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By Stephen Budiansky

Animal rights extremists argue that consuming meat is homicide and that pets are slaves. This compelling reappraisal of the human-animal bond, even though, indicates that domestication of animals isn't really an act of exploitation yet a brilliantly winning evolutionary method that has benefited people and animals alike.

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Extra resources for The covenant of the wild: why animals chose domestication ; with a new preface

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Ecology, however, is awash in the law of unintended moral consequences. Evolution, indeed, has a Page xv contempt for freedom; some might say that it has a contempt for happiness, too. These are values that in the main are secured only by defying the dictates of nature, not by letting nature have its way. I think the plea for a realistic view of life in the wild presented on these pages is not irrelevant to such a discussion of rights. S. Department of Agriculture publications, I rented a small farm in rural Maryland.

To create a dog would not have required conscious intent or deliberate captive breeding with such a goal in mind. Another question that has been raised, and one that I think has somewhat more merit, is whether the model of domestication via neoteny, which seems to apply so well to the dog, is equally valid in explaining the origin and evolution of other domestic species. Certainly no other domestic species shows the high degree of physical neoteny that the dog exhibits. Archaeological studies of the origin of the do- Page xi mestic horse do support the notion of a long, loose association in which horses were hunted, and it is tempting to see an analogy there with the Laplanders' mutualistic association with reindeer.

Many had grown up on farms. The plight of farmers was national news. Companies that supplied farmers found it worthwhile to advertise on radio networks. Even for many nonfarmers, chickens came from the backyard. Even when they came from the market, they were undisguised by plastic and Styrofoam. They were chickens, with feathers on the outside and intestines on the inside. The urge to turn animals either into things or into people reflects the distance we have traveled in a generation or two. We conveniently alternate between anthropomorphism and blindness.

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