Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals

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The best-selling animal advocate Temple Grandin offers the most exciting exploration of how animals feel since The Hidden Life of Dogs.

In her groundbreaking and best-selling book Animals in Translation, Temple Grandin drew on her own experience with autism as well as her distinguished career as an animal scientist to deliver extraordinary insights into how animals think, act, and feel.Now she builds on those insights to show us how to give our animals the best and happiest life—on their terms, not ours.

It’s usually easy to pinpoint the cause of physical pain in animals, but to know what is causing them emotional distress is much harder.Drawing on the latest research and her own work,Grandin identifies the core emotional needs of animals.Then she explains how to fulfill them for dogs and cats, horses, farm animals, and zoo animals.Whether it’s how to make the healthiest environment for the dog you must leave alone most of the day, how to keep pigs from being bored, or how to know if the lion pacing in the zoo is miserable or just exercising,Grandin teaches us to challenge our assumptions about animal contentment and honor our bond with our fellow creatures.

Animals Make Us Human is the culmination of almost thirty years of research, experimentation, and experience.

This is essential reading for anyone who’s ever owned, cared for, or simply cared about an animal.

Customer Reviews:

  • animals make us human
    as usual temple reveals many interesting things regarding animal life and how we can improve it...more info
  • Illuminating!
    As an animal lover with a degree in zoology, I found Dr. Grandin's book scientifically illuminating and personally valuable. I am currently working with a zebra and a zorse and found her explanation of the "core emotions" helpful beyond words. A thunderbolt of understanding hit me. It has dramatically altered my training methods. It is a "must read" for anyone contemplating or currently working with any animal.

    I applaud her for the work she does in the slaughterhouse industry. She is trying to change it from within which must be emotionally exhausting and frustrating for her. How simple it would be (and ineffective) to safely rage at a distance, carrying pickets or writing editorials. She has chosen a very big corner to brighten.

    I admire her for honestly remaining a meat eater. Homo sapiens are omnivors and predators. We wouldn't be here if we weren't. How silly to think that we are above the food chain. For myself, I am rejecting all attempts to preserve my dead flesh and hope to be put as directly into the ground as possible. We have to eat living things to survive and I don't think the life of a carrot any less valuable than a cow. I am not wise enough to judge where the line should be drawn and I don't think anyone else is. Let's be as responsible to the environment and humane as possible. (Interesting word, "humane") Temple Grandin can help us do that. ...more info
  • cat survival
    I was going to buy Grandin's book until I read T. Harless' comment. By any standard definition, cats are truly domestic animals who seek out human companionship and, yes, love. Just ask the innumerable strays whom humans have taken into their homes (and laps, couches, chairs and beds) over the centuries. Moreover, Grandin's comment about cat survival in the wild ignores the fact that cats in the wild live about a year and change on average, as opposed to cats in a home who typically have a lifespan north of 10 years. So, if that fits your definition of survival, then yes, Temple Grandin is right. But it's disingenuous and unfair....more info
  • Temple Grandin Does It Again
    Temple Grandin's insight into animals again leads us to make leaps of insight into both the animals and the humans. Particularly, small children become easier to read and understand after reading about seeking behaviours. I do like her work....more info
  • Without peer.
    This is the very best book on child psychology I have ever read, and every parent should read it. Yes, I know it's supposed to be about animals.

    One thing that puzzles me is the claim that autistics think in pictures and non-autistic humans don't. But I think in pictures, and I'm not autistic. What about that?...more info
  • Suffers the same basic flaw as Animals in Translation
    Once again, it appears the editors required Ms. Grandin to include chapters on companion animals, despite her clear discomfort in discussing dogs & cats in particular, & her lack of first-hand experience with and study of them (beyond personal anecdotes about childhood pets).

    While her research is a bit more current, she is often merely parroting others. She has some valid points and some good questions, but she is not a specilist on these species and can't answer the questions she asks.

    I would love someone dedicated to the field to take her dog question and run with it: is the human household more like a replacement family, or a captive pack? Is it contingent upon whether you raise the dog from a puppy versus adopting an older dog? (My personal experience suggests "yes," but I would never make scientific proclamations based solely on personal experience...).

    Regarding cats, someone should run with the theory that cats are merely tame versus domesticated. While that may have been accurate when cats lived in barns and basements, is that still true now that they live in the home? What are the scientific differences between feral (truly feral - born in the "wild"), stray, and homed cats?
    ...more info
  • Good content mostly - still some comments really rritated me
    Overall a great book and so, you may wonder about my rating.

    Well, there are 2 main areas that are extremely personal to me and in both of those, the book compromised its good value.

    The first is when the author talks about whether the animals know if/when they are about to be slaughtered. Her answer on that (you can read the book) is at best glib, at worst convenient and reduced the author's crdibility in my eyes. Was the response tailored so as not to tick off any project engagements?

    The second is about the reference to the animal rights activists. The author tries to strike a balance in the role of the industry and the activists. She says how activists are like heat and industy like steel - and this seemilngly innocent sentence revealed to me the overall diminished opinion the author holds for the activists. A source of heat (activists) can be controlled, adjusted, ratched down and turned off but the steel (industry) remains.

    These two factors spoiled the book for me - not completely, but enough to bring down the rating to 2 stars.

    Of course, your mileage may vary and just as we all like to read negative reviews, in the same spirit, I urge all to read this book -even if you don't agree with it completely as it addresses an important subject.

    ...more info
  • The truth about animals
    Temple Grandin explains why animals behave the way they do and how we can work with their natures to improve their lives and ours. Did you know wolfs are family animals not pack animals? Temples explains this and many other little known truths in this outstanding book. An easy and fun read....more info
  • excellent book
    this book is good for everyone, not just animal lovers. it seems an autistic perspective, while limiting in some ways, is a benefit in many other ways.....most importantly to understand animals and therefore an understanding of ourselves. written in a scholarly and folksy way, I cannot recommend it enough....more info
  • the naysayers!
    Kudos to Mesdames Grandin and Johnson! A MUST read for animal lovers. Should be required reading for all veterinarians. Right up there with James Herriot's "classic" All Creatures Great and Small! Will be downloading Animal Translations this evening. Thank you for a sleepless night!
    ...more info
  • Glorified Hypocracy
    It's so odd that T. Grandin can (successfully) in a few chapters convince us that animals have the capacity to feel emotions. Happiness, fear, anxiety, pleasure... etc. All emotions humans can relate to. Yet, somehow square up the idea that killing them is justified. A cat, a chicken... a dog, a pig... what's the difference? Of course Grandin says there is "none" - yet why are we consuming these animals that are in essence the same as us - the same as our beloved pets?

    Do we justify it as "necessity"? But this can't be so as millions of people thrive on a plant based diet. In fact more research is showing it's better for us. Is it the environment? Are we securing a healthier planet with livestock industries? No, in fact science shows that animal production is very harmful to the eco-system... Is it that we can feed more people meat, thus ending world starvation? Not this either - as we can feed 6 times more people on the same food we are feeding to animals...

    Grandin's "systems" may improve the overall slaughtering process for the companies that hire her expertise - But, the other questions still remain. No matter how "efficient" we become at killing these animals - there is no rational "reason" to continue to do such. In fact, given all the information known to us - eating meat is one of the most illogical, self-destructive (and cruel) things one can do... ...more info
  • Animals Make us Human
    I greatly admire Dr Temple and find her information interesting, sensitive, and well written. We need people to advocate for animals in an educated and well documented manner, yet with personal experience and intuition. Highly recommended....more info
  • Dr. Grandin is wonderful!
    I heard Dr. Gandin interviewed on NPR and went right out to buy this book. She is most knowledgeable about dogs and horses and I learned from her. She is a remarkable person. After reading this book, I gave it to the workers at my local SPCA to enjoy....more info
  • New to Small Farming?
    This would be an outstanding book for those that are thinking of a small acreage and a few farm animals. Most farmers follow the suggestions through working with animals from their youth. Those that are coming to agriculture via an urban upbringing will find interest in the research presented. The suggestions given will help train those that would other wise take into consideration the predator that is humans rather than the prey that are most agricultural animals....more info
  • Animals make us Human
    This book arrived very quickly and was in excellent condition, looked like a brand new book....more info
  • Living well with domestic animals
    Grandin, an animal behaviorist known for her humane slaughterhouse designs and her outstanding books on autism (particularly her memoir "Thinking in Pictures") and relationships with animals ("Animals in Translation"), focuses on how we can give domestic animals the best life.

    Most people will find the chapters on cats and dogs the most useful. Other chapters explore the emotional and physical worlds of horses, cows, pigs, poultry, wildlife and zoo animals and how each intersects with humans (not always a pretty picture). In each, Grandin engages the reader with illuminating behavioral studies and empathic interpretations.

    She approaches her subject with a system. "The rule is simple: Don't stimulate RAGE, FEAR, and PANIC if you can help it, and do stimulate SEEKING and also PLAY."

    Much of her advice is common sense but the science offers fascinating reinforcement and explanation. Purebred dogs, for instance, have lost a lot of the wolf's natural submissive behaviors -- designed to keep the peace -- and may no longer be able to recognize warning signs in other dogs.

    She also calls the animal's natural social evolution into play. Dogs, she says, descend from families of wolves, not packs, and are looking for a parent, not an alpha. Horses' fear and flight responses are the basis of their survival in the wild and training them requires reassurance, not breaking.

    She shows how to recognize emotional states in animals and gives advice on avoiding negative reactions. All animals are frightened by new things -- and all animals are attracted to new things. It all depends on how it's presented -- forcibly or voluntarily.

    In conclusion Grandin observes that "many cattle have better lives than some of the pampered pets," citing separation anxiety in dogs who hate to be left alone for hours. In Grandin's view, if people paid attention to the emotional lives of the creatures that depend on them, all would have a better quality of life.

    While particularly of interest to people with pets or farm animals, Grandin's take on animals always sparks reflection....more info
  • Informative
    Grandin shares her wealth of knowledge about animals, though the book is not what I expected from the first half of the title.
    ...more info
  • Insightful and spectacular. Oprah needs to pick this today.
    I read this book in one sitting. As a veterinarian and writer, I've come across many, many silly books about animals. But Animals Make Us Human (along with Animals In Translation) is truly an enlightening and thought-provoking and dare I say 'necessary' read for any pet owner or anyone in the animal husbandry industry. This should be an Oprah pick for the mere chance to open the minds of the general populace to the natural world around us and those inhabitants who share this globe with us. For true insight, forget Cesar this book today. ...more info
    Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals I absolutely LOVED this book. It makes you realize that animals have a range of emotions not unlike ours, and I am not just referring to dogs. Read the section on poultry. I am turning vegetarian. Thank-you Ms. Grandin for a truly worthwhile book-you opened my eyes. Highly recommended....more info
  • most important animal book ever
    this is an amazing and fascinating window into the brains and true needs of our closest animals. it demolishes destructive myths and provides truly useful and practical insights into how to make animals happier. it is science based with many fascinating anecdotes and examples. i could say much more but im not used to typing on my kindle yet. get this read it and share it as widely as possible for the sake of all the animals. and for your own sake....more info
  • Another amazing book from Grandin
    Temple Grandins's books are fascinating on many levels and this one is no exception. Through her eyes, we are able to look at the world in a new way. And for those of us "on the spectrum". it is particularly insightful and helpful. Thank you Dr Grandin!

    Danny ...more info
  • Outstanding book for all animal lovers
    A wonderful book for animal lovers...great insight into the minds and behaviors of animals. Very easy and enjoyable reading....more info
  • cat falsehoods
    Temple has some good insights into dogs especially about dogs living in dog families instead of packs but her cat info is mostly untrue or obvious. She starts out with the old stereotype that cats are not loving, dependent pets like dogs. I've had cats all my life and they have always given me as much affection (and in a more demonstrative way) than my many dogs - even my toy lap dogs. My persians want to be on me all the time - as close to my face as possible so they can smell my delicious breath and give kisses and rubs. Cats want to be with people. They cry to get into the room where I am, not for food but just to be near me. They follow me from room to room as I move around the house. When we go outside they follow me everywhere and anywhere I go just like the dogs except running in joyous spurts as cats do.

    Temple says if a cat is left outside and abandoned it will do just fine foraging for itself. Are you kidding me? Your cat would be starve and die in a week or much faster if a dog saw him.

    Some very eperienced and lucky cats that have been raised by a hunting mother outside, on a farm, might survive until a dog, car, disease or bad weather caught up to them. Still, to have any future, the cat would try to find a person to take him in to feed and protect him.

    I'm really surprised an author that is trying to be scientific would write such unscientific myths about cats. Any of the millions of cat owners could have set her straight if she asked. She should have at least looked at the CFA website. They could have told her that a persian cat, by far the most popular breed, couldn't defend itself against an irate four week old, wet cocker spaniel.

    I would recommend the book anyway for the info on other animals. Just hope nobody takes the cat chapter seriously. ...more info
  • Fascinating and practical
    This is my favorite book at the moment. I've gone back to it again and again, and have ordered copies for my friends. I've made a nuisance of myself by bringing up things I've read in it during numerous conversations-but the book has so much of interest and application in it that it is hard to stop talking about it.
    I have dogs, cats, horses, sheep, chickens and ducks. I also have cattle that graze our land regularly, so I'm interacting with them, as well.
    I am delighted to have a greater understanding of all of our animals.
    I've tried the trick of hanging pieces of string in the chicken coop, and love the results.
    I've started clicker training my horses and dogs-I'd used voice markers previously, but I'm now convinced of the value of clicker training.
    I've yet to try positive reinforcement for the cats, but I will certainly do so as soon as I have time.
    I love the book, and highly recommend it, if you have any interest in animals....more info
  • Good read!
    Great author. As an animal lover/owner - I find her books a delight as well as educational to read. ...more info


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