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The Harmful Effects of Drugs as Depicted in Barbara Natterson-horowitz and Kathryn Bowers's Book Zoobiquity

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Owners of animals all over the world have looked at their pet one time or another and wondered what they were thinking. Many even have wondered what their pets would say if they could speak. People have been subconsciously relating to animals but if you were to ask these owners if they knew the connections in medicine between humans and animals they would most likely be dumbfounded. Acknowledging the similarities is one thing but it would be most beneficial to both humans and animals to understand the importance of these similarities. Advancing medicine is always a priority to society regardless of time period. The similarities between humans and animals in health, diseases and addiction are important because it can provide valuable information about medicine and further advance our understanding about humans as a species.

Diseases is a major sub-section of health that is very important in this discussion because it can help us further our knowledge on specific diseases while also furthering us to a cure for those diseases. The author of Zoobiquity shows curiosity to this topic and researched if different animals were able to contract certain diseases. “I started with the big killers. Do animals get breast cancer? Stress induced heart attacks? Leukemia? How about melanoma? Chlamydia? And night after night, condition after condition, the answer kept coming back ‘yes’.” (Bowers 7). It is not only evident that there are some similarities between humans and animals but there are specific diseases that are found in humans and animals.

When I first read that Rhinos could get leukemia or penguins could get melanoma I was intrigued but not shocked. It seems as if most people just do not know about this but when learning about it then it makes more sense. It is important for people to not only know about this but to be educated on this as well. Only then will we be able to use these similarities between humans and animals to further advance health issues in today’s society.

The main reason this subject does not gain much attention is because of the Great Chain of being paradigm. This is the idea that we humans are above all other species in terms of a hierarchy. The reason this negatively affects our understanding of the human’s vs animals subject is because we are automatically inclined to believe that we are the most superior species. While it might be true that we are able dominate most species since we have learned how to use weapons it still does not change the fact that animals are very similar to us. Most people will have a hard time relating to a koala since we have been stuck on the idea that we are above all other species. “Could Koala research inform human public health strategies?” (Bowers 8). This question by itself would make most people laugh and turn their head but if you told these same people that Koala’s were found to have being able to contract chlamydia and that if we could understand why they contracted it then we can help Koalas plus help the human species by understanding the small differences and similarities between species. Once humans are able to knock down the superiority complex we can then be enlightened by how much we can learn from other animals and species.

Addiction is also a main point that Bowers dives into as well. As we know for humans, addiction is a very serious condition where you indulge in a substance that feels pleasurable but the continued use of it can become compulsive and take over a person’s life for the worst. This brings up the question if animals can become addicted to a substance just like a human can. Zoophoria tackles this subject more in depth. Bowers mentions a case where wallabies would go into a poppy seed field and ingest the opiates found in poppy seeds and get high off of it. They would do this all harvest season and when the harvest season was over the wallabies actually went through a serious withdrawal just like any human would when they stop taking a drug they have been addicted to. “Understanding what drives animals to ingest drugs might help us separate what is inevitable from what is optional about this perplexing disease.” (Bowers 114). This is Bowers’ main point of the Zoophoria chapter. I agree with this idea because I feel like it would be very beneficial for all species’ if we could know why the wallabies go into the poppy seed fields or why people continuously use drugs that are very harmful to them. We need to understand if it is a neurological problem with brain chemicals or if it stems deeper than that. Most people will say just stop using drugs when hearing about a problem like this but it is actually not that simple. Alcoholism for example is considered a disease. Although it is being addicted to alcohol, people who are alcoholics have a disease where they literally can not go a day without a drink. This is a very serious problem in today’s society and has many similarities as wallabies ingesting opiates. Being able to know what makes an alcoholic addicted to alcohol or what makes a wallaby want to get high will help us solve this problem, and if we can solve one of the problems then we can most likely bridge the gap between animal and human health and open the doors to solve many more health related problems in many other species.

In conclusion I strongly believe that bridging the gap between human health and animal health will help out with solving different types of diseases. Understanding the similarities is one thing but being able to take action is a whole different story itself. Like Bowers, there are many people out there who understand that animals and humans are similar in health but most of those people will not be able to have an impact on this situation. The people who can help, however

would be doctors and veterinarians. At one point in time doctors and veterinarians did consult with each other and would take each others opinions into consideration when dealing with patients. Nowadays doctors feel like veterinarians are not up to par with them when it comes to how helpful they can be or even how smart they are. I believe this is a huge mistake especially after reading Zoobiquity and understanding how similar we are with animals. If we started making more of a push to bridge the gap between animal and human health, then we can understand how to prevent and cure diseases as well as solving the long time questions of addiction.

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The Harmful Effects Of Drugs As Depicted In Barbara Natterson-Horowitz And Kathryn Bowers’s Book Zoobiquity. (2019, March 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 5, 2022, from
“The Harmful Effects Of Drugs As Depicted In Barbara Natterson-Horowitz And Kathryn Bowers’s Book Zoobiquity.” GradesFixer, 12 Mar. 2019,
The Harmful Effects Of Drugs As Depicted In Barbara Natterson-Horowitz And Kathryn Bowers’s Book Zoobiquity. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 5 Jul. 2022].
The Harmful Effects Of Drugs As Depicted In Barbara Natterson-Horowitz And Kathryn Bowers’s Book Zoobiquity [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 Mar 12 [cited 2022 Jul 5]. Available from:
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