Welcome to Among Animals. I’ve set up this blog because I’m expanding my research to include animals other than hyenas. This is not to say I’m excluding hyenas because they still have a hold on me and I’m going to be revisiting them in Ethiopia some time this year. But now I’m making space for others including leopards, dingoes, horses, goats, donkeys and whoever else walks in front of me while I’m holding a notebook.
At the moment I’m interested in domestication, how it happened, how it’s happening and where it’s going. A lot of theorists talk about domestication as a process of humans taking control over other animals’ movements, breeding, and feeding. According to this model the animals role in the process was wholly passive while the humans are/were the prime movers. But I have a hunch that it’s not as clear-cut as that.
My plan is to compare domestication processes in rural Australia and rural Ethiopia. One of these places is hyper-modern with as much technology thrown at farming as possible while the other is hyper-traditional, albeit with the recent introduction of chemical fertilisers. I’m interested in how much of a chance the respective farmers give their animals to look after themselves, how much decision making on the part of the farm animals plays into the domestication process, and how much of an influence predation has on these farmer/livestock relations. I think the results will be surprising so I hope you can come along on this journey be as amazed as me at what we find.