The lives of non-human animals have been closely intertwined with our own for a very long time, be it for for nutrition, work, transport or companionship.
A recent conversation I had with a few new friends revolved around the idea of whether a person could ever love a non-human animal as much as a person. The responses to this were quite varied, from an emphatic yes, a downright no, to somewhere in between. While the reasons people gave were varied, it seemed their opinions correlated with how they were raised to see and treat animals. If they were brought up with, say, a dog that was ‘one of the family’, they could very easily see themselves having close emotional connections with an animal. Whereas another didn’t think that they could ever like an animal as much as a person, as what they valued most was philosophical connections with other people.
I always wanted a dog growing up, but the apartment we lived in prevented us from doing so, and hence never grew up with that reverence for the animal companion some people seem to have. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago when I moved in with a friend and her cat did I realise how much an animal could influence (for better or worse) your emotions, your state of mind and your life. I would say that living with an animal was a huge influence on my road toward wanting to understand more about the nature of our relationship with animals, which eventually resulted in me turning vegetarian, and much more recently, vegan. It’s been a great learning experience for me, and one that I’m extremely grateful to my feline friend for.
So, today’s question is: Animals! Can we live with them? Can we live without them? Is there a special animal in your life and have they had any affect on it, for better or worse?
The Afternoon Inqueery (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Queereka community. Look for it to appear Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays at 3pm ET.