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Pull the udder one

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The surprise publishing bestseller of the autumn is the slim volume The Secret Life of Cows. The author, Rosamund Young, chronicles the life of Stephanie, Ivor, Olivia, Alice, Jake and the rest of the herd on her Worcestershire organic farm. She regards every bovine as an individual with a distinctive character and a full range of emotions and experiences. Their lives, she writes, are as full and varied as our own.

The secret life of cows may be richer than we realise. The secret life of humans, however, is more brutish than we care to admit. Ascribing human characteristics to animals won’t mean treating them more kindly. It means treating human beings rather worse.

To read my whole Times column (£), please click here.

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