While this book is certainly more textbook-y than some of the other books, it reads easily enough and the content is engaging enough so that I don’t mind all that much. I think the most interesting is the chapter dealing with the changing role of pets in the home. Historically, there has always been a pretty stark divide between humans and animals; even if an owner really cared for their pet, the idea that it ought to be considered to have ‘personhood’ in the same way as a human was pretty much laughable. Nowadays, however, times are changing. While people’s moral concern for animals has not only led to a spike in vegetarianism and veganism, it also seems to have led to a general increase in viewing animals as members of a family, as opposed to pets. There not only seems to be an increase in totally useless crap for pets (pet clothes, ‘gourmet’ dog treats, etc) but people generally being much more attached to their pets almost as a replacement for human family. Anecdotally, I have heard many stories about people who gotten expensive surgeries for pets because to them, that pet is the most family or companionship that such a person has. For some people who otherwise might be alone in life, the blind loyalty of an animal is the perfect companion. Of course, there are a couple ethical questions that come along with this. For starters, is it even ethical to keep animals as pets? Many people have already objected eating animals by comparing it to murder, or objected to bestiality by comparing it to rape. But by that logic, is keeping a pet like slavery? Surely the pet cannot consent to being kept in a home.
Personally, I do not think this is the case. Perhaps if one were to remove an animal from the wild once it has already adjusted to such a life might be ethical. But to raise a domesticated pet like a dog or housecat I do not believe to be the case. In this case, the pet is akin to a child; they are not intelligent enough to decide their own fate, so the parent (or owner) has the responsibility of deciding what is best for the pet. Would a dog or cat be able to survive on their own in the wild, in this day and age? Likely not, especially considering how many strays already have trouble surviving on their own.
As for the part of the book which discusses farming and eating animals, I think pretty much everything on that topic was already sort of covered in Eating Animals, so I don’t have too much to say on that front.