Does animal life matter

human and animal

Carola Otterstedt

To person

Dr. phil., born 1962; Cultural scientist and behavioral scientist; Author and editor of scientific textbooks on human-animal relationships, including "Companions-Competitors-Relatives, The Human-Animal Relationship in Interdisciplinary Discourse" (2009); Head of the Alliance Human & Animal Foundation, Luganoweg 15, 81475 Munich. [email protected]

Animals are present in almost all areas of society. The economic and cultural value assigned to the animal also determines the attitude of society towards the life of the individual animal and its species.


We live in a society with a large number of domestic, farm and wild animals: 8.2 million cats and 5.3 million dogs in Germany alone, [1] almost 90 million cattle and 150 million pigs in Europe. [2] The common living space nature and ethical principles oblige us to constantly weigh up the realization of our own interests and altruistic action to secure sustainable resources.

On what cultural basis do we deal with animals? How is the image of animals changing and what economic, ecological and social relevance does the human-animal relationship have for our society? This article gives an insight into the diversity of the correlation between human and animal [3] life in our society.