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Human & Animal: An Ever-Changing Coexistence


"You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity."

So said Ralph Waldo Emerson who saw, even in the 19th century, the way civilization puts artificial spaces in the natural order of things. Nature is wild. Wild animals are savage. The livestock business is brutal. Pigs are sentient. All of these things are true, but we prefer to have them orbit around, flung as far into space as possible.

In Emerson's time, society -- and sub-groups within society -- made collective choices about what to know and what to see.

Getting ready for today's show -- which is about the study of man's relationship to animals -- I noticed that one of the less-documented aspects of the digital revolution is that people who want to see, for example, a Burmese python fight an alligator, can do so over and over.

Of course, those animals don't even belong on the same continent.

Leave your comments below, e-mail colin@wnpr.org or Tweet us @wnprcolin.

Colin McEnroe is a radio host, newspaper columnist, magazine writer, author, playwright, lecturer, moderator, college instructor and occasional singer. Colin can be reached at colin@ctpublic.org.

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