Seeing Animals traces the significance of animals to humankind from prehistory to the present day, as objects of worship, means of survival and valued companions. But do animals still matter in our increasingly urbanised and technological age? This book shows that they matter not only because the world would cease to exist without them, but also because we too are animals and how we see them reflects our regard for ourselves and each other.
Animals affect people’s lives in a multitude of ways: in art and literature, in daily work, for hunting and sport, as helpers and guides, and not least as essential providers of nourishment and warmth. By closely observing the enormous diversity of animal behaviour, characteristics and habits, whether in the wild, on the screen or as part of domestic life, we will be both humbled and enriched.
So wherever you live, whatever your lifestyle, this book encourages you to go out and search for animals, to look at them and learn to see them, not as lesser creatures but as fellow travellers and cohabitants on our extraordinary planet.
1. WORSHIPPING Animals
2. DEPICTING Animals
3. DESCRIBING Animals
4. MEETING Animals
5. TRUSTING Animals
6. HUNTING Animals
7. USING Animals
8. ENJOYING Animals
Endorsements and Reviews
Profound, compassionate, and disturbing. Angela Dyer has traced the history of our interactions and relationships with animals from rock art to contemporary exploitation. Over the eons we have venerated animals, relied upon them, idolised them, brutalised them, and much more besides. Beautifully written, Seeing Animals opens eyes and shows how much richer our lives can be in the company of animals and how barren our planet would be without them.
Crispin Caldicott, Editor of Earthbuilding
This fascinating book reflects upon a lifetime of interacting with, thinking about, and ultimately learning to see animals as the vital, complicated and autonomous creatures that they are. It discusses the many ways in which we have respected and revered animals, but also how we have used and abused them throughout our history. Illustrating these animal interactions with stories of her own experiences, Dyer not only compels the reader to see them, but also challenges us to see ourselves and our own animal nature more clearly.
George Byrne, School of Global Studies, University of Sussex
A wise and approachable book that addresses the crucial relationship between us and the rest of the animal kingdom; a relationship that we ignore at our peril.
Julia Blackburn, Author