AirTalk for May 5, 2014

The new age of pets: the rise of cats and dogs from feral to family to…citizen?

“Citizen Canine: Our Evolving Relationship with Cats and Dogs” by David Grimm explores the status of cats and dogs in the United States.

Once considered property, now pets can own their own. In fact, cats and dogs now have more rights and protections than any other animal in the country.

In his new book, pet lover and award-winning journalist David Grimm explores the evolution of the status of our four-legged friends, from their wild origins to their current elevated status. Grimm examines how changes in social attitudes toward pets and several remarkable court cases have some worried that cats and dogs could be on the verge of becoming legal persons.

But what does it mean to be a person and could our furry friends one day fit the bill? What are the social implications of holding our pets in such high esteem? Practically speaking, could our affection for cats and dogs put scientists and farmers who utilize other types of animals in a precarious position? Who decides who gets to be a “person” in this world - scientists, philosophers, the courts?

Guest:

David Grimm, an award-winning journalist and the Online News Editor of Science. He is the author of “Citizen Canine: Our Evolving Relationship with Cats and Dogs.”

 


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