Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson

Reading Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson’s The Pig Who Sang to the Moon: the Emotional World of Farm Animals. Masson’s books have always been pleasant romps through the intriguing world of animal intelligence, but here he addresses a sobering reality. Domesticated animals (besides dogs and cats) have formed an intimacy with human beings over centuries, yet are treated with astonishing cruelty and contempt. Pigs, hens, sheep, cows, and ducks, observed first hand in safe and natural settings, are gentle and spontaneous creatures full of simplicity, affection, and obvious intelligence. They have evolved to be naturally congenial creatures with a clear range of consciousness familiar to humans. Yet they are confined in painful and filthy conditions within ghastly mills where they not only suffer but are unnaturally chemicalized, then slaughtered, in order to be eaten by humans. Much of this is due to our sheer ignorance and indifference, Masson believes. It is a matter of becoming aware of what we subsidize, support, and consume, just as with thoughts, behavior, and cultural products as a whole. As Gandhi said, humanity will never evolve spiritually until it leaves off the killing and eating of sentient beings.