Friday, January 18, 2008

Review: Animals in Translation -by Temple Grandin

There are basically two approaches to reviewing a book: critical or descriptive. Since author Grandin has a PhD in animal science, this retired farmer will not stray from the descriptive mode.

Although co-authored by Catherine Johnson, the voice is that of Ms Grandin -and what an authoritative and unique voice this is. Their book should be on the reference shelf of every farmer, animal breeder and veterinary student. Even the reader who does not have to contend with chickens, cows, horses or pigs, will benefit from insights provided through a special lens.
Grandin contends the worst thing an owner of a farm animal or household pet can do is make the animal feel afraid. The pages devoted to understanding the temperament of the various breeds of dogs is a great help in the selection of a family puppy; this alone is well worth the price of the book.

As a teaser, Ms Grandin provides chapter excerpts on her web site:
In an associated blog, Grandin and Johnson relay a Wall Street Journal report on agressiveness by wild turkeys towards humans. Herein, naturalists warn that turkeys may join the "nuisance" ranks of city wildlife along with whitetailed deer and Canada geese. The bloggers' translation: Never let bulls, dogs or Toms think they're dominant.

PS Grandin's new book, "Animals Make Us Human" subtitled, "Creating the Best Life For Animals" is another great addition to the animal handler's bookshelf.