Animals and Human Society in Asia: An Overview and Premises

  • Rotem KownerEmail author
  • Guy Bar-Oz
  • Michal Biran
  • Meir Shahar
  • Gideon Shelach-Lavi
Part of the The Palgrave Macmillan Animal Ethics Series book series (PMAES)


This introductory chapter explores the four main themes of the book: hunting and domestication, animals as food, animals at war, and animals in culture and religion in their Asian context. It suggests that, first, due to its intensive and relatively advanced human settlement since prehistorical times and to the wide variety of animals available, Asia had been the cradle of animal domestication and consequently of the use of these animals for food and for military purposes. Second, due to its extreme diversity of ecosystems, human cultures, and animals (and domesticated animals in particular), Asia offers an ideal laboratory for examining their interaction with regard to human–animal relations. Third, there have been mutual influences and often also close ties between the various areas of the Asian continent with respect to the use of animals and the attitudes toward them. Fourth, the use of animals for food and for other various utilitarian purposes remains a major concern in Asia in modern times and even today. Fifth, and finally, as the cradle of the world’s major religions, Asia has been a major site for the emergence of moral teachings and ethical guidance on the treatment of animals and on attitudes toward them, and consequently their legacy still affects the lives of billions of humans to this very day.


Hunting Domestication Food War Culture Religion Asia 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rotem Kowner
    • 1
    Email author
  • Guy Bar-Oz
    • 2
  • Michal Biran
    • 3
  • Meir Shahar
    • 4
  • Gideon Shelach-Lavi
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Asian StudiesThe University of HaifaHaifaIsrael
  2. 2.Zinman Institute of ArchaeologyThe University of HaifaHaifaIsrael
  3. 3.Institute of Asian and African StudiesThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael
  4. 4.Department of East Asian StudiesTel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael
  5. 5.Department of Asian StudiesThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael

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