My ebook: Journeys with the caterpillar

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Journeys with the caterpillar: Travelling through the islands of Flores
and Sumba, Indonesia
" is available at
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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Globalization and animals

We will largely accept that globalization is starting to affect all of us. On one hand; Indians swarm the US; Chinese goods occupy most of the global shelf-space and East European accents of hotel employees in London makes you wonder which country you have landed in. On the other hand; French companies tout nationalism as a superior goal to shareholder and employee interest and US law-makers think of every new way to catch and drive away immigrants.

But how does globalization affect animals? At first glance, one may think that it’s a win-win situation for most animals. Like human beings; most of the wild life resides in poorer nations. As countries get more developed; it is usual to see laws passed to safe guard wild life or ensure more humane treatment of livestock. But my hypothesis is that globalization affects different animals differently. In the human context; skill set is the key factor determining whether you are hit good or bad. In the animal kingdom; what matters is the threat of extinction for your species. Endangered animals have a ball worldwide; especially so in developed countries; where scientists even ensure that they are having good sex (no such privilege for most humans). While the more abundant animals are ignored for no fault of theirs; they usually have a tougher life in developed countries. A stray dog has a much higher chance of surviving through its life span in India unlike in the US where municipal authorities are much more impatient about its seemingly purposeless existence.

And how does globalization effect pets? Very badly, I would say. First world families adversely affected by globalization downsize amenities for their pets; those affected positively pass on marginal benefits. On the other hand; as families in developing countries get richer; they switch their pets to monotonous branded food. Also many families start keeping as pets, species, which are ill adapted to local conditions. Imagine the plight of a hairy German Sheppard in the sweltering heat of Chennai or Delhi. Or consider the local dog that follows his master, a software engineer to Boston. These non-resident Indian pets have the toughest life of all: no company of the opposite sex, no friends; monotonous food and a master who often talks about bringing in a super-sized, loud mouthed and high-maintenance American dog. Can these animals say "Nous"?


dazedandconfused said...

Shivaji, its not a coincidence that wildlife is more prevalent in the poor countries. In the name of development, many developed countriers have slaughtered their wildlife and decimated their forests before the world community woke up to the perils of such doings. Globalization at most has a secondary relation to the well being of wildlife, maybe in terms of providing enough resources to the host country to protect the same.

Taking the example of how pets will adapt when people move from one country to another is quite...ridiculous (forgive the term) when compared to the enormity of the issue.


readerswords said...

> Or consider the local dog that follows his master, a software engineer to Boston... Can the animal say "Nous"?

All it needs to do is demand internet access and start blogging. Remember, it is a flatter world for everyone.

Animals of the world, Unite ! You have nothing to lose and a blog to gain !

Shivaji said...

@ dazed:
Well, dazed; as you see, this blog is not a medium to tackle enormity of issues.