Social groups do not always behave rationally about using animals

Years ago I read an explanation for the unpopularity of pigs in the Middle East, by anthropologist Marvin Harris, which relied on the idea that pigs are not practical to produce in that environment, despite being notoriously tasty. Here is one account of his suggestion.

Whether one “buys” that idea or not, I can think of at least one case where rational use of animals has not been in evidence (at least, I think it hasn’t – maybe there is some subtlety I am missing.)

This is the failure of Indians to keep cats to help deal with their rodent problem (if that graphic is accurate, there are more cats in the UK than in India). Estimates of grain loss vary, but it is certainly a problem.

Indians do not keep many pets on a per capita basis, and they tend to prefer dogs:


It looks to me as if one huge area of humanity has not behaved rationally in an animal ecology sense. But, as I said, maybe there is some point I have missed. Comments welcome, preferably informed.


5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Julian O'Dea on April 8, 2016 at 11:53 pm

    “Feral cats weapon of choice for some residents facing influx of rats.”


  2. Posted by Julian O'Dea on June 10, 2016 at 4:07 am

    “The bureaucats at the heart of government”


  3. Posted by Julian O'Dea on October 13, 2016 at 9:53 am

    “Feral Cats Employed as Rat Exterminators at Javits Center”


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