Animals, Disease, and Human Society: Human-Animal Relations and the Rise of Veterinary Medicine

Animals, Disease, and Human Society: Human-Animal Relations and the Rise of Veterinary Medicine

Animals, Disease, and Human Society: Human-Animal Relations and the Rise of Veterinary Medicine

Animals, Disease, and Human Society: Human-Animal Relations and the Rise of Veterinary Medicine

Synopsis

This book explores the history and nature of our dependency on other animals and the implications of this for human and animal health. Writing from an historical and sociological perspective, Joanna Swabe's work discusses such issues as: * animal domestication * the consequences of human exploitation of other animals, including links between human and animal disease * the rise of a veterinary regime, designed to protect humans and animals alike * implications of intensive farming practices, pet-keeping and recent biotechnological developments. This account spans a period of some ten thousand years, and raises important questions about the increasing intensification of animal use for both animal and human health.

Excerpt

In modern industrial society, where everyday existence often seems completely divorced from the natural world, it is all too easy for we humans to ignore the extent of our dependency on other animals. For the denizens of the great urban sprawls that typify the modern age, encounters with animals tend to be quite minimal. In towns and cities, the only animals that prevail are those that lurk around our homes and gardens as pets, those wild birds that inhabit the polluted skies and the vermin that creep stealthily through the sewers. Occasionally, the odd police horse may impinge upon this urban landscape, or a city farm might bring the sights and sounds of the countryside within arm’s reach. However, the closest that the average urban dweller will usually get to a chicken, cow, pig or sheep in everyday life is when they pluck a vacuum-packed cut of meat from the refrigerated shelves of the local supermarket for the evening meal. Even then, it is likely that they will be scarcely aware of—or will even question—the origins of their food. The animal form will have been carefully concealed in colourful and hermetically-sealed packaging, often with all traces of blood, vessels and fats removed. Alternatively, it may have been enshrouded in crispy crumbs or bathed in delectable sauces or marinades, disguising the meat still further. In today’s world, it is extremely easy to dissociate the product that is consumed from the living, breathing and feeling creature from whence it came (Fiddes 1991).

We are in fact dependent on animals to provide most of the protein that we consume. Meat, dairy produce and eggs constitute a significant part of the modern western diet. At times these animal products are eaten to excess; sometimes there is a reluctance to consume them at all. In recent years, for example, health concerns . . .

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