Our duty to domesticated animals: an introduction to The Husbandrialist

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Causes today are like tattoos. Almost everybody has one. They’re not always apparent just by looking at someone but are often revealed after surface conversation. They make us feel good about ourselves.

Most importantly, we don’t always do our research before fully committing to one. We latch onto a cause because it seems right by simple logic, and satisfies our inherent need to make a difference. Perhaps the greatest human malady is our instinct to simplify and categorize our understanding of the world, and subscribing to a cause can be one of this tendency’s many victims.

My closest engagement with causes is with animal rights. My employment in the carriage industry introduced me to the fleeting cause culture; people truly believe they’re doing a noble and righteous thing, unable to consider the most relevant facets of the argument. Animal rights engagement, in some industries, has revealed a severe detachment from animals and animal husbandry as more people flock to cities. This detachment grows as we give up land to industries that alter our perception of those relationships. Not all animal rights activists are misguided, but many condemn the use of animals for our benefit outright—whether that means breeding animals, eating them, or employing them as working animals.

It didn’t take us long to forget what life was like before the internet or telephone age, even though this technology represents a tiny blip relative to human history. Similarly, our mass disconnection with animals in recent years forgets how long animal husbandry, or domestication, has thrived. Humans have bred and adapted horses to human environments, for example, for thousands of years. And yet, when the average passer-by sees a carriage in NYC, their logic at least questions whether it is wrong, unnatural, or inhumane—if they are not already invested in those convictions. We conceive and deny our own creations without realizing the connection.

An overlooked example of this disregard is the pigeon. Pigeons were also domesticated thousands of years ago: they served us in wartime as messengers; they were coveted and bred for their beauty and racing abilities; they were a sought-after delicacy. With the advent of communication technology and industrial farming, our pigeon desire waned and our perceptions changed. Now, we see them with the same fondness as rats or trash. They’re not only a nuisance, but they’re unsanitary. They thrive in our cities because we bred them to be highly adaptable and dependent on us, yet we dismiss their massive contributions to human history and would rather have them gone.

“The Husbandrialist” combines the term “husbandry” with The Sartorialist—possibly one of the most popular, urban, human-centred blogs out there. The Husbandrialist intends to encourage those with urban lifestyles to consider human-animal relationships differently. Not all of these relationships are created equal. Not all animals should live “wildly” to fulfill our conception of freedom, completely separate from human interaction. There’s a duty to uphold with animals we’ve put on earth for our benefit. That duty is to ensure that our relationships are mutually beneficial, not non-existant.

 

 

 

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