chapter  2
The Other Animal
Pages 31

The idea and practice of animal rights is far too complex to be subjected to any psychological reductionism. Ethologists, who study and compare the behaviour patterns of animals to produce an all-inclusive knowledge ranging from the activities of humans to sticklebacks or insects, would indeed explain animal rights by reference to biology and its evolutionary features. Lorenz argues that humans will only live well and properly when the demands of evolution, and in particular the connections between humans and animals, are accepted. Menninger concentrates on what humans can make of the animal, Lorenz on what the animal makes of humans. Levi-Strauss's structural anthropology demands that analysis concentrates on how societies classify the natural world, how humans understand themselves as humans, and examines the impact of the social interpretations of being on individual practices. The ethological-sociobiological tradition is woefully inadequate because it understands humans and animals as merely natural objects.