ENTER AN ANIMAL’S CONSCIOUSNESS
Whistlejacket – George Stubbs
In our Imaginations, Dear Readers, I invite us to get closer to Animals’ experience of life through the ages: where did power lie?
- In the caves of Lascaux in the Dordogne, September 1940, teenager Paul Ravidar and his dog Robot were the first to see some of the 2000 PREHISTORIC 15,000 year paintings of the hunt. Hunts which had been between equals: kill or be killed.
- DOMESTICATION of animals began in the land between the Euphrates & the Tigris 10,000 years ago by the SUMERIANS; goats then sheep. Current research is finding a complexity of information e.g very new DNA techniques analysing archaeologically retrieved bones, offer genetic samples of domestication played out long ago. Such knowledge adds to our understanding of how plant and animal domestication changed human settlements from a hunting to a settled, farming society
- One of the 5,000 year old Indian religion JAINISM’s premise is AHIMSĀ: NON- VIOLENCE. This includes no harm to animals or their life- cycle…. ‘the first function of the soul is to help one another’.
- CHEROKEE Native American matriarchal society: women worked the land, men hunted, preparing themselves by sacred rituals. They would pray to the wind, rivers and mountains for success, then ask the gods’ forgiveness for taking a life, after a kill. AND note…the slaughter of the Plains’ buffalo herds by the White Man.
- Specific LIFE- STYLES developed around the world, illustrated by the COUNTRY HOUSE culture of the 18th century in the British Isles: balancing land enhancement with the central social life of hunting, shooting & fishing. This culture symbolised then and today, the power of the gentry as creators of the values of rural society; importantly including rural employment.
- BEASTS OF BURDEN in the pits & on the battlefield. Pit ponies first used in 1750 and to replace women & boys under age 13 in Lord Shaftesbury’s Mines Act 1842, following public outcry when The Times revealed conditions. In World War 1 – 8 million horses and mules died. Invaluable for transport, hauling ammunitions and supplies. They died agonising deaths from wounds, starvation, thirst, exhaustion, diseases and exposure.
- UK FARMING Post Brexit. ‘HEALTH and HARMONY’ DEFRA’s long- awaited consultation paper on food, farming & the environment: vision of a ‘green Brexit’. Over-arching goal, to change way land is used to provide Health and Harmony. Animal Welfare in UK ranked internationally in top four by World Animal Protection. Government COULD pilot scheme offering targeted payments to farmers who deliver higher welfare actions.
- UK FACTORY FARMING run by giant, primarily private corporations, strives to maximise output by minimising costs. The farming method was encouraged by 1947 Agriculture Act granting subsidies to farmers to encourage greater output through new technology. This in order to reduce British reliance on imported meat.
- The OPPOSITION / SUPPORT ON ANIMAL RIGHTS ISSUES consolidates. On the one hand, is the power of the Cosmetic Industry & University Research departments who support Animal Research. In US 26 million animals are used annually in research. Out of 98 Nobel prize winners in Physiologyy and Medicine, 78 used animals in research. A growing section of the opposition to animal research is VEGANISM; take-up of its diets & life- styles, apparently inspired by celebrities. At 5th international EAT Forum Stockholm, strong Vegan and Vegetarian presence.
- ANIMAL THERAPY is gaining use in statutory and voluntary settings. In 1984 EDWARD O. WILSON’s ‘Biophilia Hypothesis’ – included the idea that attachment and interest in animals stems from the strong possibility that human survival was partly dependent on signals from animals in the environment indicating safety or threat.
- Our own FAMILY ANIMALS who have given us loyal companionship and love.
THE GALLERY ILLUSTRATES THE ABOVE ANIMAL THEMES