Tag Archives: animal

Clerking Cody

Cody, a brown Labrador retriever “worked” at the Clearwater gas station convenience store in Florida. He wore a clerk shirt and had a nametag; he looked just like the other clerks working in the store. Customers often came to the store to visit Cody, who had become famous and widely loved. However, two days ago, a health inspector said that Cody had to leave because he could contaminate the food the store sold, even though all foods were of the packaged type. It’s true that the dog is touching the counters where foods are placed during checkout, but there are ways for the owner to keep the place sanitized. For example, surfaces could be sanitized more often. But more importantly, many people have dogs at home all day, yet sanitation issues are not even taken as seriously. I don’t have a dog at home, but don’t they also touch places where we put food? Dogs touch us too, but we aren’t worried about getting sick. Why is it that a not-at-home dog is seen as a threat to the cleanliness of food? The owner came to a conclusion that it could have been Cody’s fame that caused the inspector’s surprise visit. Someone up top, as mentioned in the article, probably called for the inspection after watching the news. Is it right for animals to work in jobs that humans do (Cody did indeed “work” because he attracted a lot of customers to the store)? Perhaps someone saw Cody as a threat to human superiority or a symbol of the undermining of human jobs.

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The Fantastic Mr. Fox

I recently saw the new movie Fantastic Mr. Fox (trailer if you don’t know what I am talking about). In this film there is, like in many, an idea behind the plot. The plot is a fairly simple one, the foxes and other animals are fighting against the three ruthless local farmers. In the story the initial reason why they do this is unclear, but there are reasons to continue. For example the nephew of Mr. Fox is kidnapped, that is a reason to continue. But the real reason why this was all started is far more complex.

Throughout the movie Mr. Fox and the other foxes try to be polite and human, but more so they try to deny that they are animals. This is most evident when Mr. Fox explains to Mrs. Fox why after twelve years (fox-years) he breaks his promise to not steal from the farmers. His reasoning is that he stole from the farmers because he is an animal. when the chance arose he ran in and stole what he could from the farmers. he explains that he had no choice in the matter; it goes against his instincts to pass up a chance to steal.

I found this to have an interesting commentary on animals subduing their animal side. Usually we talk about humans squishing their animal sides and animals amping up their human side, but never animals trying to suppress their animal side to make room for there preexisting human characteristics.

The Distant Past: A Shroud of Disregard

The Great Wall of China

After reading Lindsay’s “China’s Three Gorges Dam,” I could not refrain myself from writing about one of the most important monuments in China’s history, The Great Wall of China. Because the Great Wall is not nearly as new as the Three Gorges Dam, it poses subtler questions about its effects on nature. It in fact is so old that it seems like a part of nature itself, much like how we consider the Stonehenge to be a part of nature. But in actuality, it is the product of the human hand, literally.

I cannot help to wonder how such a huge structure, over five thousand miles long, would have affected nature and its animals. How many habitats were destroyed with the construction of this unthinkably massive wall? Such questions inundate my mind, for I would never have thought that this revered structure, built to prevent destruction of humanity from war, ironically, could have caused major damage to nature. I am very surprised that I had never thought of this topic before, but then again, the Great Wall successfully shrouded itself with its blanket of grass and trees in order to blend into nature.

I wonder why there is always controversy about recent technological structures that could harm nature such as the Three Gorges Dam but not about things of the past such as the Great Wall. Is destroying nature with human technology a concept strictly limited to the present and the future? Why do we not talk about things of the distant past and their effects? Is it because humans were not harmful before, but are becoming increasingly so as we progress through time? And if this is true, how are we evolving so quickly? What are our outlooks for the future? I don’t know about you, but my mind is sufficiently blown.

Dæmon

Have you read His Dark Materials? In this fantasy trilogy there are several worlds and in one of them, the world that the main character comes from, there is an odd phenomenon. Every person has a life long companion called a dæmon, which is an animal representation of the person’s soul.

These animals reflect the person’s personality. For example those who are prone to guarding and serving tend to have dogs. Whereas those who have the stereotypical traits of a lizard have a lizard for a dæmon. I find this all very interesting because these dæmons are animals with human personalities.

Philip Pullman, the author makes an interesting point with this invention. It seems to me that he points out that it’s not animals that have qualities of humans but humans who still have animal qualities. So far we have spent a lot of our time talking about how society perceive animals as human but never the other way around. This truly is a new way to view the animal in all of us. And it is cool to try to think of what your dæmon would be. Actually, if you read this feel free comment with the animal your dæmon would be.