The American History Podcast

A Program Of Virginia Foundation for the Humanities


Pet Friendly

America is a pet-owning nation. Over 60% of households, in fact, possess some sort of furry or feathered friend, and we spend over $50 billion a year looking after them. But domestic animals have long been woven into the fabric of American life, even if we weren’t always treating them like members of the family. So in this episode, the Guys take a deep-dive into the history of human-animal interaction, and try to figure out how our lives have been shaped by the animals whose lives we control.

From the contributions made by pigs in the colonization of America itself, to the lethal justice carried out on circus elephants centuries later, the Guys and their guests explore what our relationships with animals have meant and continue to mean, and whether they serve as some sort of practice field for our relationships with each other.