Placing Animals: I enjoyed this book more than I thought, it brought up points I hadn’t considered before. I’ve read/heard perspectives on “speciesism” and how people relate to animals before but never as in-depth and concentrated as this book. The author’s point about the pet industry being driven by corporations was something brand-new to me, but in hindsight makes sense. Does my dog really need the many different brands and types of toys we’ve got her over the years, or is that mostly an idea that’s been sort of socialized into us? (There’s only one brand of dog toy she can’t destroy anyway so the answer is no). Her chapter on farms was like a more analytical side (or at least less visceral) of the Eating Animals book we read. I enjoyed reading about how/why people eat the animals they do, which we’ve talked about in class too. There was something in there about a lion-meat taco which most people would shudder and get angry about, but really it’s not much different from eating farmed pig or cow (I’d absolutely eat lion meat if it was offered). Every once in a while I even found myself answering the discussion questions at the end of the chapters, which isn’t so much a testament to the questions but a testament to Urbanik’s ability to make me think about something I don’t often think hard about.
Red garter snakes are known for having really large mating rituals that involve thousands of individuals in huge “mating balls” that last for days. It’s kind of creepy to watch and it also seems to be making males die faster than if they mate separately. The males sometimes don’t eat for weeks at a time. They can also suffocate under the weight of thousands of snakes, or be easily picked off by predators. Overall it seems like this is a super inefficient way to mate.
(i’m not scared of snakes, this guy is really cute)