By Amy Hatkoff
Stewart, Tabori & Chang
176 pages; $19.95
Amy Hatkoff makes clear in her new book, The Inner World of Farm Animals: Their Amazing Social, Emotional, and Intellectual Capabilities, that these animals feel pleasure and sadness, excitement and resentment, depression, fear and pain.
The book is a refreshing combination of science and storytelling. It has gorgeous photographs, poignant stories of rescued farm animals, and simplified results of profound research revealing animals' intellect and emotion.
Chickens, for instance, as well as other farm animals, pass cultural knowledge along to their offspring by teaching about food and safety—something long considered unique to human intelligence. Sheep have the same specialized part of the brain as humans to help them recognize and remember faces. Geese exhibit the same physical signs of grief as humans; and cows are helpful to others, often intentionally acting to benefit the whole group, with no immediate benefit to themselves.
By offering a glimpse into their inner world, Hatkoff challenges the reader to create a necessarily more humane outer world for these vibrant animals.