Today I really enjoyed reading Investigation of a Dog’s paper on animals in history.
As I read the first paragraphs, I thought of an eighteenth-century hunting scene I had once seen in a book: elegant men astride their horses, several hunting dogs at their feet, hard at work. This is a symbol of affluence and power, in that the men not only afford to purchase and keep the animals but also control their behavior.
I have a Springer Spaniel and though I don’t hunt her she exhibits many signs of instinctual bird hunting behavior – including the dive into brush to spring the birds, which is one of her breed’s defining behaviors. She is a product from hundreds of years during which breeders selected stock for specific behaviors: the dominion of man over beast.
I say that she is ‘my’ dog. She’s a pure bred dog, not a mixed breed. We paid a good deal of money for her. We acquired her after researching many breeds and selecting one that is loyal, friendly and not an annoying neighbor. We selected a breeder who believes in out-crossing to reduce the risk of getting a weak animal. Focusing on animals helps us to see property rights as something arbitrary.
All in all, an interesting read that has me thinking – check it out!