How and why did humans domesticate animals – and what might this tell us about the future of our own species?
However we choose to use this technology, it’s likely that anything we do to animals will reflect back on us too. CRISPR has just been approved for testing on humans. If Algaze and Ingold are right, and subjugating animals paved the way to slavery and the state, what will today’s factory farms do to societies of the future? How will opening up the genome of our companion species affect how we think about humans’ genetic code? ‘Judging from the past, we may safely infer that not one living species will transmit its unaltered likeness to a distant futurity,’ Darwin wrote towards the end of On the Origin of Species. That sentence is true of all creatures, but truest, perhaps, of humans.