The Pig Who Sang to the Moon: The Emotional World of Farm Animals

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9780345452818: The Pig Who Sang to the Moon: The Emotional World of Farm Animals

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson’s groundbreaking bestseller, When Elephants Weep, was the first book since Darwin’s time to explore emotions in the animal kingdom, particularly from animals in the wild. Now, he focuses exclusively on the contained world of the farm animal, revealing startling, irrefutable evidence that barnyard creatures have feelings too, even consciousness.

Weaving history, literature, anecdotes, scientific studies, and Masson’s own vivid experiences observing pigs, cows, sheep, goats, and chickens over the course of five years, this important book at last gives voice, meaning, and dignity to these gentle beasts that are bred to be milked, shorn, butchered, and eaten. Can we ever know what makes an animal happy? Many animal behaviorists say no. But Jeffrey Masson has a different view: An animal is happy if it can live according to its own nature. Farm animals suffer greatly in this regard. Chickens, for instance, like to perch in trees at night, to avoid predators and to nestle with friends. The obvious conclusion: They cannot be happy when confined twenty to a cage.

From field and barn, to pen and coop, Masson bears witness to the emotions and intelligence of these remarkable farm animals, each unique with distinct qualities. Curious, intelligent, self-reliant–many will find it hard to believe that these attributes describe a pig. In fact, there is much that humans share with pigs. They dream, know their names, and can see colors. Mother cows mourn the loss of their calves when their babies are taken away to slaughter. Given a choice between food that is nutritious or lacking in minerals, sheep will select the former, balancing their diet and correcting the deficiency. Goats display quite a sense of humor, dignity, and fearlessness (Indian goats have been known to kill leopards). Chickens are naturally sociable–they will gather around a human companion and stand there serenely preening themselves or sit quietly on the ground beside someone they trust.

For far too long farm animals have been denigrated and treated merely as creatures of instinct rather than as sentient beings. Shattering the abhorrent myth of the “dumb animal without feelings,” Jeffrey Masson has written a revolutionary book that is sure to stir human emotions far and wide.

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From the Back Cover:

"In this latest leg of Jeffrey Moussaieff's journey through the animal kingdoms, this perceptive writer peels back our prejudices to reveal the depth of feeling and thought in animals' minds and the leap we must make to be worthy of understanding them. Eye-opening, warm, thoroughly engaging."
-Ingrid Newkirk, President of PETA

"I found The Pig Who Sang to the Moon wrenching, yet vitally important--at last a voice for the domestic animals who need it most. While every attention is paid to wild animals and to pets, farm animals are systematically ignored because the fact that we kill and eat these sentient beings is almost unbearable to acknowledge. Yet if that is what we are doing, we must acknowledge it. We must understand our actions. This powerful, excellent book is not for cowards."
-Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Hidden Lives of Dogs

"For years now, Jeffrey Masson has been illuminating the emotional world of animals, and helping to restore the beauty of the human-animal bond. I've wondered if he might ever turn his extraordinary gaze to the animals we eat. In this book he has done just that, and it is a whopper! The Pig Who Sang to the Moon will forever enrich, deepen and make real your relationship with extraordinary beings we farm for their meat, eggs, and milk. This is a great book!"
-John Robbins, author The Food Revolution and Diet for a New America

"At last, we have a book that treats farm animals as individuals, with emotions just like those that dogs and cats have. Masson is a fine writer, and this is his most important book yet. I hope everyone reads it. It will change the way people think about the animals they encounter everyday - on their plate."
-Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation, Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics, University Center for Human Values, Princeton University

"Jeffrey Masson has written another winner. He skillfully juxtaposes fascinating facts with moving tales about the amazing ways in which farm animals show us how they feel--and rounds off with a forceful ethical challenge to the reader. The days when farm animals were categorized simply as 'products' must surely now be over. This is, without doubt, a vital book of our times."
-Joyce D'Silva, CEO, Compassion in World Farming

About the Author:

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, former Sanskrit scholar and Projects Director of the Sigmund Freud Archives, has written more than a dozen books, including the bestsellers The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats, Dogs Never Lie About Love, and When Elephants Weep. A longtime resident of Berkeley, California, he now lives in New Zealand with his wife, two sons, and five cats.

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