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Stories Rabbits Tell

A Natural and Cultural History of a Misunderstood Creature

Susan E. Davis and Margo DeMello


Revered as a symbol of fertility, sexuality, purity and childhood, beloved as a children’s pet and widely represented in the myths, art and collectibles of almost every culture, the rabbit is one of the most popular animals known to humans. Ironically, it has also been one of the most misunderstood and abused. Indeed, the rabbit is the only animal that our culture adores as a pet, idolizes as a storybook hero and slaughters for commercial purposes.

Stories Rabbits Tell takes a comprehensive look at the rabbit as a wild animal, ancient symbol, pop culture icon, commercial “product” and domesticated pet. In so doing, the book explores how one species can be simultaneously adored as a symbol of childhood (think Peter Rabbit), revered as a symbol of female sexuality (e.g., Playboy Bunnies), dismissed as a “dumb bunny” in domesticity and loathed as a pest in the wild. The authors counter these stereotypes with engaging analyses of real rabbit behavior, drawn both from the authors' own experience and from academic studies, and place those behaviors in the context of current debates about animal consciousness. In a detailed investigative section, the authors also describe conditions in the rabbit meat, fur, pet and vivisection industries, and raise important questions about the ethics of treating rabbits as we do.

The first book of its kind, Stories Rabbits Tell provides invaluable information and insight into the life and history of an animal whom many love, but whom most of us barely know. As such, it is a key addition to the current thinking on animal emotions, intelligences and welfare, and the way that human perceptions influence the treatment of individual species.



320 pp.  
5 1/2" x 8 1/2"

Lantern Books

Paperback
$25.00

Published:  August 2003

978-1-59056-044-0




Award-winning journalist and editor Susan E. Davis has written for a wide range of publications, including Sports Illustrated, Mademoiselle, The Nation and The Washington Post. She is the author of The Sporting Life and Baby Play. She is a national educator with the House Rabbit Society and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two children, two rabbits and miscellaneous other small creatures. See all books by Susan E. Davis
Margo DeMello received her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from U.C. Davis in 1995, and currently teaches at Canisius College in the Anthrozoology Masters program, and at Central New Mexico Community College, teaching sociology, cultural studies, and anthropology.

She is the Program Director for Human-Animal Studies at Animals & Society Institute, and the President of House Rabbit Society. She also volunteers for Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary and Prairie Dog Pals.

Her books include Bodies of Inscription: A Cultural History of the Modern Tattoo Community (Duke University Press 2000), Stories Rabbits Tell: A Natural and Cultural History of a Misunderstood Creature (with Susan Davis, Lantern 2003), Low-Carb Vegetarian (Book Publishing Co. 2004), Why Animals Matter: The Case for Animal Protection (with Erin Williams, Prometheus 2007), The Encyclopedia of Body Adornment (Greenwood 2007), Feet and Footwear (ABC-CLIO 2009), Teaching the Animal: Human-Animal Studies Across the Disciplines (Lantern 2010), Faces Around the World (ABC-CLIO 2012), Animals and Society: An Introduction to Human-Animal Studies (Columbia University Press 2012), and Speaking for Animals: Animal Autobiographical Writing (Routledge 2012). Her newest books will be Inked (ABC-CLIO 2014), and Body Studies: An Introduction (Routledge 2014).

She lives outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico, with a husband, four Chihuahuas, three cats, a parrot, and a few dozen house rabbits.
See all books by Margo DeMello


Related Titles

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  • Cats and Dogs are People Too!
  • Human-Animal Studies : A Bibliography

    Related Titles by Subject:

    Animals ; Animal Advocacy: Companion Animals and Animals: Companion Animals
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