Pet Subjects (reviewing Jessica Pierce, Run, Spot, Run (2016))

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Book Review

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Run, Spot, Run is a timely critique of America’s contemporary pet animal industry. Exposing the assumptions of benevolence underlying our relationship with pet animals, Jessica Pierce questions the morality as well as the language of American pet culture. Pierce posits that “the most obvious solution . . . is to opt out of the system altogether and not have pets or support any facet of the pet industry”. But although this might be the most obvious and, one might add, the rational solution to America’s pet culture, it is not the solution that Pierce herself ends up promoting in Run, Spot, Run. Since animal lovers (herself included, it is implied) will not accept being cut off from their animal “friends”, Pierce offers an alternative and differential ethical construction: whereas all pet animals are essentially captive, she reasons, some are more captive than others. Braverman disagrees. Rather than open our home to new pets, thereby invoking all the ethical complexities that Pierce so lucidly explores in her path-breaking book, Braverman suggests that we simply open our eyes and hearts to the animals with whom we are already sharing our lives.

Publication Title

Times Literary Supplement