Relationship between domestic animals and humans

Domestication of animals - Wikipedia

relationship between domestic animals and humans

other. This is not what has happened with people and their domesticated animals and especially the human relationship with companion animals. Domestication. Human/Farm Animal Relationships. Jack L. Albright. Purdue University. Follow this and additional works at: Part of. Abstract: Humans have many kinds of relationships with domesticated Scientific literature on effects of human–animal relationships and interactions in a .

Family companion dogs do a marvelous job of keeping their humans happier, healthierand mentally better balanced while the humans give the dogs companionship and play as well as the mundane necesities of food, shelter, and health care.

Some of the health benefits to humans are well proven by research, such as the better survival of heart attack patients who live with any kind of pet. The value of dogs willing work in assisting humans with various disabilities is well known and yet we may only have begun to discover their full abilities in these regards.

Because there are so many cases of pet dogs appointing themselves to be seizure warning dogs and to give other forms of handicap assistance, without any consious training from the human involved though I think the humans almost certainly are giving praise and other rewards when the dog offers these self-invented behaviorsit is clear that the dog is getting some kind of enjoyment out of doing these useful things.

Cats have only been domesticated for a few thousand years, and in some senses are less completely domesticated than dogs are. But there is no doubt that the relationship of house-cat and human family usually is mutually beneficial when the human keeps up his end of the bargain and that pet cats keep their people happierhealthier, and more sane than otherwise.

As rodent control in stables and on farms, the cat's services are both enjoyable to the cat and so valuable to humans that there have been societies that have worshipped cats for this reason. I think worship may be going too far, but the cats think it just barely goes far enough. To that end, any legislation regarding dog and cat breeding or dog and cat sterilization MUST recognize that without responsible breeders there will be no more puppies and kittens with the temperament and behavior qualities to become good pets.

Good breeders must be protected, while the not so good ones are discouraged or restricted. A good breederdefined as one who produces puppies or kittens with the qualities needed to become good pets, is one who raises litters inside the house, socializes them appropriatelyand does appropriate basic training puppy pre-school and kitty kindergarten, if you like those termsand who selects parents on the basis of good behavioral qualities and normal health and absence of those genetic health problems that can be detected with current technology.

Note well that current technology will be changing rapidly now that the dog and cat genomes have been sequences. Within another decade or so we can expect to have DNA tests for many of the more serious heritable health problems, rather than the few tests we have today in Now it is just plain impossible to do this kind of rearing for good socialization and pre-school training if one is breeding on a large scale unless one is set up with professional staff and plentiful volunteers to do rearing in the manner that the various Disability Assistance Dog organizations do.

Large scale breeding should be presumed to be suspect as not likely to produce happy healthy pets unless it is done as some kind of service dog program and typically these programs are run by organizations that qualify as c3 non-profit organizations. Very few dogs have any hope of survival if turned loose into a "natural" habitat. The vast majority would die horribly within the first month and for the rest their lives would become "nastybrutal, and short".

From the point of view of human welfare, any surviving feral dogs would be a disaster. They would be a reservoir for Rabies that would be more dangerous than the current main reservoirs of skunks and bats. Being better able to prey on livestock than on wild prey, they would be a serious plague on livestock ranches.

Having far less fear of humans than a genuinely wild animal, packs of feral dogs would be a very serious danger of attack on children and even on adults. The "big bad wolf" is afraid of humans and avoids them, but the first half dozen generations of feral dogs will be sufficiently unafraid to possibly consider humans as dinner or as competition for territory.

Cats do go feral far more easily but we find we have troubles enough from the already large populations of feral cats. Adding more is a bad idea.

Feral cats are another Rabies reservoir, as well as a reservoir for Toxoplasmosis. Feral cats threaten many bird species that are having a hard enough time surviving.

relationship between domestic animals and humans

While feral cats may be considered useful in preying on rodent pests, when they do so they are competing with legitimate wild species who need those same prey for their survival. Feral cats tend to displace bobcats and kit foxes and other fox speciesas shown by Dept of Fish and Game studies.

There were travelling menageries that went around and went to fairs and showed in the back gardens of pubs and things like that. But the reason for the establishment of the London Zoo and other similar institutions subsequently had to do with, in a sense, the relationship between science and Empire. Part of it was competitive with France, for example. The zoo was a way of making sense of the increasing variety of the zoological world that was becoming apparent as colonialist traders and whatnot, as they explored and appropriated larger and larger parts of the globe.

It's true, even now. Not so much in Australia actually but in most other places that if you go to the zoo the one thing you don't see is local animals. Like if I go to the zoo in Boston - which is not actually such a great zoo - it doesn't have racoons or beavers or coyotes or any of the animals that live around here, it has animals from far away. So the exotic is almost part of the definition of what a zoo is, and that you can see from the 19th Century beginnings where very, very quickly it became required, in effect, to have lions, to have tigers, elephants.

From our own point of view, we're used to having hippos and rhinos in zoos, but they were particularly hard to catch and transport. So it wasn't until after the middle of the 19th Century that the first ones of them came to the zoo in London, and they were treated as absolute celebrities. Part of the founding mission of the London Zoo was actually to provide animals related to domestic species to hybridise with them, although it turned out that there wasn't really a big market for that. Again, it's very different from current practice, but all the way through the 19th Century the people who ran zoos experimented with mating, for example, lions and tigers - that was a favourite one - different species of monkeys, different species or even different genera of bovine crosses and so forth.

That kind of experimentation was very much a part of the zoo agenda. Whether it had a notionally practical objective, that is, to improve domesticated animals, or whether it was just, in effect, to see what you could do.

relationship between domestic animals and humans

Actually, you can't tell them to do it. I mean, for some kinds of crosses like zebras and donkeys or zebras and horses even, basically you just have to put them together and mostly it works. For lions and tigers just every so often a pair of them become friends and produce a litter.

There have been several different litters that were produced, say in Britain, in the 19th Century. They were always great sensations. They were in menageries, they toured around and everybody was, apparently, very interested in seeing them.

People still produce them now; there have been some in recent years. Now these were in Britain, France and British colonies like Australia, is that right? They were also in other European countries like Russia and Germany. They were in North America as well.

They're a kind of phenomenon of the middle to late 19th Century. In most places they were, in a way, glorified hobby endeavours. They were people who just liked the idea of diversifying or enhancing their local fauna with exotics.

For example, kangaroos and wallabies were repeatedly attempted to be acclimatised in Britain. Not really because anybody had any practical ideas of what to do with them, but just because - I mean, isn't it great to see them hopping around. Or in North America, British starlings were introduced in an attempt to basically make the birdlife of the United States look more like what it was in Britain.

I mean, the starlings were overly successful, but there were attempts to introduce skylarks and nightingales, which didn't succeed at all. But of course, the most elaborate and most successful acclimatisation societies were in Australia and New Zealand where there was a sense that the existing indigenous fauna was actually deficient in one way or another.

Of course people are dealing with the consequences of that, very, very much so, up to the present time. It's also - we're [saying] that the acclimatisation societies in Europe and North America mostly concentrated on mammals and birds, where some of the most spectacular successes in Australia and New Zealand, in terms of acclimatisation, had to do with fish. But also, the plague of rabbits and mynah birds is something that we're just not able to control. Were the fish more innocuous in their introduction here to Australia?

It's much more obvious if you have monster flocks of starlings or plagues of rabbits, as happened quite quickly in Australia. In this episode, we're talking about case studies in history of our relationship to animals with historian and author Harriet Ritvo.

Domestic Dogs and Cats

Harriet, you often talk about the 19th Century societies love hate relationship with the wild and you mention that the British have exterminated the wolves and wild boars. They killed so many beasts also in the colonies. Yet there were groups who bred and kept these so-called ferocious animals, especially even ferocious breeds of cattle. That seems like a conflict.

Human-animal relationships: from daily life to animal-assisted therapies.

Can you shed some light on that? I mean, in the middle ages, there were four big extinctions in Britain, as you say boars, wolves, bears and beavers. Beavers are not a threat to anybody really but the others were dangerous animals - somewhat threatening animals. Their extermination, of course, made life safer in the countryside. But by the time you get to, maybe, the 18th Century, when - at least for people in the upper rungs of society, life was beginning to seem a bit more secure than it had and nature, in a way, became something that could be appreciated and not necessarily simply something to fear.

relationship between domestic animals and humans

You see this it's a commonplace of our history, where you look at mountain landscapes or storms at sea - the kind of thing that we appreciate greatly on an aesthetic level. Up to a certain point, those things were just considered horrible and hideous and then it became possible to consider them sublime and thrilling.

You can see the same kind of trajectory to do with animals. So, in the 18th Century, as you say, there's a kind of celebration of cattle - a breed of cattle that were considered to be wild, although they weren't really very wild. But it was possible to project on them all the positive things about wild animals - strength and bravery and even ferocity - and people used them as, kind of, totems.

You can see the way that has continued up to the present day. So in the 19th Century you have lions and tigers in zoos being understood, more or less, as national or local pets. Was there a backlash to that?

Domestic Pets : Symbiosis with Humans

Like a religious sentiment to the return to Eden and a re-fathoming of nature as actually less hostile? In fact, one of the things about conventional paintings of Eden have wild animals acting tame, the lion not eating the lamb. So it's hard to see the reaction to industrialisation - which was certainly strong - as exactly Edenic. But if you look, for example, at the work of someone like John Ruskin, who was appalled by the way Britain was being transformed in the middle and late parts of the 19th Century.

What he wanted was a return - not exactly to wildness, but to a kind of domesticated or controlled nature. I mean, he ended up living in the Lake District in the north western part of Britain. The Lake District is kind of the epitome of a wildish landscape that actually is pretty completely domesticated. ANDI HORVATH Harriet, some animals in history were originally in absolutely massive numbers, but have since been hunted to extinction, or in some cases to near extinction, like the North American bison, which is now only in very few numbers but it's kind of become the poster child of wildlife conservation.

Take us through this shift in thinking and this transition. There had been extinctions earlier. I mean, the dodo is a famous one, the Steller's Sea Cow in the 18th Century. But those were mostly small populations. What was the case with the bison, which existed in enormous numbers in the American plains, and also with the quagga in Southern Africa - which is, in a way, a kind of extremely un-stripy zebra, or with the passenger pigeon, also in North America, which flew around in flocks that, apparently, darkened the skies for days - was that there had been so many of them.

Then all of a sudden, within a few years really, there were either none or almost none. So the quagga did become extinct, as did the passenger pigeon.

A few individuals lingered on in zoos. The North American bison almost became extinct and then it was one of the reasons that Yellowstone National Park, the first national park, was founded in the s, in order to provide a refuge for the remnant herd.

Of course, once there were almost none of them, then there was a great desire to preserve them and, as I say, a general recognition that even apparently robust wild animal populations could be extremely and rapidly vulnerable.

The wolves are also an interesting case study. They were exterminated in the UK, as you mentioned, but then they were also hunted in the US. But they've also done this shift, but this is a more controversial shift. Actually, the reaction to wolves shows the extreme, I would say, economic limits to our society's desire to preserve endangered animals because if we were consistent about that, of course the wolves shouldn't be controversial.

There aren't really that many of them. The people who complain the most are ranchers, who may lose a few animals to the wolves per year, although they are also people who get a great deal of benefit from the federal government in terms of water rights and access to national lands and so forth. But people's tolerance for making real economic sacrifices in the interest of preserving wild animal species is pretty limited. You can see this in the very acute and really quite politically difficult forum in the conflicts about preserving animal populations in areas where there's an indigenous human population that is also in economic trouble.

Species itself is one of those concepts, that it's essential.