The Changing Status of Animals and Human-Animal Bonds

Animals and people have been living together for thousands of years, but the past 100 years have been extraordinary in the amount of change in those relationships. In the last 100 years, people have markedly changed their perceptions, their relationships, and their uses of animals and animal products. Many of these changes have occurred in our lifetimes.

CattleGrazingSome of us grew up on farms and had considerable contact with livestock and wildlife. We knew that dairy cows were kept to provide milk and meat. Beef cattle and pigs were slaughtered to provide meat, and chickens provided eggs as well as meat. Wildlife, living on the farm or nearby, was often hunted by farm families to provide meat and skins.

Even though we understood, or perhaps because we understood the primary role of animals in our lives, we were often in a close relationship that gave us a perspective of our interdependence and the nature of life and death in our ecosystem. Today, less that 1% of Continue reading

Humans, Animals, and the Environment

Pygmi-Chimp“[Animals] are not bretheren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time.”

Henry Beston, Autumn, Ocean, and Birds, The Outermost House, 1928

Bonds between humans and nature have always been recognized by both science and religion. The original state of innocence proposed by revealed religion was in a garden, the Garden of Eden, and a good man was assigned to build an ark and save nature, God’s Creation, when God flooded the earth.

The evidence of evolution and anthropology is that humans always depended on intimate connections with plants, animals, and the heavens to feed and shelter themselves and find their way. The evidence from ecology and geophysics is that the biosphere that sustains human life is a delicate skin over the planet that it has been damaged and is alarmingly in need of attention and tending by the humans whose domination of the planet has challenged its integrity.

CENSHARE seeks to promote the scientific study and public awareness of deep and significant bonds between humanity and all of nature—plants, animals, forests, oceans, and global ecosystems.

There are so many questions to be explored. . . . Continue reading