Cows grieve and weep, chickens cuddle lovingly with horses, and pigs croon happily to the moon in the magical world explored by best-selling writer Jeffrey Masson in his newest animal oeuvre, The Pig Who Sang to the Moon: The Emotional World of Farm Animals. Masson, an ardent animal advocate who has already investigated the emotional lives and mysterious ways of cats, dogs and elephants (The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats; Dogs Never Lie About Love; When Elephants Weep), now focuses compassionate attention on the animal citizens of barnyard and pasture: pigs and chickens, goats, sheep, cows and ducks.

His book provides an endearing, sometimes painful, peek into the emotional landscapes of "farmed" animals (animals raised solely for human consumption and use), and explores their capacity for happiness and suffering in a confined breeding environment. Masson asserts that farm animals have individual personalities and take pleasure in the same things humans do: Chickens love to sunbathe, lambs and goats are happiest at play, and pigs are fond of moonlight, music and song! (There is photographic evidence of porcine warbling in the book's preface.) Is it right, then, the author asks, to raise animals for food especially using often inhumane farming methods? Masson's answer is an emphatic "no," and after reading his impassioned arguments, even the staunchest meat-eater might agree. Though this book is an enlightening weave of animal anecdote and scientific reference, it is also a radical plea for vegetarianism. The author regrettably offers no balancing discussion of the science of nutrition, or of the mechanics of the natural food chain, for example. But he does raise important questions concerning the sanctity of all sentient life on our planet. Masson's dream is of an egalitarian world where animal life is equal in value to human life, and in The Pig Who Sang to the Moon he presents poignant evidence to support his cause.

comments powered by Disqus