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Home » Archive » 2009

TDK conference 2009

The reflection of animlas in the human psyche
Singovszky Tünde - year 4
SzIE, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Department of Animal Breeding, Nutrition and Laboratory Animal Science
Supervisor: Sándor György Fekete DVM

Abstract:

The psychological development of the man is due to the animals, too, because we are also part of the living world. The estimation of animals during the human history is continuously changing as a function of the actual scientific knowledge. In the Ancient Times many animals have the role of a god(ness), but even nowadays in the culture of many peoples, like Indian tribes of North America the animal spirits have the role of genitor and „power animal”. Animal symbols are also integral part of the history of the Hungarian nation: the mythical stag of the legendary Hungarian prehistory (and even it used to be the central figure of the previous Scythian golden representations) that headed our ancestral tribes into the Carpathian Basin, the turul eagle as the progenitor of the Arpadian Royal House, not giving details about the sacral position of the horse. In the Middle Age many superstition, deriving from human ignorance, caused the meaningless death of millions of animals. The description of the role of nervous system in producing behaviour troubles (e.g. rabies) helped in the more and more complete extinction of those practice. From the 17th century the existence and feeling of the animals got in the crossfire of philosophical disputes and the masterminds of the epoch wrote dozens of relating books. At the beginning the main question was: ’Were the animals sentient creatures or they would have been only like the machines’ (Descartes, 1637; Kant, 1755). More and more people thought that animals have feelings, too (Leibniz, 1704), therefore need protection: „The question is not, can they reason? nor, can they talk? but, can they suffer ?” (Bentham, 1789). Nowadays it is an evidence that most of the animals feel pain and the higher species have a certain self-consciousness, which is similar to the human’s one. The knowledge and the propagation of the resulting empathetic and ethical behaviour toward animals are tasks of each humane men, especially that of a veterinarian. Despite the above mentioned the evaluation in the international right is not uniform. Today there is a significant transformation in the human-animal relationship: the presence of the animals became a daily psychological need for many people.

After reviewing the history of the topic, using a 14-point-questionnaire, I have studied in different age group of children (kindergarten, elementary school) the knowledge about the animals and their attitude towards them. During the processing of the data it turned out that most of the children did not attach great importance to the production livestock; on the contrary, they indicated as favourite the companion animals, above all the dog or in less cases, the cat. There was a strong correlation between the own pet and the indicated favourite animal species. The knowledge of the children about the animals proved to be very insufficient: in some cases they even believe incorrect animal characteristics disseminating by the commercials (e.g. the lilac colour of the cow!). Summarising the present-day, especially urban people the general zoological knowledge is poor and the centre of gravity in human-animal relationship shifted into the direction of the kept pet-companion animals.



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