The Guardian Review: “How to Love Animals—The Case Against Modern Farming”

‘We don’t need whale oil and meat. Now we don’t need cow’s milk and leather either,’ writes Henry Mance. Photograph: JazzLove/ Alamy Stock Photo


REVIEW by PD Smith | The Guardian | May 1, 2021

Turning vegan … a series of investigations, presented with humour and humility, into our contradictory relationships with pets, livestock and wildlife

hile researching this book, Henry Mance worked briefly in an abattoir, or “a disassembly line”, as he aptly terms it. As he watched sheep being stunned, their throats slit and then hung up, still twitching, from metal hooks on a motorised track, Mance asked himself: “How did humans come to this?”

His book is an attempt to answer that question, as well as an exploration of how our attitudes to pets, livestock and wild animals have changed through history: “I wanted to know whether my love for animals was reflected in how I behaved, or whether – like my love for arthouse films – it was mainly theoretical.” … continued


A personal journey into our evolving relationships with animals, and a thought-provoking look at how those bonds are being challenged and reformed across disciplines

We love animals, but does that make the animals’ lives any happier? With factory farms, climate change and deforestation, this might be the worst time in history to be an animal. If we took animals’ experiences seriously, how could we eat, think and live differently?

How to Love Animals is a lively and important portrait of our evolving relationship with animals, and how we can share our planet fairly. Mance works in an abattoir and on a pig farm to explore the reality of eating meat and dairy. He explores our dilemmas over hunting wild animals, over-fishing the seas, visiting zoos and saving wild spaces. What might happen if we extended the love we show to our pets to other sentient beings? In an age of extinction and pandemics, our relationship with animals has become unsustainable. Mance argues that there has never been a better time to become vegetarian or vegan, and that the conservation movement can flourish, if people in wealthy countries shrink our footprint.

Mance seeks answers from chefs, farmers, activists, philosophers, politicians and tech visionaries who are redefining how we think about animals. Inspired by the author’s young daughters, his book is a story of discovery and hope that outlines how we can find a balance with animals that fits with our basic love for them.

Barbara's Bookstores have been Chicago's independent booksellers since 1963.