A Prologue identifies the book’s aim to defend a misanthropic verdict on humankind based on our relationships with animals. These relationships include our treatment of animals, but also similarities and differences between humans and animals. The chapter then identifies the relevant notion of misanthropy, distinguishing it from both pessimism and anti-natalism. Philosophical misanthropy is not hatred of human beings, but a negative judgement based on the failings of humankind. These include moral vices, but also ones inimical to the good life – like vanity and over-ambition – that are not moral failings in today’s narrow sense of ‘moral’. The chapter concludes by identifying the primary target of the misanthrope’s verdict not as individual people, but something more ‘collective’ – humankind or human forms of life.