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BONES OF CONTENTION: Animals and Religion in Contemporary Japan, by Barbara R. Ambros. University of Hawaii Press, 2012, 255 pp., $29 (paperback)

Bumping into a Japanese acquaintance on the street recently, I inquired where he was going on his day off dressed in a formal business suit. A worker at a major pharmaceutical company, he explained that he was participating in a ceremony honoring the spirits of all the animals that had suffered during experiments in their laboratories. A Buddhist priest would be conducting the rites.

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