By Joanna Swabe
Joanna Swabe's well timed paintings appears to be like at human-animal kinfolk from antiquity to BSE and cloning, contending that veterinary wisdom and perform has performed a vital position in human heritage.
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Extra info for Animals, Disease and Human Society: Human-animal Relations and the Rise of Veterinary Medicine
Despite the massive population size and geographic distribution of domesticated animal species in contrast to their wild progenitors, these species have suffered ‘irretrievable loss of genetic diversity and evolutionary autonomy’ (Clutton-Brock 1994:27). Although one might convincingly argue that this small number of species has adequately met the needs and requirements of human society, both past and present, it is nonetheless surprising that so few species were actually domesticated by our ancestors.
A second important secondary product of live animals is natural fibre. It is unnecessary to slaughter sheep and goats in order to obtain their wool, instead it can be brushed or sheared away from the animal’s body. Selective breeding of sheep gradually transformed ovine coats from bristly hairs to soft fleeces. Goats were probably less frequently used for wool production and their coats have consequently been altered little by selective breeding with an eye to the production of textiles. Ordinary goat hair can be woven into a coarse cloth, whereas the underwool of a moulting goat can be used to produce cashmere (Davis 1987:156).
In fact, at least for the first few thousand years, dependence on agriculture and animal husbandry probably presented a far more precarious existence than the hunting and foraging of the past: agriculture is a much more labour-intensive activity that in addition does not necessarily guarantee a continual supply of food. The agrarian regime entailed radical changes for all those who adopted it. The chief advantage of agriculture was clearly that food could be produced intensively and would—in principle—supply the nutritional needs of ever-growing populations.
Animals, Disease and Human Society: Human-animal Relations and the Rise of Veterinary Medicine by Joanna Swabe