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Hal Herzog
Hal Herzog is Professor of Psychology at Western Carolina University and the author of Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It Is So Hard to Think Straight About Animals. Hal Herzog’s articles have appeared in many academic journals, including Science, The American Psychologist, and The American Scholar, as well as media outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and New Scientist. His posts on human-animal relationships can also be found at Animals and Us.

Entries by Hal Herzog

Heavy Petting: Pets (Especially Dogs) Enhance Sex Appeal

(0) Comments | Posted November 17, 2015 | 4:26 PM

In a 2008 experiment, two French social psychologists had a handsome young Frenchman named Antoine approach 240 randomly selected women and ask them for their phone numbers so they could go on a date. The catch was that half the time Antoine was alone and half the time he was...

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Vegetarians and Money: Results From a National Survey

(6) Comments | Posted August 31, 2015 | 6:01 PM

On Saturday mornings in the summer, I head for the North Asheville Farmers' Market. The diversity and quality of produce at the market is impressive, but good veggies don't come cheap. Tomatoes are running $4 a pound this year as compared to $1.48 a pound for chicken breasts at my...

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Is It Okay To Eat A Pet Cat?

(13) Comments | Posted August 7, 2015 | 3:00 PM

The psychologist Jonathan Haidt is a pioneer in the study of disgust as motivator of moral judgments. In some of his early experiments, he asked individuals to evaluate the ethics of situations which are upsetting even though they do not involve the infliction of suffering or harm. One of his...

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Congress Should Declare Mice Are Animals -- Now!

(6) Comments | Posted April 22, 2015 | 2:13 PM

In 2002, North Carolina senator Jesse Helms slipped language into a normally mundane farm bill stipulating that rats, mice and birds are not actually animals. Helms was kowtowing to the wishes of Big Pharma and some major research universities. As a result of this taxonomic rope-a-dope, today most non-human creatures...

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Fifty Shades of Animal Sex and the Evolution of Sadomasochism

(2) Comments | Posted March 5, 2015 | 4:44 PM

As researcher, I study the psychology of human-animal interactions, but at Western Carolina University, I am known as "the guy who teaches the sex class." When the book Fifty Shades of Grey took over the best seller list, I started getting lots of questions from my students about sadomasochism, and...

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The Decision to Neuter Pets Just Got More Complicated

(15) Comments | Posted March 1, 2013 | 2:06 PM

Ben Hart likes to spin my head around. He is a veterinary behaviorist from the University of California at Davis, and we get together every year at the annual meeting of the International Society for Anthrozoology. Last year in Cambridge he told me about a new research project he was...

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Killer Kitties: No Easy Answers

(21) Comments | Posted February 8, 2013 | 4:05 PM

I have had two serial killers in my life. The first was a former student. A couple of years after he graduated from my university, he murdered his father, his mother, his younger brother, and the family dog. After he was arrested, the local television station sent a...

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Crustacean Rights: Are Stone Crabs Lucky, Really?

(1) Comments | Posted January 9, 2013 | 1:15 PM

Lately, I've been thinking about the moral status of invertebrates. In her book Speciesism, animal rights activist Joan Dunayer argues that a spider has as much right to life as a person. Dunayer is the exception to the general rule that most Americans, including most animal protectionists, don't...

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The Problem With Incest: Evolution, Morality, and the Politics of Abortion

(58) Comments | Posted October 9, 2012 | 4:06 PM

Mr. James Russell of Cashiers, N.C., recently justified meat eating in the Asheville Citizen-Times by explaining that humans are biologically classified as carnivores. His reasoning was simple: The consumption of animal flesh is right because it is natural.

Unfortunately, Mr. Russell got his facts wrong. Zoologists place humans in the...

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Are You an Animal Person? It Could Be in Your Genes

(12) Comments | Posted September 7, 2012 | 1:09 PM

Occasionally a sentence will change your life. In my case, it was when the doctor looked up from the sonogram screen and said, "Congratulations. You're having twins." After the shock wore off, I realized that twins are a gift to a biological psychologist. I was going to experience the nature-nurture...

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Why Are Rape Victims More -- Not Less -- Likely To Get Pregnant?

(24) Comments | Posted August 27, 2012 | 11:45 AM

Representative Todd Akin of Missouri made two mistakes when he claimed "From what I understand from doctors, it's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down."

His first mistake was linguistic. The term "legitimate rape"...

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Do Pets Prevent Sudden Death in Children With Epilepsy?

(7) Comments | Posted August 20, 2012 | 7:14 PM

According to the National Weather Service, the average American has a 1 in 10,000 chance of being hit by lightning. These odds, however, are of no condolence to my mother, who was struck by lightning while sitting around a campfire, or my friend Rod Baird, who was hit while golfing....

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Do Wild Baboons Kidnap Puppies... and Keep Them As Pets?

(24) Comments | Posted August 3, 2012 | 12:20 PM

In a previous post , I argued that humans are the only species to keep pets. (Calm down -- I know about Koko's kitten, etc. While long-term odd couple attachments between species are common in homes, wildlife parks, and in captivity, they don't seem to exist in the...

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Are Humans The Only Animal That Keep Pets?

(35) Comments | Posted July 25, 2012 | 6:45 PM

Wild animals don't keep pets.

Oh, I can already hear the howls of objections. What about Koko's Kitten, you ask, referring to the well-known case of the American Sign Language-trained gorilla who fell in love with a kitty cat? What about Owen, the 600 pound baby...

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Cancer, Oral Sex and Presidential Politics: Did Bill Clinton Cause an Increase in Throat Cancer?

(113) Comments | Posted July 5, 2012 | 5:51 PM

One of my favorite toys from the wunderkinds who gave us Google Earth is Google's Ngram Viewer. Ngram is a free and easy to use graphics program that tracks the ebb and flow of ideas through a culture. At its heart is a massive data set consisting of 500...

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