I've been thinking about our relationship to the animal kingdom a lot lately. Whether it's nature documentaries, Christmas TV adverts or YouTube animal videos we seem to be anthropomorphising animals more and more. I wonder where it's going. It's like we're moving every animal on the planet to the status of pet.
Personally I think this is probably a good thing overall, but I wonder what effect it will have. Human beings are now so ubiquitous on planet earth that for any land animal we're pretty much unavoidable. Is this effecting the evolution of those animals? Are tigers becoming more cuddly in order to survive in our world? Are we saving or wiping out animals on the basis of how cute they are? If we are, is this a bad thing?
There was recently an article in the news about seals violently attacking penguins. Everyone, myself included, was slightly shocked by it - "Really? seals doing this? but they're cute? This can't be right." Our cuddly Pokemon-style view of the animal world was ripped from us. (I wonder how this PR disaster for the seals will effect the way we protect them in the future. They might wanna buck their ideas up if they wanna survive in our cartoon vision of Earth.)
I had an example of this sort of confused thinking myself the other day. I was buying dog treats for my friend's dog. I'm a vegetarian, but all the treats contained meat of some sort. I then had a crisis of conscience trying to decide whether it was morally right to buy something for a dog that contained meat. Starve a dog, or kill an animal? In the end I bought the treats, but it made me think. I read somewhere that Paul McCartney's dog is vegetarian. Fair play to him if that works out for them, but you've gotta wonder how the dog feels about it :p
I think this is a topic I might come back to over the coming year. It seems more and more relevant. I might make 2015 the 'co-existing with animals' year. I don't think there's going to be any easy, honest answers though. It seems we're all too confused.