Focus: Human Animals and Animal Humans
The death, on October 30, 2007 at the age of 42, of Washoe, a female chimpanzee who became famous for having learned to use several hundreds signs from the American sign language and who had taught part of it, without human help, to her adopted son Loulis, made the headlines worldwide. This story reminds us how much contemporary research disturbs our ancestral certainties about the difference between man and animals. Could it be the harbinger of its imminent dissolution?
Darwin already pointed out in The Descent of Man (1871) that monkeys were able to crack nuts with a stone. Since the work of Jane Goodall in Gombe (Tanzania) in the sixties, we know that chimpanzees can make tools to catch termites in their nest...
Huang Zong-Hui, Professor of Languages and Literature at National Taiwan University discusses Kafka's 'Report to the Academy' and Roald Dahl's short story 'Pig' and how the concepts of anthropomorphism and zoomorphism function within literature to define the shifting boundaries between the human and the animal:
Cakes made in the shape of paws for the delight of dogs.
Are these kinds of delicacies more expensive than traditional ones?
In fact, they are just a little bit more expensive, not much more.
So, what’s the difference between your food and the normal one?
Normally the snacks we buy in shops are unhealthy. That food contains lots of preservatives. Our...
(The Chinese reads: If you're not a teahouse cat, please don't sit on the scooter)
Huang Zong-Hui, Professor of Languages and Literature at National Taiwan University and animal rights campaigner give us a run down of the current state of animal rights in Taiwan:
I asked my colleague, Mr. Chu what his specialty dish was and he replied Big Macs.
He wasn't joking. Having worked at McDonalds before, he hastened to tell me that not everyone could make one. My bubbles of laughter were soon anchored with pink slime and fell to the floor between us, like sticky rat paper, preventing us from getting any closer.
Mr. Chu’s answer is on the severe end of the spectrum, but it highlights a salient difference between what I call passive and active users of food1. Something happened once I became a vegetarian, 23 years ago. I began paying attention to what I was consuming. To non-vegetarians, the issue is strictly an inconvenient accoutrement to a meal; an annoying restriction...
As a student in Beijing, back in 2007, I used to travel quite often by taxi. Taxi drivers in Beijing are incredibly friendly people and always encourage you to chat with them, which is great when you are trying to learn Chinese. Of course, one of the first questions is always “What country are you from?”. After I answered Spain, the common response I got was either the driver lifting both hands off the wheel and using his index fingers to imitate the horns of a bull, which as I’m sure you can imagine is quite stressful when you are travelling at a fairly high speed; or some variation of the phrase: “Spain? Bullfighting is...
My name is Laetitia Kernaleguen, I just spent 14 months on the Crozet Island as a civil volunteer for the French Polar Institute. My mission was to study the demographic evolution of the penguins colonies there, with a special attention to the possible impact of global warming on their diet and their reproduction.
How would you describe your relation to animals?
Before going to Le Crozet, I was in French Polynesia where I studied the fish population and previously I had been doing researches in a farm on milking cows. The relation to the animal depends on the context: for example, in a farm where the objective is to make the cows produce as much milk as possible, the well-being of the...
Whenever you’re celebrating Mother’s Day with the lady in question and she entreats you to just ‘have a little bit of milk or an egg’, all I can manage to spit out is ‘I wish I could, but I can’t’. An awkward silence hangs in the air, and I feel like I’m being really disrespectful to her. I know I can’t do anything that could result in an animal getting hurt, but I never thought that doing what I thought was right would be something so stressful for my family, friends and even for myself. I’m sorry, but it’s no use, I’m just going to have yet more perseverance in my principles.
I love animals, I was driven to be a vegetarian out of sympathy for them. Gradually I came to...
This month's Renlai
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- Obesity and Freedom
- Focus Response: Father Jacques Duraud, SJ on 'My God?'
- Dancing through the lens: Photographing the Pacific Festival of Arts
- Religious Colonialism: Cultural Loss in the Solomon Islands
- Shell Money, Dowries and the Skulls of Ancestors: The Living Traditions of the Solomon Islands
- The Langalanga People: "Natives" of the Man-made islands of the Solomons
- A Vibrant Culture with an Ugly Facade: Honiara and the Pacific Art Festival
- Swept away from Sinology by the Allure of Taiwan's Pacific coast
- A Fight between David and Goliath
- Amateurs in Tokyo - Reasonable Riots
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