The second part of this book addresses the geographies of animals from different categorisations, and I think it is very interesting that animals could have such varieties of categorisations. Chapter 4 discussed the geographies of working animals categorised as educational animals, entertainment animals, and service animals. In the educational category (might also fall along the service category), Urbanik talked about animals used for research, including dissections and autopsies on animals both alive and dead, testing for toxicity of the chemicals, cosmetics and education, and in modern days, even developed the cloned animals. Using animals for such researches, especially vivisection is always one of the biggest concerns from me. Even though I noticed that there are hierarchies among different species, which human is on top, I do feel there is something wrong with using animals for such purposes, as well as using them to entertain humans. I feel that such conditions of using animals are much cruel and severe that would be more of a moral concern we need to consider rather than simply using them to benefit our survival and security. I really appreciate that Urbanik addressed the variety of categorisations of the working animals, but I am actually felt uncomfortable when seeing her describing such cruelty using of animals in such plain languages. And I am sort of skipped the rest of this chapter because of that.
Chapter 5 discussed the geographies of farming animals by comparing and contrasting pastoral, industrial, and modern alternative practices of raising animals for their meat, eggs, and milk as well as for their fur. I have visited and learned some of the basic concepts about animal farming in the last few months, and during summer – when I visited Inner Mongolia for a volunteering program. Animal farming is one thing that is widely concerned in the U.S., which I think China has not developed as much concern for it yet – and I know some people even then about them positively, because it is a more effective way of raising animals which would cost less. I really enjoyed her discussion about the three waves of animal geography, and I felt it all make sense to me and this is how animals are slowly been modified, commanded, and controlled by people for domestication. And by viewing the the graphs of the global cattle, poultry, and dairy production and consumption, I am really surprised that China is one of the top 20% producer for all of them, but never the top 20% of the consumers. Because I was thinking China would also be the top consumers since we have a very huge population.
Chapter 6 is one of the most interesting chapter for me, which it talked about human relationships with wild animals, and the exploration of the places of encounter such as in urban areas, at ecotourism spots, while out hunting, and during human-wildlife conflict. In her discussion of human and wild animals’ relationship, Urbanik has not surprisingly brought up the concept of biodiversity of the different species on earth. I felt the surroundings of people’s houses (or apartment) is very different in urban and suburban or rural areas in China and America. In Ohio, most people lives in suburban or rural areas where there are even deers crossing the street, this is unlikely to be see in big cities here, but this would much more unlikely to be seen in suburban areas in China, and we would know most of these animals in a zoo, instead of their actual living conditions. When Urbanik continue to talk about the European colonisation which affected the human-animal relations, it reminded me the topic we are recently talking in my Ecology class. Human traveling could bring much more effects to the environment, as well as influencing the species from different regions and their interactions through competition, invasion, etc.
Overall, I think this book is very interesting in bringing up the concepts of animals from different perspectives, even though I had a little hard time in reading one of the chapters.