Placing Animals Part I

For the most part I enjoyed this book even though it was sort of written in textbook form, it wasn’t as dry. Until this year, I haven’t really noticed or knew about the human-animal relationship. Now looking back I realized the complexity of the relationship because humans have put themselves as superior in some instances and not others. The book mentioned how the human-animal relationship is inconsistent. We typically separate ourselves from animals, but then we consider our pets as part of the family. However most wouldn’t put themselves in the same categories as farm animals or wild animals. I know we considered my old dog a part of the family.

Are humans truly superior? Is there really a separation? How would we know since we don’t know what animals are thinking. It makes me think of the quote, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Like humans other animals have complex social interactions, survival skills, communication, cultures, families, and learning capabilities. Just because animals don’t communicate or do the same actions as we do, should they be considered any less?

Also I found the section about working animals interesting, I didn’t realize how many animals we use for our benefit. The working animals are split into the 3 categories education, services, and entertainment. To me this section was ethically complex because zoos can be inhumane and not ethical, but they do provide education. Are military dogs necessary? Are military dogs any worse then like a therapy dog? They are both trained animals to protect and assist humans. Just military dogs are in more fatal situations. Is it right for the use of mice for research labs? If it was a dog or cat being used for research, people would be outraged.

What should be realized is that the relationship and view between animals and humans is varying depending on culture and geography. Just like nature our views of animals are culturally constructed and there is no absolute definition. Humans need to recognize how culture affects are views and treatment of animals. That culture is reinforced in us especially through media. For example, the Superbowl Budweiser commercial every year pulls at peoples’ hearts because of the adorable relationship between a puppy and a Budweiser Clydesdale. It is marketed because they know culturally we love puppies and this may make us favor this brand more than others.

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