The Animals Among Us by John Bradshaw review – the joy of pets
Anthrozoology is a term coined by John Bradshaw and six other academics in the 1980s that describes the study of the “human-animal bond”. This book sees the science applied through history, starting in prehistoric times and ending today. He discusses archaeological evidence that points to the earliest example of an animal being kept as a pet, the status of the pet during the Victorian era and the emergence of pedigree dog breeds. The Animals Among Us is packed with facts that, collectively, form a broad and general history of our (predominantly the west’s; nonwestern cultures most often take on the role of “other”) relationships with domesticated animals. Bradshaw debunks several myths about pets having traceable benefits for health and other common misconceptions about pet ownership, citing anthropological and biological studies. While clumsily written at times, this is an enjoyable celebration of pets that, through its exploration of the uses, treatment rights and status of pets, shines a light on the behaviour and psychology of not only the animals, but also their owners.
• The Animals Among Us by John Bradshaw is published by Allen Lane (£20). To order a copy for £15 go to guardianbookshop.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p amp;p over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min p amp;p of £1.99