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OUR SYMPHONY WITH ANIMALS: On Health, Empathy, and Our Shared Destinies
by Aysha Akhtar, M.D.

OUR SYMPHONY WITH ANIMALS: On Health, Empathy, and Our Shared Destinies by Aysha Akhtar, M.D.

Pegasus * June 2019 * 336 pages with 8 pages of color photographs

A leader in the fields of animal ethics and neurology — the author is a woman, a doctor, and an abuse survivor — examines the rich human-animal connection and how interspecies empathy enriches our well-being.

Deftly combining medicine, social history and personal experience, OUR SYMPHONY WITH ANIMALS is the first book by a physician to show that humans and animals have a shared destiny ‹ our well-being is deeply entwined. Dr. Aysha Akhtar reveals how empathy for animals is the next step in our species¹ moral evolution and a vital component of human health. When we include animals in our circle of empathy, we not only liberate animals, we also liberate ourselves. Akhtar draws on the accounts of a varied cast of characters‹a former mobster, a pediatrician, an industrial chicken farmer, a serial killer, and a deer hunter‹to reveal what happens when we both break and forge bonds with animals.

Interwoven is Dr. Akhtar¹s own story, a ³skinny brown girl from a poor family² who was bullied in school and sexually abused by her uncle. Feeling abandoned by humanity, it was only when she identified with Sylvester, a dog who had also been abused, that she find the strength to sound the alarm on both of their abuses.

Humans are neurologically designed to empathize with animals. Violence against animals goes against our nature. In equal measure, the love we give to animals biologically reverberates back to us. OUR SYMPHONY WITH ANIMALS is the definitive account for why our relationships with animals matter.

Aysha Akhtar, M.D. is double Board-Certified in both Neurology and Preventive Medicine and has a Master¹s Degree in Public Health. She serves as Medical Officer for the Office of Counterterrorism and Emerging Threats, and agency of the Food and Drug Administration ‹ for which she has Top Secret Security Clearance. She is an Officer (Lieutenant Commander) in the U.S. Public Health Services, in which she deploys to assist with national public health emergencies.

She is also a Fellow of the Oxford Centre forAnimal Ethics and is a Consultant Editor for the Journal of Animal Ethics, and the author of Animals and Public Health.