I like this argument, and I made it in a different way in a different comment, however, mice share a lot of the same qualities of rats we dislike, and we don’t hate them the same way we hate rats. I think how we view animals does make a huge difference and mice are loved for their cuteness.
I think one of the reasons we dislike rats is because of how much they resemble us. They fall into a type of uncanny valley. One of the interesting parallels is that as rats are forced to live in closer quarters their behavior changes, resulting in greater deviancies from the norm. These deviancies included greater aggression and greater social withdrawal. This could be seen as similar to how higher density populations exhibit a higher rate of psychological distress.
The idea of domesticated people makes me think of The Time Machine, where humanity had diverged into two groups, a society of effeminate idle people, and the cannibalistic under-dwellers who feed on them and provide them with material goods. Except in such an extreme sense I can’t see “domesticated people” being applicable in the sense you’re using it.
Apparently there have been projects to introduce reindeer herding in Alaska as early as the 1890s, between 20 and 30 years after it was purchased from Russia. (http://www.foresthistory.org/fellowships/willis.pdf) That reminded me of another similar project, introducing camels to the mid-west. Unfortunately they didn’t work well alongside horses and couldn’t deal with rocky terrain. (http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2011/01/03/the-military-camels-of-the-north-american-west/)
The link to Satan actually came from the book, I’d be interested in finding out how gigs led to the downfall of Lower Egypt. I do remember watching a documentary about how the animals brought to the New World changed the environment down to the soil.
I actually liked the graphic descriptions of living with the goats and the kids’ births. I grew up reading James Harriot’s books, which detailed the life of a country veterinarian and contained many such descriptions. I believe my post addressed some of your topic questions, particularly the genetic and social effects of pastoralism.
It would be interesting to see if monkeys or other species of animals could be bred to develop or rely on their own technology and domesticates. I remember reading about dolphins developing and spreading new fishing techniques among themselves. I would be interested in seeing the results of any concerted effort to breed an animal for greater brain volume. http://phys.org/news/2011-08-ingenious-fishing-method-dolphins.html
The only thing I can think of in favor of the “dogs domesticated for food” theory is that dogs can eat a lot of scraps and leftovers that people prefer not to. As recycling animals they are at least partially useful. I would think though, that pigs would be more versatile and easily consumable than dogs.
The main reason I tied my ideas on cats to the reading was that wolfdogs show a more clear example of semi-domesticated animals, ones which exhibit traits of domestication and being wild. I suppose it would be more accurate to say that the reading helped me better see how cats fit the description of semi-domesticated.
I looked into meanings of the term artificial, and I think one version avoids the “everything is natural” paradigm. Artificial, meaning the result of deliberate human action, can be applied to part or all of the process of domestication, certainly in the foxes case.
On the subject of unexpected predations, there are spiders the size of dinner plates that eat birds. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klHDzIIrsjY