A generation ago, most academics would have been surprised to hear of a book with this title. Indeed, opinions in the learned world on this subject had not changed very much since 1787 when (as Maehle reports) ‘many people could not understand at all how it occurred to an author to write about such a topic’. Interest in relations between humans and animals would have struck most scholars as hardly professional, and the topic of human attitudes to animals would not have sounded at all interesting.