Man”s gift of Pandora”s Box to the Animal World

Posted on March 4, 2012 in Environment

By Shivangi Singh:

In-breeding or incest is a taboo in almost all cultured civilization. However, the most civilized creature treading on Earth does not think that it applies in a very similar fashion for other animals as well. In-breeding is a taboo as per societal norms and it has scientific basis too. Mating among close relations does not eliminate the ‘bad gene’ which renders the next generation weaker. Meeting and mating are steps towards normal, healthy physiological need-fulfillment for not just human-beings but all animals. Nature gives every individual the right to choose its mate, or, sexual partner and this definitely includes animals, both wild and domestic. It’s simply cruel to force them to reproduce just for the sake of science and this is exactly what in-breeding is all about.

In-breeding is the mating of closely related animals, for example: parent and offspring or siblings, etc. It is carried out in both wild and domestic animals for various reasons. Whether it is due to better quality of products, as in the case of domestic animals, or as a result of the fear of poaching, in-breeding is undoubtedly and sadly the result of human interference. One of the biggest disadvantages of in-breeding is that it is not the result of natural sexual excitement so it doesn’t lead to sexual satisfaction and need-fulfillment, which in time weakens the sexual interest in these animals, consequently harming their minds as well as bodies. The focus here is simply on producing higher number of off-springs and not on the beautiful extension of a loving relationship in the physical plane.

Another in-breeding trade-off is that it weakens the immune system of not only the off-springs but also the participating animals, the parents. In fact, a single virus is enough to put an end to several in-bred lives. The reason for their weakened immunity is the lack of variety in their genes. Nature has made mating the playground for many different genes to come together and form new D.N.A.s responsible for taking the species forward and also to fight new and varied diseases. The uniformity of genes may be fatal, for if the genes are all the same the species can only adjust and adapt to a fixed perimeter. Darwin made it clear when he put forth the “Survival of the fittest” theory that genetic changes are the key to longevity and the assurance for the survival of the species. He may not have pointed out immunity and ill-effects of in-breeding specifically, but that is only because he might never have imagined that humans will turn into such cold-blooded, controlling species one day.

Yet another medical fall-out of in-breeding is what is termed as ‘in-breeding depression’. It occurs as a result of mutations in the mother’s body because of mating with a member of the same family and this is inherited by the child. Now, if the same mother has two children and they are made to mate, the problems get compounded as both of them are already suffering from in-breeding depression. So basically, all familial traits will continue to grow and the negative traits have high chances of becoming worse. If anything, it makes the hereditary diseases stronger in the bodies of the off-springs, making them genetically weaker than their ancestors and much more susceptible to any attacks on the species by their natural enemies.

Due to its unique nature, in-breeding is mostly done under laboratory test conditions for scientific purposes. Many experiments, especially those of drugs, cosmetic products, pharmaceuticals and research mating habits, require the in-bred animals to be used as the dummy experimental piece. The ultimate aim for these scientists is human development. Viewed from a different perspective, it is all about human ignorance towards other species and their lethal superiority complex. Using other life-forms to stay ahead in the genetic race hardly makes a good argument for the scientists’ case. While the animal right activists have protested several times, the governments of countries across the globe seem to be hardly concerned. After all, who has time for animals when the scandalous lives of the supreme beings make for juicy gossip, right?

It is no secret that human-beings misuse nature’s bounty. They abuse the gift of intelligence against it. In the pride and prejudice of humans, innocent animals get the boot. They are treated as a disposable entity by man, rather than as praise-worthy creations of the same one God. All the poaching, in-breeding and animal experimentation cries out loud that it is high time the human interference in just about anything and everything is stopped. It is time to let nature take its own course. It would be better for all if man sets certain ground rules while dealing with nature and its creations, and let the old adage of “Vasudhev Kutumbakam”, meaning, “The entire world is one big family”, come true.