Animals and Nature
336 pages, 6 1/4 x 9 1/4
Release Date:26 Oct 2005
Release Date:01 May 1999
Release Date:01 Oct 2007

Animals and Nature

Cultural Myths, Cultural Realities

UBC Press

“No one tradition alone offers a sufficient respect for other species. Taken together, they may offer a prospect for saner human-animal relations.” – From the book

Western conceptions of objectivity and individuality have resulted in a readier appreciation of the worth of the animals and nature than has been recognized. This provocative book takes issue with the popular view that the Western cultural tradition, in contrast to Eastern and Aboriginal traditions, has encouraged attitudes of domination and exploitation towards nature, particularly animals.

Preece argues that the Western tradition has much to commend it, and that descriptions of Aboriginal and Oriental orientations have often been misleadingly rosy, simplified and codified according to current fashionable concepts.

Animals and Nature is the result of six years’ intensive study into comparative religion, literature, philosophy, anthropology, mythology and animal welfare science.


  • 2000, Winner - Outstanding Academic Title, Choice Magazine
  • 2002, Shortlisted - Raymond Klibansky Prize, Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences
Preece is a scholar of enormous intellect who makes the long-overdue case that western civilization need look no further than its own myths and traditions to justify the ethical treatment of animals. Terry Glavin, Georgia Straight
An incredibly detailed documentation of western theory and practice of humanity’s relationship with nature and especially with animals. Diane Baltaz, Canadian Forum
A new and surprising religious target, native Indian spirituality, is discovered in this groundbreaking book by Rod Preece. Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun
No previous book offers nearly the breadth of Preece's erudite multidisciplinary work. A unique and valuable book, strongly recommended. W.P. Hogan, Choice
Rod Preece teaches in the Department of Political Science at Wilfried Laurier University. He is the author of Animal Welfare, Human Values and Brute Souls, Happy Beasts, and Evolution (UBC Press, 2005).



Introduction: The Denigration of the West

1 Advocacy Scholarship

2 “Beastliness” and “Brutality”

3 Animals All?

4 Rationalism

5 Alienation from Nature

6 From the Great Chain of Being to the Theory of Evolution

7 Aboriginal and Oriental Harmony with Nature

8 Gaea and the Universal Spirit


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