This essay aims to find out reasons that have shaped human perception towards other animals. It contains different viewpoints form western history to understand the argument. Human attitude towards the animal is becoming a concerning issue for wildlife sanctuaries and national parks because it is found that human behaviour varies towards the animals. For instance, human behaviour towards birds and mammals is favourable in comparison to reptiles such as crocodile, anaconda and so on. Domestic species like a penguin, dog, and cat are favoured by humans because they are pleasing species whereas other species like fish and invertebrates, they are favoured because of monetary gains. Previous experience of humans with species influences the current behaviour (Taylor et al. e12443). They may act good or bad towards the animals. Generally, people fear from the animals because they tend to harm them. Animals ferociousness and tendency to hurt is one of the major factors for humans to stay away from them.
We cannot deny the fact that human species is always a human but it has evolved itself into an advanced animal. They can think and remould their nature. If we ponder back, it can have analyzed that people during that period were threatened by animals and their existence was in danger. This is the very reason humans have intricate feeling towards animals (Fox et al. 107-128.). However, some animals even provided food to them and also fulfilled human needs. In addition to this, over the time it was seen that people started worshipping some animals such as dragon, snake's birds and so on. They even used by human for various means like for food and clothes, experiments, medicinal use, work, pet, entertainment, gambling and so on.
Ancient attitude towards animal did not cover the important animal welfare or ethics instead it was found that if a person kills some oxen then he would have to compensate the owner with other oxen and similar practices was seen for other animals too. If a man breaks the animal's leg and cut the ligament of its neck, then he or she will have to compensate the owner with the same animal. Judeo Christian faith stated in the Bible that human dominates the fish, see and every little creature on the Earth. This was another reason which shaped the perception of the people towards the animal. Bible clearly stated that God has dominance on man and man has dominance on animals. The old testament of the bible even stated that the righteous man will regard the life of his animal but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel (Hawkins et al. par. 7). In the verse it was righty stated that humans must-see animals as their responsibility and must even take care of them with sympathy and kindness. There was a reference of care and obligation in that.
Throughout history, it is observed that certain animals are valued more than the others it is because of the old mythologies or due to shared bio-behavioural traits. This was identified through multi-dimensional research analyses that weight, life span, physical attributes, parental investment are some behavioural traits that are seen in other animals as well. These traits help to find similarity between humans and them (Kompatscher et al. 11-22). Besides this, ancient Greek and Rome societies also play a significant role in the formation of human attitude towards animals. There are four basic thoughts in ancient Greece that is taught in the school. These include animism, vital, mechanism and anthropocentrism. The teachings of Thomas Aquinus influenced the philosophies of the people and they became the cornerstone in animal and human relationship. Western religion believed in sacrificing animals while there was two eastern religion named Buddhism and Jainism. They abandoned the sacrifice of the animals. Both the religion emphasized the two concepts that are no harm to living beings and cyclic embodiment of all the living beings. On the other hand, Muslims were influenced by the consideration that they have power over animals yet it stated that treating them badly would be disregarding the virtues of the religion.
Different religion and different philosophies depicted different things. The difference of opinions of the people and their philosophies forced them to have a different relationship with the animals some stated to have dominance and some stated to have mercy and kindness on them. The differing philosophies impacted the mind of the humans and people started believing the teaching they have learnt from their ancestors that it uses animals for human purposes (Sevillano et al. par 5). The entire western culture was influenced to have power on animals and this was visible from their culture and practices. Humans were found to beat the animals cruelly and used to take all the benefits from them. Humans started using animals for monetary gains.
People are indulging themselves into animal welfare practices. They have now understood the harm they used to provide them for their purpose People nowadays have started indulging themselves in practices which do not cause harm to animals. They do not provide pain instead they treat animals from a different angle. Humans have stopped disturbing animals for fun or other unnecessary practices rather they have started keeping care of their lives. Animal welfare is soon going to influence humans' attitude towards animals. Humans can only show their sublime morality through animal welfare. But the meaning of animal welfare is misunderstood by many people. They think that their morality is just to relieve the pains of the animals but has nothing to do with advocate killing of the animals for personal gains (Landová et al. 69). They think eating pork is fine but killing pigs without anaesthesia is against animal welfare. According to them, to feed pigs properly during the raising period is animal welfare. Humans have misunderstood the term animal welfare they just think that minimizing the agony of the animals is animal welfare but it is not true.
Protecting them from all kinds of harm and providing them food and environment to live freely is what is meant by animal welfare. It can be achieved with the help of the laws. It is impossible to change the attitude of the people by taking a quick step. It will take a long term but it is certainly not impossible. People will learn gradually the importance of the animal in our food chain and will stop harming or killing them for food or entertainment and other greed. Awareness can play an important role in protecting animals. People who understand their responsibility towards animal will not treat them bad. Today many organizations are coming forward and educating people about animal welfare (Mazzoldi et al e0226810). For instance, Dyrenes Beskyttlelse started a project to eliminate the production of the cage eggs. During this project through social media, people were urged to come, help and join the group of the people the cage. Similarly, practices were seen all over the world in past were people how to have a kind heart towards animal came forward to protect them from the cruel people. Many local organizations also came forward to fight for innocent animals. These organizations have collected huge funds to be used for animal welfare. The funds of WSPA, AMI indicate that there are people who want to protect the animals and educate others so that they change their minds and attitude towards the animals. These people are known as animal activists. They defined some animal rights that is every animal has the right to live and remain protected from any human exploitation or abuse.
It can be concluded from the above findings that the attitude of humans towards animal was not good since the ancient period. Western culture and tradition have a negative influence on them. At the very beginning, humans used to fierce from the animals but as they evolved fear vanished and they started dominating them. It could be clearly stated from the historical findings that humans treated animals for their purposes. Chinese used them as a food, Muslims stated that have advocacy to kill, Christians stated they dominate every living creature and so on. None of them treated innocent animals with kindness. But with time the people started realizing that their practices are immoral and there is a need to protect the animals from harm as they are a very important part on Earth and it is because of them the entire food chain runs. They were realizing the importance and even started practicing animal welfare but they lacked the crux. They only started relieving the pain but did not stop their activities. Animal rights were needed to be educated to people all across the globe. It was identified that it is not that easy to change the perception of such a large mass with some preaching. There is a need for the law to be followed by everyone only then the people would change their way of thinking and start treating the animals with kindness. The change for which we are looking for is hard but it is not impossible.
Fox, Rebekah, and Nancy R. Gee. "Changing Conceptions of Care: Humanization of the Companion Animal–Human Relationship." Society & Animals 24.2 (2016): 107-128.
Hawkins, Emma L., et al. "The links between personality, empathy and animal cruelty attitudes and behaviour: a cross national comparison." Human-Animal Interconnections. (2017).
Kompatscher, Gabriela. "Human-Animal Studies." Animals and their Relation to Gods, Humans and Things in the Ancient World. Springer VS, Wiesbaden, 2019. 11-22.
Landová, Eva, et al. "Beauty ranking of mammalian species kept in the Prague Zoo: does beauty of animals increase the respondents’ willingness to protect them?." The Science of Nature 105.11-12 (2018): 69.
Mazzoldi, Carlotta, et al. "From sea monsters to charismatic megafauna: Changes in perception and use of large marine animals." Plos one 14.12 (2019): e0226810.
Sevillano, Verónica, and Susan T. Fiske. "Animals as social objects." European Psychologist (2016).
Taylor, Anna Lisa. "Where are the wild things? Animals in western medieval European History." History Compass 16.3 (2018): e12443.
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