Man’s best friend…

Human Animal by Total Giovanni

Common things we might say to each other without thinking twice about why it’s even said. It’s definitely easy to say that we have a weird (or at least unique) connection with animals, so much so that we even have different relationships with different species. It’s weird how we as humans can expect so much and so little from animals that we as humans (well most of us anyway) deem inferior to ourselves to the degree that we limit their rights based on their capacity for domestication, utility and survival, . The dog, the cow and the tiger for example sit in each of these somewhat strange categories. The way we treat them and relate to them can only really be based upon our similarities, differences and emotional comparisons.

If you think about dogs for example, we have arguably the strongest connection to these animals over any animal on Earth and it’s not exactly clear why either. Much of how we relate to and define animals is far from clear when you think about. I for one remember training my dog “Laika” (named after the first dog in space) from it’s earliest age to sit, lie down and even shake… things humans do. Even the naming of animals is a characteristic only common amongst our species. Funnier still in some cultures dogs are eaten as food, leading us to consider the impacts of our own cultural diversity.  

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My dog Laika wearing a GoPro

Don’t have a cow man

An animal that we would associate with meat, milk and agriculture. But the reality is that the packaging we see that depicts a happy creature roaming green pastures is far from it’s likely conveyer belt lifestyle. However in cultures such as India the cow is sacred and deeply respected, far from our such treatment in western civilisation.

Eye of tiger

A beautiful, fierce and majestic creature that’s dangerous relationship with man has caused it to be both feared and respected for it’s power. Both of these emotional attributions have lead humans to kill these animals out of both protection in the past and as a trophy today, pushing them to the brink of extinction. All of this has caused the tiger to be an animal of spectacle, locked away in zoos for our amusement and profit when hunted and sold illegally as trophies.

The argument for equality amongst animals is something that cannot be so easily achieved and is often challenged by society’s overwhelming idea that animals are less that humans, a hard truth to live with.

In summing up, I will leave you a quote from the field biologist George Schaller:

I enjoy watching big beautiful, interesting animals. But you can’t just sit around watching them. The advantage of studying these animals is that they draw attention. It’s easier to get money to study a panda than it is to study a leech. Now that doesn’t mean that the panda is necessarily more important biologically than the leech. It simply means when you get the funds to study and protect a big, beautiful animal, you automatically protect the the leeches and ants and all other species in the area. We’re always talking about biodiversity, but that’s an abstract term. We’re not saving the panda because of biodiversity. We’re saving it because it arouses our emotion. And the emotional component is extraordinarily important to get the public behind conservations.

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