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Valued Animals And Animal Values

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Chapter Summary

In the early modern Spanish empire, both humans and other animals were used as resources. Nonhuman animals were sources of entertainment, food and clothing, they also reflected the wonders of God's creation for someone like Acosta. In that sense, they possessed a value beyond human use value alone. To early modern inhabitants of the Spanish empire, nonhuman animals were God's before they were placed under human dominion. They possessed a metaphorical and metaphysical dimension that complicated attitudes and contributed to definitions of appropriate and inappropriate use. Spaniards were defined by the nonhuman animals with whom they associated, and by just how they associated with those other animals. Their humanity was intrinsically linked to animality. To understand the attitudes of the Spanish empire to nonhuman animals, elements of the Spanish economy must be understood. In both economic terms and metaphysical flights of fancy, Spaniards valued sheep and herding.

Keywords: Acosta; associated; economy; herding; humanity; humans; nonhuman animals; Spanish empire; valued animals; values

10.1163/ej.9789004193895.i-226.19
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