Australian Indigenous Communities And The Human-Dog Bond
This research paper examines the nature of the human-animal relationship in contemporary Australian Indigenous communities, specifically focusing on attitudes toward dogs in seven communities.
Interviews with 137 Indigenous inhabitants of Australia revealed a variety of attitudes toward dogs within the communities. Many interviewees stressed the importance of dogs at a community level based on traditional cultural values and beliefs. Dogs are considered necessary to protect people at night from spirits, and there is a notion of “pay-back” for wrong-doing directed at dogs in the communities. The value of dogs in the community means that shooting or poisoning dogs without consent is considered an inappropriate solution to the problem of overpopulation.
The traditional Indigenous human-dog bond is strong within these communities and must be considered when implementing appropriate and sustainable animal management practices.