abuse which conservationists regularly heap upon thatntradition. The Hebrews were required not to harvest thenedges of their fields (Leviticus 23:22), and to leave the landnfallow every seven and every 50 years, explicitiy to allow thenwild things space to move and grow (Leviticus 25:6f). Theynwere not to hunt any creature to extinction (see Deuteronomyn22:6f), and always acknowledge that the life belonged tonGod alone, not to them. H. M. Kallen obseres in ThenDimensions of Job that the book of Job culminates in God’snanswer to human impatience: “God describes Himself asnthe wisdom that makes for the survival of the wild ass, thenhamster, the eagle, the ostrich, of all living nature.” As Inhae argued in From Athens to Jerusalem human beingsnhave no special place, no special rights in nature.nIf our relations to the wild things should be goerned b’ anision of this sort of cosmic democracy, the ecos^stemicncommunity, what of our relations with the tame, thendomesticated creatures of our farms and households? Here,ntoo, a notion honed in political philosophy has its uses: thensocial contract. Alongside the general duty to respect thenautonomy of our fellow humans, acknowledged by Kantiannmoralists, there are more local, national duties to keep faithnand care for our fellow citizens, to obey laws justiy made.nAlthough no actual human community e”er began in annexplicit bargain to play fair by one another, not to break thenrules of the bargaining community, we can still assess thenpresent state of a human group by asking whether itsnmembers would rationalh’ hae consented to the bargainnthe}” lie under: Do they all stand to gain, in whatever termsnthe’ prefer? All of us, for example, stand to gain from thenmaintenance of a civil communit’ in which disputes arenresoKed by recourse to legally established courts whichndispla}’ no systematic prejudice against any particular group:neen if we lose occasionally we would all lose far more if wenwere forced to Iie in a state of nature, subject to the wills ofnall those stronger than ourselves, or if it were accepted thatnjudges might be biased towards the class of their choice.nCan the same be said for the contract of domestication?nOnce again, it does not much matter how it came aboutnthat humans domesticated nonhumans—though it is worthnremarking that it was probably this long experience ofninterspecies cooperation that has given us the capacity tonsympathize with and understand nonhuman animals. Possiblyndogs and humans really did recognize mutual advantagesnin their cooperation. But we can still assess the situationnby referring to a notional contract even if the first domesticndogs were strictly captives or salable commodities, as J. F.nDowns suggested in the 1960 Kroeber AnthropologicalnSociety Papers. Most human groups, after all, probablynbegan in war and slavery: how they began matters less thannwhat they are now.nAs a cautionary fable, at least, we can suggest thatnhumans, horses, dogs, and cattie began by cooperating:nhumans provided skills of forethought and care, and thenanimals provided assistance, companionship, transport,nmilk, clothing, even meat. T. Ingold’s 1974 study in Mannof the changing historical relations between Lapps andnreindeer suggests how easily this contract may be manipulatednfor human benefit: because the strength is ours,nbecause (once the gods have abandoned us) it is we whonhave to enforce the observance of the contract on oursehes.n22/CHRONICLES OF CULTUREnnnthere is clearly a powerful drive towards treating the animalsnfirst as unequal partners and then as commodities, withoutnany contractual rights at all.nBut though it may be difficult to remember this, wenought to assess our practices by referring to what mightnrationally be accepted by all parties. Probably, given ournknown bias, we should try to lean over backwards to gie thenbenefit of the doubt to our less powerful partners. Wenshould not muzzle the ox that treads out the corn, andn(most emphatically) should not deny to our domesticnanimals those personal relationships of care and affectionnthat most human groups ha’e learned to give, and whichnare. Darling asserts, the animals’ right once we havendomesticated them. This model certainly does not answernall questions, nor does it instantiy validate that system ofninterspecies relations which I would myself think best: itndoes not, for example, positieIy prove that we ought not tonrear animals whom we intend to kill and eat. This isnperhaps an adantage if it is to seem more than a convenientnrationalization of my own moral preferences: whereas I amnmself ery unsure that it would be rational of cattle tonaccept care and feeding on condition that their male caKesnare culled to feed the carers, it is certainly arguable thatncattie might have preferred this to being culled b wohes,nwithout any corresponding care. They might: I do not thinknthat people would accept such a bargain for themsehes.nAnd no one would suggest that it would be rational of cattiento accept intensive farming: What imaginable goal of theirsnis reached by this?nThe ideal to which we may look without exaggeratednoptimism is a countryside in which humans so managentheir uses, agricultural, scientific, or recreational, as tonallow the maximum possible use of the land to other wildncreatures: the rules should be the fine democratic principlenof “maximum liberty compatible with an equal liberty fornall” (a rule, be it noted, that not only allows but requiresndefinite efforts to restrain the overweening). Domesticnanimals, including farm animals, should be regarded asnpartners, paying their way and being owed a correspondingncare and affection. It has alwas been difficult, of course, tonmanage the delicate emotional strategy of caring for ancreature whom one plans to castrate, kill, and eat.nAs the message slowly sinks in that human beings are notnof a radically different kind, that we may communicatenwith creatures of other species even if they are not clever, Inw ould expect the contract of mutual profit to be changed.nMany creatures would be bred back to the wild state, andntake their places as fellow members of the land-community,nhunted perhaps but no longer expected to feel gratitude fornbeing slaves. Contrary to the views expressed by J. BairdnCallicott in 1980 in Environmental Ethics, there is no goodnreason to think that domestic animals are wholly denatured,nincapable of autonomous existence. But the practical difficultiesnof “animal liberation” are quite real. That liberationnis a long-term goal: in the near future it will be enough tonallow the wild things their place, and give the tame thingsnwhat they are owed, in terms of a life well-lived. That, afternall, is the bargain all of us might rationally have made—tonlive as members of our civil community at the price ofnbeing asked, some day, to die for it. ccn