For the first time in history, humans sit unchallenged at the top of the food chain. As we encroach on the wild and a vast wave of extinctions gathers force, how has our relationship to animals changed?
In this dazzling piece of reportage, Anna Krien investigates the contemporary animal kingdom and our place in it. From pets to food, from wildness to science experiments, Krien also reveals how animals are faring in this new world order. Examples range from the joyful to the deeply unsettling.
As Krien delves deeper, she finds that animals can trigger primal emotions in us, which we are often not willing to acknowledge. "Us and Them" is a clear-eyed look at how we do - and should - treat animals, and an original look at everything from animal lawyers to Indonesian abattoirs. It is also a meditation on humanness and animalness, sameness and otherness, that sheds new light on our contemporary obsession with animals.
I listened to this after reading Krien's fantastic book on the contentious politics of forestry and protest in Tasmania. I just think she's awesome. She is not afraid to interrogate her own position in relation to her extremely difficult material. She bravely inserts herself into difficult scenarios and watches and listens, asking the questions that we want to ask - she is questioning, curious, uncertain - she has the truthful chime of a child. She somehow manages to make even statistics engaging. She has a few idiosyncratic pronunciations which annoyed my husband, but I found her utterly adorable. I hope my daughters grow up to be Anna Krien.
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