology, Coll. of William and Mary; How Animals Grieve) strives to maintain a realistic view as she encourages readers to consider the animals they eat. In each chapter, King covers a different animal. Readers might be confused as to why the first sections examine insects, arachnids, and octopuses and why the last is devoted to chimpanzees. These are not regular items on Western menus, and some may be tempted to skip over them. However, King makes a compelling case in the afterword, in which she compares dogs' cognition and personalities to those of chimpanzees. The author challenges our assumptions about which animals are acceptable to eat. Occasionally, the narrative strays too long into other subjects, such as animals living in captivity or environmental issues. Instead of offering hard scientific research, King sometimes speculates on the thoughts of animals or poses questions. More in-depth reading and information may be found in titles such as Sy Montgomery's The Soul of an Octopus. Many will appreciate King's personal tone as she relates her own thoughts and eating habits.
VERDICT For those seeking a general overview of the topic or ideas for further research.
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