July 21, 2009

Evolved to be animal lovers?

Follow up to my post about domestic dogs’ ability to relate to human beings, it turns out that very young infants can read intent in a dog’s bark. This is not to say that humans have adapted to the needs of dogs (as I think dogs have adapted to humans). Rather, humans have innate cognitive reflexes in terms of how they relate to the world around them, and animals are naturally one of the more important aspects of natural phenomena. Contrary to the theories of Rene Descartes and some of the presuppositions of modern science, humans do not view animals as complex organic machines. We may not see them as peers, but neither do we believe that they are interchangeable with physical objects. It is therefore not surprising that modern industrial farming, whose basic logic is the same as resource driven industries in terms of squeezing more efficiencies in the process of extracting value, is careful to prevent too much publicity of the methods needed to reduce per unit price of their final product.

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