1st Edition

Why We Love and Exploit Animals Bridging Insights from Academia and Advocacy

Edited By Kristof Dhont, Gordon Hodson Copyright 2020
    374 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    374 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This unique book brings together research and theorizing on human-animal relations, animal advocacy, and the factors underlying exploitative attitudes and behaviors towards animals.

    Why do we both love and exploit animals? Assembling some of the world’s leading academics and with insights and experiences gleaned from those on the front lines of animal advocacy, this pioneering collection breaks new ground, synthesizing scientific perspectives and empirical findings. The authors show the complexities and paradoxes in human-animal relations and reveal the factors shaping compassionate versus exploitative attitudes and behaviors towards animals. Exploring topical issues such as meat consumption, intensive farming, speciesism, and effective animal advocacy, this book demonstrates how we both value and devalue animals, how we can address animal suffering, and how our thinking about animals is connected to our thinking about human intergroup relations and the dehumanization of human groups.

    This is essential reading for students, scholars, and professionals in the social and behavioral sciences interested in human-animal relations, and will also strongly appeal to members of animal rights organizations, animal rights advocates, policy makers, and charity workers.


    1. Loving and exploiting animals: An introduction
    2. Kristof Dhont and Gordon Hodson

    3. The animal in me: Understanding what brings us closer and pushes us away from other animals
    4. Brock Bastian and Catherine Amiot

    5. The psychology of speciesism
    6. Kristof Dhont, Gordon Hodson, Ana C. Leite, and Alina Salmen

    7. Putting the "Free" back in freedom: The failure and future of animal welfare science
    8. Jessica Pierce

    9. Devaluing animals, "animalistic" humans, and people who protect animals
    10. Gordon Hodson, Kristof Dhont, and Megan Earle

    11. Kittens, pigs, rats, and apes: The psychology of animal metaphors
    12. Nick Haslam, Elise Holland, and Michelle Stratemeyer

    13. Uncanny valley of the apes
    14. Vanessa Woods and Brian Hare

    15. Why people love animals yet continue to eat them
    16. Jared Piazza

    17. Featherless chickens and puppies that glow in the dark: Moral heuristics and the concept of animal "naturalness"
    18. Christopher J. Holden and Harold Herzog

    19. Accomplishing the most good for animals
    20. Jon Bockman

    21. The meat paradox
    22. Steve Loughnan and Thomas Davies

    23. How we love and hurt animals: Considering cognitive dissonance in young meat eaters
    24. Hank Rothgerber

    25. Humane hypocrisies: Making killing acceptable
    26. John Sorenson

    27. The end of factory farming: Changing hearts, minds, and the system
    28. Gene Baur

    29. Steakholders: How pragmatic strategies can make the animal protection movement more effective
    30. Tobias Leenaert

    31. Animals as social groups: An intergroup relations analysis of human-animal conflicts
    32. Verónica Sevillano and Susan T. Fiske

    33. The moral march to meatless meals: The scripted Hebrew meat prohibitions versus the unscripted path to becoming vegetarian or vegan
    34. Paul Rozin and Matthew B. Ruby

    35. The ground of animal ethics
    36. Carol J. Adams and Matthew Calarco

    37. So why do we love but exploit animals? Reflections and solutions

    Gordon Hodson and Kristof Dhont


    Kristof Dhont, PhD, is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Kent, UK, and Director of SHARKLab, studying human intergroup and human-animal relations. He investigates the psychological factors underpinning speciesism, racism, and sexism and serves as Associate Editor (Group Processes & Intergroup Relations) and Consulting Editor (European Journal of Personality).

    Gordon Hodson, PhD, is a Professor of Psychology at Brock University, Canada. His research interests include prejudice, dehumanization and speciesism, ideology, and intergroup contact. He is an Editor-in-Chief (European Review of Social Psychology) and Associate Editor (Group Processes & Intergroup Relations). He is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science.

    "Providing in-depth analyses of the paradoxical ways in which we love and routinely exploit nonhuman animals, the insightful essays in Why We Love and Exploit Animals illuminate the critical importance of reshaping our relations with other animals to create a more compassionate society for both them and for us, a win-win for all."Marc Bekoff, Ph.D, co-author of The Animals' Agenda: Freedom, Compassion, and Coexistence in the Human Age and Unleashing Your Dog: A Field Guide to Giving Your Canine Companion the Best Life Possible, and Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado, USA

    "In this groundbreaking book, leading writers and animal advocates explore what editors Kristof Dhont and Gordon Hodson rightly describe as 'one of the most pressing contradictions in human behavior': our dual capacity to love and harm animals. If we hope to halt climate change, advance social justice, and build a healthy future, this book is essential reading." – Scott Plous, Professor of Psychology and Executive Director of the Social Psychology Network, Wesleyan University, USA

    "Why We Love and Exploit Animals is essential reading for anyone wishing to improve their understanding of this vitally important yet little-understood phenomenon -- and to make choices that help create a better world for all beings." – Melanie Joy, PhD, author of Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism and Powerarchy: Understanding the Psychology of Oppression for Social Transformation

    "This volume offers new and unique interdisciplinary perspectives on an issue, humans’ relationships with other animals, that is of significant everyday importance. The editors, both of whom are distinguished scholars in psychology, have brought leading international researchers and advocates together in enlightening and constructive conversation. The chapters in this skillfully edited volume are of consistently high quality. Individually and collectively, the authors balance research and practice, complexity of issues with clarity of presentation, and different and often competing perspectives to address provocative questions about the many facets of humans’ relations with animals. This book is of great value to researchers, who will be stimulated by the novel issues it raises (e.g., about altruism, empathy, and identity), and advocates, who will gain new insights into how people think about and treat animals. The chapters in this volume will stimulate new inquiry and informed discussion about a topic of great importance and interest today and in the future." – John F. Dovidio, Carl Iver Hovland Professor of Psychology and Public Health, Yale University, US

    "Dhont and Hodson assemble an impressive list of leading researchers studying how we think, feel, and behave toward animals. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand our paradoxical relationship with animals. Dhont and Hodson offer a compelling case for thinking seriously about how we both love and exploit animals—and how this paradox plays out both for individuals, but also for society as a whole." - Chris G. Sibley, Professor of Psychology, University of Auckland, Australia

    "The protection of animals has taken a front seat in the minds of the general public like never before. This book is for the seasoned animal activist, the academic, and anyone who has ever questioned the place of animals in society. Eminently readable, the authors help us to distil the changing landscape for animals, and our place within it. They take us on a journey of answering the hard questions we have all wondered about. A ‘must-have’ in your library." – Krista Hiddema, President of Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary, home of Esther the Wonder Pig, and Executive Director of For the Greater Good, www.Kristahiddema.com

    "Comprehensive, provocative, and exciting, this book provides timely insight into how we reconcile animal as man’s best friend and dinner. Dhont and Hodson have gathered together world leaders in animal advocacy, and the science of understanding animal exploitation; together, they present research, case studies, and stories that explain how we can revere, use, and abuse our fellow creatures. Finally, this ground-breaking book augurs change towards a kinder, greener, planet for both human and animal." – Fiona Kate Barlow, Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of the Centre for Research in Social Psychology, University of Queensland, Australia

    "Making legal progress for animals is impossible without grappling with the psychological and social mechanisms that allow people to simultaneously adore animals, while exploiting and harming them for food, fashion, experiments, and entertainment. Some of the insights in this stunning new book will delight you, some will discourage you, but they will all make you a better, smarter, and more evidence-driven animal advocate." – Camille Labchuck, Executive Director of Animal Justice

    "Advocacy for nonhuman animals has long been separated from animal-related academic research, to the detriment of both fields. Why We Love and Exploit Animals bridges that separation and provides unique insights framed by social science and informed by leading advocates and thinkers. It's an important book for anyone interested in animal protection!" – Che Green, Founder and Executive Director of Faunalytics

    "Dhont and Hodson’s book is a very rich collection of chapters from the major scholars in the field. This book is very thought provoking and a must read for everyone, vegetarians and non-vegetarians, interested in human-animal relations and animal advocacy!"Julia Becker, Professor of Social Psychology, University of Osnabrück, Germany