Elephants on the Edge: What Animals Teach Us About Humanity
G.A. Bradshaw Yale University Press, 2010. 352 pp., 32 black-and-white illustrations, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches. ISBN: 9780300167832 Paper: $18.00 | Cloth: $28.00
The well-being of animals matters, and not only because, as Jeremy Bentham said, “The question is not whether they can talk or reason, but whether they can suffer.” What’s more, we’re in this world together, and how animal life fares, so, eventually, fares humanity.
As G.A. Bradshaw explains in Elephants on the Edge: What Animals Teach Us About Humanity, we have a lot to learn from our four-footed friends. Currently, through culling, warfare, and habitat loss, the elephant population is down to a few hundred thousand (from millions), and elephants are truly traumatized; they’ve lost their longstanding culture, and youngsters have few older elephants from which to learn.
In fact, humans have intervened, rehabilitating zoo and circus elephants and treating distressed elephants as they would human trauma victims. And there’s the lesson for us: destroy our bonds, our accumulated knowledge and togetherness, and we destroy ourselves. We’ll turn rogue like the elephants who have lost friends and family and are dazed and aggressive. Let’s heal together; but first, read Bradshaw’s book. —By Barbara Hoffert. Library Journal, 05/21/2009
- Favorite Science Books of 2009, Scientific American.
- Received an Honorable Mention in the Psychology category of the 2009 PROSE Award, presented by the Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers.
- Finalist for the 2009 Book of the Year Award, presented by ForeWord Magazine
- Received Honorable Mention for the 2010 Green Book Festival Awards in the Animals category