We humans are living a world that are homes of millions of other creatures. We are fully aware of this, but we are also aware that we are the most superior among all species. Indeed, human beings are ones that have developed themselves comprehensively in terms of both physical and mental aspects, which can be seen in our civilization today. With all the achievements going far beyond other animals’ capability that we have gained, we can proudly say we are the most developed.
No matter how developed and superior humans are, it cannot be denied we are also animals. It is the same as a $600,000 Rolls Royce Phantom and a $20,000 Toyota Corolla, they are both cars no matter what. Therefore, human beings have to view the relationship between them and all other species as co-existing, as we all share this world together. However, humans tend to assume that they are as superior as they can exploit other animals in order to serve their purposes, which can be defined as “speciesism” (Horta 2010) . I am not talking about the fact that humans eat other animals, because that is how life works. The strongest stay on top of the food chain, and vice versa. I want to mention the way we look at our relationships with other animals and the way we treat them in regard with that relationship.
Species tend to pay attention and have a good impression on ones that are similar them to some certain degree. That is how they realize members of their communities as well as of communities within the same lines (Coppinger 2017). As what you can see in this video, the baby tiger and the house cat get along well with each other because they can recognize that the other are in the same Felidae lines (the cats family) , although they are different species. Humans are no exception. We are interested in seeing animals imitate us in terms of expression or gestures which are visible elements (Charles 2017). In return, animals understand that and they do attempt to impress humans in certain ways. Let’s look at several examples:
It was not 100% accurate, but no doubt we can say they did try 100% of their ability.
This is a really touching short film featuring an old Japanese woman living alone with two cats. Her husband passed away years ago and this is still breaking her heart now. Understanding that their owner still feels upset thinking about her husband, the two cats learn how to perform human-like gestures in order to cheer her up. Obviously this film is staged to a certain degree, but it cannot be denied that the emotions it conveys are genuine.
The two examples clearly show that our pets in particular, and animals in general, do want to co-exist with humans in a respectful way. We like them to perform like us, and they do understand that. Therefore, in order to make our relationship with other species a mutual and co-existing connection, we should do the same in return (Howard 2014). “Instead of respecting their wildness, humans want to hold, cuddle, feed and photograph orangutans; they want to treat orangutans as if they were human … [which has] caused them to become endangered by a rampant pet and zoo trade” (Sowards 2011). This is not how it should be working. Animals show their respect by allowing humans to perform natural habitats and even adapting themselves to it, so why can’t we do the same ? We want to express our love to orangutans, but we are doing it the wrong way. We want them to be happy, but how can they be happy when feeling uncomfortable not being in their natural status ?
Humans and all other animals co-exist in this world, that is obvious. In order to co-exist harmoniously, humans have to know how to respect other species, especially when we are the superior. Try to understand them, and if possible, adapt ourselves to it. This can be seen in this another video, when humans finally try how to please cats, but in cats’ way.
It did not work 100%, but at least they tried.
Charles, N 2017, ‘Written and spoken words: representations of animals and intimacy’, Sociological Review, Vol. 65 Issue 1, pp. 117-133.
Coppinger, B 2017, ‘Studying audience effects in animals: What we can learn from human language research’, Animal Behaviour, Vol. 124, pp. 161-165.
Howard, D 2014, Human and Animal Relationships, Springer, New York.
Horta, O 2010, ‘What is Speciesism?’, Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 243–266.
Sowards, S. K 2011, Gender representations in orangutan primatological narratives: Essentialist interpretations of sexuality, motherhood, and women, Berghahn Books, USA.