“Are we above them or are we like them?”

by Jenny Friedrich-Freksa

The hunters and the hunted (Issue II/2021)

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Photo: Max Lautenschläger


As an editorial team, we have often considered dedicating a whole magazine to animals. But for a long time, the topic didn't seem pressing enough, and we opted for issues directly affecting people. In the meantime, however, our treatment of nature and wildlife around the world has become so catastrophic that it felt necessary to dedicate this magazine to humans and animals. It spans the great love that many of us feel towards creatures of all shapes and sizes, as well as current dramatic and scary trends. In this issue, the epidemiologist Donal Bisanzio links pandemics to collapsing ecosystems and species extinction. French philosopher Corine Pelluchon writes about how industrialised factory farms in the Western world have dulled people's compassion.

The relationship between humans and animals has always hinged on the question: Are we above them or are we like them? The Dutch behavioural scientist Frans de Waal studies animal emotions and concludes: “Chimps are much more honest as politicians than humans. They want power and they work for it.”

We also look at how humans and animals communicate with each other, for example how traumatised U.S. soldiers benefit from therapy with horses, and the author T. C. Boyle reveals how he talks to animals. We meet groups of animals and the people who herd them, like Ajsalkyn Jessenbajewa who lives with her sheep in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan. Put together, all the stories reveal an underlying theme: How we treat animals tells us a lot about who we are as people.

Translated by Jess Smee



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