480: Animal Sacrifice

480: Animal Sacrifice

Nov 30, 2012
What animals sacrifice for us, and what we sacrifice for them. Including a story from Susan Orlean about dogs in World War II, and the This American Life staff confronts Ira about his dog, Piney.

Photo: Dog wearing suicide bomb vest, 1943.
  • Ira admits there is a question he’s wanted to know the answer to since he was a kid in Hebrew school: Why is it that Jews don’t sacrifice animals anymore? Especially since the Old Testament is so clear that God wants it? Ira talks to religious studies scholar Jonathan Klawans to find out. Jonathan is the author of a book covering this subject, Purity, Sacrifice and the Temple. (5 minutes)AnimalsReligion

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  • Susan Orlean tells us about the moment America asked untrained household canines to make the ultimate sacrifice: to serve in World War II. Susan talks to Gina Snyder, who remembers being a teenager when her dog Tommy joined the service. And Susan digs into the national archives to learn the fate of other dogs that fought on the front lines. A version of this story appears in Susan’s book Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend. (20 minutes)

    Web extra: here is a military dog use training video, and here is a War Department Film Bulletin, called "Use of War Dogs." (No sound on that second one.)

    Photos and documents from this story:AnimalsMilestonesWar

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  • Camas Davis tells a true story about a rabbit kidnapping that saves some rabbits' lives, kills those same rabbits' babies, and leaves students in a Portland rabbit-butchering class scratching their heads. (11 minutes)ActivismAnimalsFood/Drinks/Cooking
    Song:
    • "Dead Rabbit", Rose Polenzani

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  • This American Life producer Nancy Updike reveals to Ira the staff’s concern about his dog, Piney. (17 minutes)Animals

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Photo

Dog wearing suicide bomb vest, 1943.

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