Anthropomorphism Essay

1033 words - 4 pages

Jillian CookIris Fischer-McMorrowFYS 10126 September 2014Does Your Cat Really Love You?When it comes to animals, humans have adapted some weird expectations. We dress our dogs in raincoats, bring them to the spa, and put them to sleep when they behave instinctually. When we anthropomorphize, we project human desires and behavioral expectations onto animals, and punish them when they do not react positively to these requirements we set. Anthropomorphism, in my eyes, is a detrimental institution observed by the human race, and usually ends tragically for the animals involved. People hold the power to kill most animals at will, and when we expect them to behave a certain way, and then see them behaving another, most people exert that power. However, this isn't the only way we anthropomorphize, and sometimes it can be beneficial to the animal. Occasionally the extension of human feelings onto animals can save them from death, because we feel connected to them. Other common anthropomorphic concepts are simply insignificant and don't necessarily benefit or render either parties involved. In this situation, however, I feel that the bad outweigh the good, and that the adverse outcomes are enough to bring attention to.Some of the benefits seen with anthropomorphism include mercy toward certain animals, and a certain comfort and lack of loneliness felt from living with a pet. Animals with big eyes and short limbs usually observe more mercy when it comes to human caused casualties than do large animals with big teeth and less soft looking fur. This is due to the fact that the creatures with big peepers remind us of human children, and we anthropomorphize the feelings and intentions of a child onto that animal. This is beneficial in some ways for the animals involved, because they are less likely to be killed and eaten on a slice of bread. Another side effect of anthropomorphism that doesn't necessarily cause any harm is the companionship that people find in their pets. We look at our pets, wagging their tails, and assume that they are overcome with joy at our shared friendship, when in actuality, they probably just want attention or food. While these two examples of anthropomorphism aren't necessarily negative, many of the others are.When we place human values and expectations on an animal who doesn't understand or care about what we think or need, we tend to punish them for acting on their instincts. We as humans expect animals kept as pets and placed in zoos to conduct themselves in a certain and specific way. We want them to eat what we feed them, pee and poop where we want them too, and all with a peppy and upbeat attitude. Animals, however, have a different idea. Instincts are something everyone, human or animal, can't help but listen to. For a person, an instinct might be flinching at a quick movement or loud noise, for your dog it might be to snarl when you accidentally step on his tail. When a person reacts with...

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