Our planet is blessed with so many species of animals to which humans react and interact differently. Some are brought home and cared for as pets, while others are included in lists of favorite meat eats, while some others fall under the most hated list. It seems the ability of humans to interact with animals depends on the ability to domesticate them either as pets to care for, or as sources of food and clothing materials.

Some psychologists specialize in analyzing relationships between human and animals, to gain deeper understanding on why humans have contradicting treatments and reactions toward different animal species. Harvard biologist Stephen Jay once said that our behavior towards animals may be related to their resemblance to human family. The closer the resemblance, the stronger the tendency to treat them with familiarity and congeniality.

If Jay’s explanation is true, then humans must also stop to think of how dogs and cats feel, whenever their puppies and kittens, respectively, are given away.

Many consider snakes and mice as the most hateful animals, yet not a few are also into keeping them as pets for reasons only the owners can understand. Some animal species are nurtured and bred in farms. Yet even among farm operators, differences have been demonstrated on how the creatures are treated.

Perhaps inequality of treatment on animals can also be associated with culture, or of the differences in the environment where humans were raised.

Different Cultures, Different Beliefs on How Animals are Treated

Some examples can be cited on how culture influence the different ways with which humans interact with animals. Ancient Greek religion for one promoted the belief that some significant deities can transform into fierce and powerful forms of animals, yet the animal most revered by ancient Greeks is the humble cow.

Reverence for cows was also popular in other ancient societies such as the Israelites, Egyptians, and Romans, but their devotion is mainly associated with the usefulness of the bovines as producers of milk and fertilizer. Although revered, they also subjected the cows to hard labor by making them till the soil. Religions in other countries such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism and Jainism, consider cows are sacred and to which edicts have been passed to prohibit their slaughter.

Apparently, inequality on how animal species are treated also stem from traditional and religious beliefs.