'Without animals,' says Peter, a Maasai nomad interviewed in the New Internationalist1, 'life isn't worth living'. Sitting here in my inner-city backyard writing this, with a circle of attentive little upturned canine and feline faces surrounding me, and my cranky duck tugging at my shoelaces, I could not be in more heartfelt agreement. But how many people today would share this sentiment? For how many would it be football that makes life worth living, or cars, or opera, or ice-skating? Is there anything to ground the conviction that I want to defend here, that the company of non-human animals is a necessary part of human life, in a way that football, cars, opera and ice-skating manifestly are not, and that we relinquish or forego it at our peril?
Recommended CitationMathews, Freya, Living With Animals, Animal Issues, 1(1), 1997.