Recent DNA tests have revealed that humans share most of our genetic makeup with other animals. Physically, our similarities with our fellow men, far outweigh our differences. In the Western mind, however, a clear line is drawn between humans and other animals. Because they do not communicate in our language, we think, do not have much in common beyond the physical structure.
For Westerners, only humans have a soul, a wide range of emotions and the unique capacities of reason, imagination and our changing environment on a large scale to meet our needs. Despite the division in our thinking, we still have intimate relationships with the animals closest to us and can not seem to resist their anthropomorphism. There are several societies whose conception of the place of humans in the animal world is very different from ours.
Although these types of belief systems are very diverse, much more than we see closely related to other creatures, both physically and mentally. Here, I explore some of these non-Western ideologies and compare their performance on the human-animal relationship to each other and to Western ideas.