The Inner World of Farm Animals: Their Amazing Social, Emotional and Intellectual Capacities by Amy Hatkoff

 

ISBN 978-1-58479-748-7
Foreword by Jane Goodall,
Afterword by Wayne Pacelle, President of the Humane Society of the United States.

 

Although this book is not specifically for children, I think it is especially suitable for them. To encourage children to have understanding of and compassion for animals is one of the most important things we can do for them. I think this book helps. It does not focus on the lives led by animals in factory farming, but instead leads us in a gentle way to discover the true nature of the animals featured.

It is beautifully produced and full of touching anecdotes and charming pictures of farm animals - cows, sheep, goats, poultry - many of whom have been rescued and now live in farm sanctuaries where they are cared for, allowing their personalities to flourish.

We learn of their joys and sorrows, their likes and dislikes, their devotion to their offspring and to their friends (and their friends are not always of the same species), and their intelligence and ability to solve problems. We discover that each individual animal is a unique being, just as we are.

The book, however, is not just heart-warming stories. Throughout there are comments and observations from scientists and researchers studying animal behaviour, as well as from the philosophical thinkers and writers of the animal movement.

This book makes us think, because it is not possible to read of these animals, the now fortunate ones, without one's mind turning to the billions imprisoned in factory farms. As children learn the harsh truth, and compare it with the lives led by these lucky animals, they will, I believe, deduce that there is a great injustice perpetrated on animals, and many children will say, "What can I do?"

The final chapter is titled "What You Can Do: Creating a More Humane World for Farm Animals". It is suggested that we spread the word that animals need our help. We can advocate on their behalf, support a farm sanctuary, join an advocacy organisation, and we can be careful consumers, taking account of the source of our food and the manner of production.

In this way we can, at whatever age, join those to whom Ms Hatkoff dedicates her book: "This book is dedicated to farm animals everywhere and to all those who are standing by, with, and for them. It is my hope that as we come to see who they truly are, we will be moved to act on their behalf."

 

Olga Parkes