Whether it was creating super-fast thoroughbreds, or fashioning dogs small enough to fit in your sleeve, animal breeding was an obsession of the Renaissance era. And, as Mackenzie Cooley reveals, animal husbandry prompted people to think about whether humankind could also be improved by selective breeding. Speaking to Ellie Cawthorne about her Cundill Prize-shortlisted book The Perfection of Nature, she discusses how ideas about animal breeding tied into colonialism, race and eugenics.