Placing Animals

Chapter 1. Geography and Human Animal Relations

Discussing the ongoing debate about what truly makes humans different from animals, and convoluted  relationships we have with animals. The idea that the boundary that separates humans from animals is not discrete or definite, but something that changes throughout history, over different regions of the earth, and within different societies and understandings of these relationships on personal levels.The intricate underlying fact that animals are completely intertwined with our everyday lives goes to show just how connected we are to them, and relates back to this concept of geography, and what geography means in relation to animals and the way we think about animals.

Why is it relevant?

Animal geography is relevant to our lives today due to the following reasons: our increasing effect on biological systems that contribute to environmental problems, the impacts of the modernist view of the world further separating humans from the “natural” world, and political conflicts over animal welfare and animal rights.

Chapter 2. A History of Animal Geography

This chapter deals with the idea that our definition for the word “animal” depends upon our geographically based social identities, and the importance of animals in our way of life. That animals are separate from humans because they are natural objects, and should be study as such separate from humans.

I find his take on the reasons for domestication to be rather interesting, as they seem to lead the thought more towards the need or desire of people to while being more domestic themselves to remain attached to the natural world by bringing the natural world into their homes and livelihoods. Reasons such as feelings of empathy or kinship or companionship being some of the main reasons for not only domestication, but also upon the selective breeding of some species (dogs and cats) as companion animals.

Chapter 3. Geographies of More-Than-Human Homes and Cultures

This chapter discusses quite fully the idea of pet keeping, its history, possible reasons that have been raised throughout history as to why humans feel the need to have pets, and how we treat these “pets” and what is considered right and wrong in an ethical sense. Personally I love the idea of having pets, but domesticated pets not exotic ones, in which case I am clearly making a distinction between “exotic” or “wild” and “domesticated. IT is true that at one point in history every pet had once been a “wild” animal free to do as it chose and not what we have wanted it to do. Now that we have selectively breed these animals to the point that I feel it is our responsibility to take care of them because after all, we are the ones that promote there breeding, there importance to us, and our lack of care in some regions or places in neutering or spaying our animals or animals that have been abandoned. To me owning a dog or a cat is far more than just controlling something that is from the nonhuman world because I consider my dog family, but it is not surprising in the least bit that one of the origins of domestication of wild animals was due to the human desire to control nonhuman entities.

Chapter 5. Down On the Farm: Geographies of Animal Parts

The reasons why people are bothered by the treatment and sanitary conditions of farms raising animals for meat, is most importantly impacted by the individual and what kind of connection they have to animals and there understanding of food. It is not surprising that some people are greatly impacted at seeing farm animals abused, mistreated, or brutally slaughtered while it may not even faze others. Your relationship to animals is highly variable, and something that is highly complex.

These were just some of the main things I found most interesting, complex, troublesome, and worthy of noting from the book.  Due to my own views on animals and our relationships to them, how we treat them, and why we feel the need to share our living spaces with them. From personal experience working at a dog park, I can see first hand what the effects of love and care can have on dogs, and how much time a family truly spends with their pets. There are some dogs that will come in for daycare 5 times a week, daycare hours are 8am-5pm, if your beloved pet is spending more time in a dog park than it is in your own home with your own family…what is the point in having a pet? I still find it concerning that some people do not consider the animal when they buy dogs, I find it is different for the most part when someone adopts a dog, instead they weigh the benefits of not having to listen to their kids ask for one anymore, and how cute it is as a puppy. These are just some of the reasons people buy dogs, and by no means the entire scope of reasons some people buy dogs, but if you purchase a pet I feel as though it is your responsibility to care for that animal from the time you get it to the time it dies. After all, you made the commitment, you payed the outrageous amount, and you gave it a home.

 

-Ashley Tims

 

 

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