Geography is Everywhere by Elise Schlosser

Apr 18th, 2012 | By admin | Category: Education

Anthropomorphism; Animal & Cultural Geography

The suggestion of giving human emotions to animals; anthropomorphism, has remained a long standing, controversial subject, in many areas including the scientific, civilian, and academic communities.  However, it is a key factor in our attitudes and the positions held as individuals, societies, and cultures on topics ranging from research to farming practices to companionship, just to name a few.

The issue of animal emotions, whether or not they exist, and to what extent lends itself greatly to the scientific community or scientists of various disciplines and research.  For hundreds of years animals have been used in scientific research.   Personally, I am not disputing a need for research, the dispute and question are of the ethics and treatment of non-human and even human subjects, and the assumption they don’t feel because they are “lower than” us.  Also, with the advancements we have in technology, I question how much experimentation really needs to occur with animals?  Although there has been some improvement, much remains the same regarding their treatment, feelings and disposability.

Many views stem from a particular cultural landscape.  For example, in the United States, most citizens would find it plain out disgusting to include felines and canines on their dining menu.  They are viewed by many as pets, companions, family members by some, but by many, not dinner.  Yet, other cultures treat cats and dogs as we do pigs and chickens.  Can we judge another because it is not our cultural view?  Whether in a back yard, slaughterhouse, feed lot, or free range farming, the geographical end result is the same. They are still slain for human consumption.

Our society is one of “out of sight”, “out of mind”, and “look the other way”, with many issues, not just animals.  If the public were made aware, or rather wanted to know, may be the more operative word, how our food was raised and processed, there would be more outrage for revision than already exists.  It is my opinion, that the views, no matter what “community” would be different regarding anthropomorphism.

Although a dog with cancer may not know its cancer or equate death with “I will never see you again”, it is my opinion and observation; they absolutely know something is wrong.  It is their intuitiveness, reactions, and behaviors that formulate them to be the companions we seek, that aid in establishing human-animal bonds.  Yet, by many, they continue to be seen as non-feeling, non-thinking commodities that are easily replaced.

This is geography; cultural, animal, economic, just to name a few sub-disciplines.  As I always say, “Geography is Everywhere”.  If you have an opinion about this or anything else related to geography, please email me at: