cover image The Covenant of the Wild: Why Animals Chose Domestication

The Covenant of the Wild: Why Animals Chose Domestication

Stephen Budiansky / Author William Morrow & Company $18 (190p)

Angered by the animal rights movement, the author, assistant managing editor of U.S. News & World Report , attempts to demonstrate that domestication of animals is a natural product of evolution rather than a human invention. Drawing on recent scientific research, he expounds the theory that since the end of the Ice Age domesticated animals, as well as mice, rats and other such creatures have been biologically motivated to throw their lot in with humans for food and protection. Therefore, when we catch a house mouse and release it in the woods or stop a farmer from docking the tail of a lamb, we arrogantly interfere with a complex evolutionary process. He claims that an understanding of the true nature of domestication should make us take our obligation to animals more seriously, but he doesn't explain how. This biased book offers little for readers genuinely concerned about humans' capacity to destroy nature. It does, however, provide plenty of ammunition for those who seek to discredit animal rights advocates in particular and the environmental movement in general. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Feb.)