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#431071 - 12/08/10 10:37 AM Future use of animals?
Landus Offline
Member

Registered: 12/28/05
Posts: 373
Loc: UK
I can't help but feel that animals could be put to better use and intergrated in to society more than they are. I think it's brilliant that we have guide dogs, bomb detection rats, mounted steeds and other. But can they give us something more?

We already know the uses of most animals for what meat they provide us, but has the educational side been truly explored yet?

The african grey parrot is meant to have the emotional intelligence of a two year old baby, and the intellectual ability of a 5 year old. Elephants, dolphins and so many creatures are so intelligent and yet I feel we've only touched the surface.

I don't want to go off hand with this in to right and wrong, I want to hear what you think the future will be like in regard to animals. Here are some interesting links on what we've already used some for:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tool_use_by_animals
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_animal

Also, if we were gilled or more adept at tranversing through the sea (or lived there) we would probably have mounted/domesticated dolphins and whales.

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#431073 - 12/08/10 04:55 PM Re: Future use of animals? [Re: Landus]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!
Prolific

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
?

Not sure I understand what you are asking. But as far as the future, I hope that there is less animal abuse, and more constructive uses of their abilities.
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#431074 - 12/08/10 07:15 PM Re: Future use of animals? [Re: MattJ]
Landus Offline
Member

Registered: 12/28/05
Posts: 373
Loc: UK
I get that a lot. Definitely aiming this at exploring more constructive use of their abilities.

Some animals have abilities that our technology doesn't match yet: spider silk, the sense of smell a shark has to detect explosives, the direct hearing of an eagle to locate trapped survivors etc.

These are amazing things but can we get more from creatures than just their adapted abilities/traits.

For example: hamsters on the wheel to produce energy.

Just to add, I'm not on about forcing any animals in to work, but finding a better solution so they are fully intergrated with modern society

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#431076 - 12/09/10 04:52 AM Re: Future use of animals? [Re: Landus]
Cord Offline
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Registered: 01/13/05
Posts: 11399
Loc: Cambridge UK.
I still think the best future lies in a wider acceptance that animals other than us need have no 'use' to us to justify their existance in a world that we sadly have an unnatural control over.

I think that the real value from study of their behaviour and abilities should come in the form of mankind appreciating them for the thinking feeling creatures they are, and coming to respect them, and in so doing understanding ourselves as a species better in the process.
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#431078 - 12/09/10 08:53 AM Re: Future use of animals? [Re: Cord]
Prizewriter Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/23/05
Posts: 2572
On the money Cord.

Essentially considering animals as "tools" for humanity's own use objectifies animals, which IMO is a precursor for abuse.

Observing animals to understand animals (and as Cord said, ourselves) is IMO a worthy pursuit. That said I wouldn't look at another living creature and think "What could I get out of this creature?"
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"Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food" Hippocrates.

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#431079 - 12/09/10 11:30 AM Re: Future use of animals? [Re: Prizewriter]
iaibear Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 1304
Loc: upstate New York
Sounds like your standard job interview.

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#431080 - 12/09/10 01:24 PM Re: Future use of animals? [Re: iaibear]
Landus Offline
Member

Registered: 12/28/05
Posts: 373
Loc: UK
I do agree on that basis, but at the same time I feel that with animals losing wild habitat more are being forced in to extinction or zoo programmes. With that being said, I don't mean to 'use' animals but work with them in the same sense of a clown fish works with an anemone, or some fish may clean a sharks mouth, or lizards that eat flies off seals.

It's good to hear all your opinions on this

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#431115 - 12/12/10 07:40 AM Re: Future use of animals? [Re: Landus]
Shi Ronglang Offline
石榮狼
Member

Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 91
Loc: Samarobriva, Gallia
As much as I agree with Cord that animals shouldn't need to justify their right to exist (and live undisturbed) by whatever use they can be of to humans, I still think that they contain vast amounts of untapped "technology" whose use could be beneficial to everyone. Very often, using animals can be a natural alternative to developping complex, expensive technologies: living beings are by far the most wonderful machines you can think of.

For instance, specially trained pigs and dogs have been used for centuries to detect truffles. Could electro-chemical sensors be developped to do that job? Most probably. But what would be the point? A dog's nose is as sharp a sensor as you'll ever need. In the same way, I heard some pigeons had been trained to peck at a button when they caught glimpse of anything yellow, red or orange (the usual colour of a life-jacket). Placed in pods attached under helicopters, they're used when searching for survivors at sea... There again, a bird's eye is a little marvel of optical technology that has been around for millions of years (even though colour recognition is a well-mastered technology nowadays).

I think we're a bit too fast to look for technological solutions to our problems. Nature contains overlooked treasures of technology. Doing photosynthesis (using sunlight to generate organic matter) in a lab requires amazing ammounts of energy, when any blade of grass worth its salt does it without even thinking about it.

The benefit to animals might not always be obvious (anyone heard of that homing missile guided by a trained pigeon in its head, which the americans were trying to develop somewhere around WW2? grin ), but as a general rule I tend to think that any task for which we choose a "natural" solution over an energy-consuming "technological" one contributes to making our planet a tadbit cleaner, which is a good thing for animals as a whole.
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#431910 - 04/04/11 01:29 AM Re: Future use of animals? [Re: Shi Ronglang]
Dwip Offline
Newbie

Registered: 11/14/08
Posts: 17
I like eating animals...
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