LIVESTOCK: FROM DOMINATION OVER ANIMALS TO DOMINATON OVER HUMANS


Different theories have tried to explain why some human cultures began to develop hierarchic and domineering societies. The most widespread of them states that both Indo Europeans and Semites had their origins in geographical areas that turned into deserts, which might have caused them to break apart from the old ways of life and created their necessity to migrate in search of new territories. On the other hand, we have the example of the Bushmen in Africa or the Australian Aborigines who, in spite of living in extremely arid areas, have preserved their egalitarian social structures through millennia.

 

Another theory, which we are about to put forward, states that animal domestication and the development of extensive livestock as the only food source (in absence of agriculture) meant the rupture of the ancestral bond between humans and animals (see part 2 of Palaeolithic Indigenous Europe*). The humans of those cultures, the first time they crushed the spirit of certain animals they broke a most sacred bond, and apply these techniques of domination to the human animals.

 

The document ‘Basic Call to Consciousness’, that the Iroquois people presented at the UN in 1977, defines the conquerors that invaded their territories as Indo Europeans and explains the origin of such culture from the beginning of animal domestication. This is an extract:

 

"The Indo-European people who have colonized our lands have shown very little respect for the things that create and support Life. We believe that these people ceased their respect for the world a long time ago. Many thousands of years ago, all the people of the world believed in the same Way of Life, that of harmony with the universe. All lived according to the Natural Ways.

 

Around ten thousand years ago, peoples who spoke Indo-European languages lived in the area which today we know as the Steppes of Russia. At that time, they were a Natural World people who lived off the land. They had developed agriculture, and it is said that they had begun the practice of animal domestication. It is not known that they were the first people in the world to practice animal domestication. The hunters and gatherers who roamed the area probably acquired animals from the agricultural people, and adopted an economy, based on the herding and breeding of animals.

 

Herding and breeding of animals signaled a basic alteration in the relationship of humans to other life forms. It set into motion one of the true revolutions in human history. Until herding, humans depended on nature for the reproductive powers of the animal world. With the advent of herding, humans assumed the functions which had for all time been the functions of the spirits of the animals. Sometime after this happened, history records the first appearance of the social organization known as patriarchy. […] The process that has become the culture of the West is historically and linguistically a Semitic/Indo-European culture, but has been commonly termed the Judeo-Christian tradition." Confederation of Six Iroquois Nations ‘Basic call to consciousness’ (the Hau de no saunee address the Western World).

 

 

- In this same thread of thought, Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente declared:

“This cultural current would sweep away the prehistoric animal of his ancestral customs, turning it from wild and unreachable, to docile and domestic, and finally imposing the whip and the chain. The chain and the whip subjugated human to the same conditions of the cattle working the land.... and in this frenzy of domestication, man domesticated man himself. A deep abyss tore apart the wild from the domestic, what is free from what is owned.”

 

- In Casilda Rodrigañez’ opinion:

“The fathers of our civilization found out what to do to turn a bull into an ox and use its docile strength to pull a cart or plough the land: emasculate it when is very young. Then they invented cattle farming: having many cows, reproducing what is required. It is about domineering a particular specie to reduce its vitality without completely killing it t be able to exploit the production of these mutilated lives. This art of domination, devastation and explotation, they applied to human society, to obtain armies for the wars of conquest and slaves for forced labour.”

 

- And Humberto Maturana asserts:

” I think and suggest that the patriarchal culture began outside Europe, in Central Asia, with the beginnings of shepherding and the concept of appropriation (of animals). This caused the fight against wolf, since this animal needs to feed on the same animals also humans depend on. Thus appears the first dynamics of enmity. Later on the enemy wasn´t the wolf anymore, but anyone else that is on the way for exerting appropriation of something. In the Matristic culture, the main emotion is love. With the need to defend livestock, emotions change. The confidence in the dynamics of the natural is lost and we begin to live fear and control.”

 

Another consequence of the appearance of cattle farming is materialism or, at least, the linguistic evidence seems to point that way. If we go back to the Neolithic, we find the Indo European term pecu (cattle, ox , sheep) that derived in pecunia (latin for money). And if we go further back, to te Basque language (Euskara), which is considered the oldest language of Europe since it is pre-Indo European (miraculously survived the invasions), we find that to ‘wealth’ corresponds the word aberatza, composed of ‘abere’ (cattle) and ‘tza’ (suffix of abundance). Therefore, apparently, and opposite to what the history books tend to tell, the private property, the class/caste system,... are more likely to have derived from raising cattle culture, and not from agricultural surplus.

Aes signatum
Aes signatum

About the origins of the term pecunia, this is what Manuel Antonio Marcos Casquero, on his article ‘Pecunia, History of a word’:

 

“The old Latin etymologists showed complete unanimity at the time to explain the term pecunia (money),as a word closely related to pecu (cattle), pecu-oris (cattle, flock, herd), pecu-udis (single animal, sheep, ram). So states Varro when he declares that pecuniosús (wealthy) comes from pecunia magna (big money), and pecunia (money) derives from pecus (cattle), for this words originated among the shepherds."

 

 

Also Saint Isidore of Seville agrees with them. He bases his opinion on the authority of certain passage of Cicero (DE rep.6, 9, 16) to explain the meaning of pecuniosus as ‘stockbreeder’ or ‘wealthy’: “Tulio Cicero says that originally this term was applied to those with abundant pecunia (cattle).So the ancient ones called them. But, little by little, by abusive extension of its meaning, this name was applied for the abundant possession of other goods/wealth.”

 

In fact, following Cicero´s passage: "In origin, Primitive Rome kept the order by punishing with fines involving the payment on sheep or ox- for in the olden days wealth was measured by the possession of cattle and land, hence the rich were called pecuniosi (stockbreeder) and locupletes (landlords)- instead of punishment with violence or torture.”

 

Finally, another of the consequences that derives from the animal domestication is the domestication of women by the new patriarchal hierarchy:

 

“Such division, such action of one part of humanity over the other part, wouldn´t have happened without the previous test subjugating other creatures of the world. For the same method of domestication of animals was used to domesticate women, taking advantage on the moment of most need for solidarity: the gravid state and childbirth.” Juan Merelo-Barberá, ‘You´ll give birth with pleasure’.

 

“There is an astonishingly similitude between women and cow when looked upon as breeding animals. Our ancestors once learned how cow could be classified, selected and mounted by certain stud bull in order to gain certain calf production. Learned these reproduction mechanics were similar for all mammals. Hence, it is not casual the historical coincidence between the beginning of livestock and the beginning of male domination over women.”Casilda Rodrigañez.