Get an Introspective Look at the Animals We Hate in

Get an Introspective Look at the Animals We Hate in “Trash Animals”

There’s a scene at the beginning of Inglourious Basterds where Christoph Waltz’s character (Col. Hans Landa) is describing how the average person would react if a rat ran across their floor. The exchange goes something like this:

Col. Hans Landa: If a rat were to scamper through your front door right now, would you greet it with hostility?
Perrier LaPadite: I suppose I would.
Landa: Has a rat ever done anything to you to create this animosity you feel towards them?
LaPadite: Rats spread diseases. They bite people.
Landa: Rats were the cause of the bubonic plague, but that’s some time ago. I propose to you, any disease a rat could spread, a squirrel could equally carry. Would you agree? Yet I assume you don’t share the same animosity with squirrels that you do with rats, do you?
LaPadite: No.

Pigeons, rats, cockroaches, snakes–these are the animals that make our skin crawl for reasons both understandable and irrational. Trash Animals: How We Live with Nature’s Filthy, Feral, Invasive, and Unwanted Species is a collection of essays and memoirs that cast a different light on society’s most hated pests. From essays that compare snakes to homeless people, to others that focus more on animal admirers who have a devoted kinship with certain pests, the scope of material in Trash Animals is large and varied. But regardless if you’re reading a true story about wolf dens or an essay about a roach-infested house, all the pieces tie a single theme together about mankind’s struggle to accept creatures that society has deemed “disgusting.” Even if you don’t agree with the writers, it still makes an interesting/fun read, especially if you love underdog stories.

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