Herzog Discussion Questions

Not including reading time, plan for about 90 minutes to complete the following reading and prewriting activities.

Part I

Print Herzog’s article, then divide it into multi-paragraph segments, where each segment conveys a single idea. There are four segments in Herzog’s article and he’s pretty good about placing the topic sentence for each segment near its beginning. For each segment, find and write down its main idea, then summarize the examples Herzog uses to support it, and explain how each example supports his main idea. Then, for the first two segments of the article, make a text-to-self or text-to-world connection by giving and explaining an example of your own that supports that particular segment’s main idea.

Part II

Let’s test Herzog’s assertions about the ways we think about animals by thinking about how we might react to hearing about the following situation:

A family’s dog has been hit by a car and killed. The father sees no reason to waste good meat and has heard that dog meat is tasty, so he collects the dog’s body, butchers it, and prepares it for the grill. The family celebrates the life of the dog as they appreciate the savory flavor of its tender ribs.

First, notice and write down your first reaction to the scenario. How do you feel? What do you think? Write down as much as you can. Write for at least 5 minutes.

Next, describe what you would do if you were a member of the family. How would you react to the father’s action? Be as detailed as you can. Write for at least 5 minutes.

Next, explain the reasons behind the action you imagine yourself taking in this situation. Give at least four reasons.

Finally, conduct an experiment and spend at least 10 minutes trying to explain in writing what is wrong with eating dog meat. Keep whatever you write and bring it to class. Then, analyze your explanation – to what degree does your explanation depend on logical reasons? To what degree does it depend on emotional reasons?

Part III

Explain what Herzog means when he writes that he sits in the “troubled middle” on many ethical issues regarding animals. What, for Herzog, is useful about being in the “troubled middle?” Be sure to quote and paraphrase from Herzog’s article. Use signal phrases. Are there any ethical issues about which you can’t make your mind?