Africa–Not a monolith

As far as I know, Africa isn’t monolithic and never was when it comes to the different nations, kingdoms and ethnicities. The kingdoms that predated modern African nations such as the Baganda and Yoruba kingdoms should tell you that Africa wasn’t that monolithic from the start either. For instance, it’s like saying cat meat is a thing in Africa but only a handful of African nations have cat meat (Angola, Cameroon, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo and Togo) and even then not all of their inhabitants eat cat meat.

Cat meat’s not even a thing in other countries like Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Nigeria, Tanzania, South Africa, Uganda and Rwanda. That’s like saying Asians eat dogs and this is confined to only a handful of countries (South Korea, Hong Kong, China, The Philippines and Vietnam) and there are Asian countries that don’t have dog meat (Thailand, Japan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and India) just as not all Asians eat dogs. That risks being a racist cliche that paints and generalises either or both Asians and Africans.

That would be like saying Europeans poison dogs which’s a big deal in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy. Not so much in other countries like Britain and Ireland where although it’s a problem, to my knowledge it’s not a big problem as it is in Germany and Austria. Not to mention Africa’s increasingly out of poverty, there’s a growing middle class in many African countries and there are African countries such as Kenya, Ghana, Morocco, Botswana, Egypt and Namibia which are in the third stage of the demographic transition model.

As in declining death and birth rates, increasingly becoming stable. That’s where several of them are, many more will join in the future. There goes another problem with generalising Africa, it ignores whatever political and cultural differences they have where Nigeria will be different from Ghana, Kenya’s different from Uganda and Rwanda and so on. In fact, even in Nigeria there’s a difference between the Muslim North and the Christian South. This is also felt to some extent with other West and Central African countries, though not as deeply as in Nigeria where at some point it was two different countries.

So Africa’s not a monolith, it never was a monolith when it comes to the Akan Empire overlooking both Cote D’Ivoire and Ghana, the Yoruba kingdoms of Benin and Nigeria and the Cameroonian fondoms.

This isn’t always the case

I actually suspect the idea that cat ownership’s correlated with less green space’s only true for the developed world. As in when it comes to cultures and countries where dog walking’s rare if people did own dogs it’s usually for a few things like hunting, shepherding and guarding the former two being the only times where most adults would walk their dogs. This would make dog walking for pleasure a very recent thing.

It might not even be consistent among non-Western countries and even some Western countries to an extent (Russia for instance). Both Cameroon and Nigeria are highly agricultural but the latter doesn’t tolerate cats that much whereas the former does even if some degree of distrust occurs. If I’m not mistaken, at least in two studies (one in Yaounde and the other in Bamileke villages) cats outnumbered dogs by a margin.

Mostly for pest control. Conversely speaking, some African communities, locales and churches (like their European counterparts before them) associate dogs with witchcraft even if that doesn’t stop people from owning dogs. Though it does hurt their popularity. Ireland may’ve had a higher cat ownership rate before in the Middle Ages due to Catslechta in which cats are assigned jobs.

Same with dogs in Rwanda prior to the genocide. So pet ownership rates aren’t always due to the amount of available green space (that’s if/when dog walking for pleasure’s not fashionable yet) but also social and cultural beliefs. It’s like why some people don’t walk their dogs often and don’t let them in for long’s that they (secretly) associate dogs with filth even if they own them themselves.

If they think dogs are dirty, if they did own dogs at all the dogs would be expected to stay outside in time (as to literally not deal with their poop often) and wouldn’t walk their dogs often in public too. If dogs are expected to be distrusting towards outsiders, it makes sense that if the dog’s inside owners are expected to distract them to keep them from repelling visitors.

And also partly why some people don’t walk their dogs is because they expect them to guard premises. Ad infinitum, ad nauseum with other animals to whatever degree.

Irish Cats

Whilst it’s true that in some studies, dogs are much more popularly owned in Italy than cats keep in mind that it’s also true that Ireland (at least in the Middle Ages) used to be cat-centric or at least relatively more tolerant of cats than other European countries back then. In that there were cat laws and the like based on what cats were made to do or something. It did eventually sour though I also think it would’ve been analogous to how Rwandans feel about dogs.

Rwanda could’ve been a more dog-loving country before but once the war set loose, with dogs eating corpses it soured everything and anything for others. That would’ve been true for cats in Ireland especially as the 19th century happened due to repeated famines and the like. If that’s the case, this makes sense given the bad experiences due to bad socioeconomic conditions and the like.

Let’s not also forget that Cameroon’s a highly agricultural country but one that tolerates cats more in contrast to Nigeria. Cameroonians don’t necessarily like cats but the fact that it’s relatively common for them to own cats, sometimes outnumbering those who own dogs, suggests that they’re tolerated for having some value.

One could say similar things about Germany where there’s considerably more cat owners but it’s not just due to apartment living but also because cats are still valuable to farmers (based on what I’ve read but the same can be said of its neighbours and Britain to varying degrees). So I still think the Irish preference for dogs might’ve more to do with traumatic experiences from the famine and the like than it would about agriculture (to some extent).

Cameroon’s one such example where a good number of people still farm but also where it’s relatively common for them to own cats especially if/when it’s needed to hunt vermin. Same thing with Russia.

Some good predictions

Whilst the Philippines becomes majority atheist in the 2020s, much of Africa (as far as North Africa) as well as Indonesia and Malaysia become majority Christian in this same decade. Christianity becomes popular among Berbers for those who don’t want to give into polygamy and this is also true elsewhere in the Muslim world (more and more Alevi Muslims might join their Christian peers).

All of Africa becomes newly industrialised in 2019-2020 with West and East Africa leading the way, followed by North and Central Africa. Nigeria also surpasses the Philippines in economic growth and becomes the main source of missionaries to the Philippines then followed by other countries (including Morocco). Cameroon also gets its act together once it gets a new president and rises in prosperity.

Same with Ghana, Uganda, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Niger, Ethiopia and Eritrea. Same with Rwanda, Kenya and the two Congos too.

Coppingers on strays again

I commonly suspect that the likes of Retrieverman don’t entirely agree with the Coppingers if because the idea of dogs being self-domesticated sort of clashes with their preconceptions. If they could accept dogs being domesticated from wolves, they should also accept dogs being self-domesticated wolves especially if they enjoy hanging out at rubbish sites which’s still the case as the Coppingers pointed out. I’d even argue that the real reason for their continued existence (same for cats) is actually more much complicated.

You’ve got dubious ownership practises where dogs are even made to stay outside of the house to avoid having to literally deal with their crap a lot (same for cats to some degree), owners not bothering to train or sterilise them (even if they did, vets and stores don’t come cheap and may even be that geographically remote) and sometimes people who do train dogs to hunt may either deliberately starve them (same for cats), drug them or have them socialised to other dogs.

Then you’ve got ecology where the places stray cats and dogs occur are usually or originate in the countryside often (near) farms, villages, forests (predation) and compounds. Sometimes they wander looking for mates among others. They may not necessarily stray per say but wander to a degree anyways. I’ve even witnessed it when entering my relatives’ compound before.

Other factors include religion (cats and dogs being associated with filth and witchcraft), classism (India’s got a caste system) and geography (vets and stores aren’t always readily accessible and moreso if it’s that inhospitable like China’s Tibet, any remote mountain or village, or Russian tundra). This might explain why stray dogs not only persist but grew exponentially in Tibet and why they persist in Russia, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Australia.

Not to mention that it can be hard to dump corpses and faeces with, if there’s not much land to bury the dead and make toilets with (moreso if they’re not readily available or affordable, same reason why some people can’t find homes in general). It’s likely wolves became scavenging dogs through eating human corpses and faeces as child and maternal mortality rates, coupled with lack of toilets and better medicine were far higher before.

It even gets exacerbated by warfare where it makes it harder to take care of pets. If Marawi and the like are any indication, pets inevitably stray as others are rendered powerless. Any combination of these to a degree (it often occurs like this) encourage commensalism. Not always the case but to whatever extent, enough to prove Coppingers’ theory partly correct as they make mistakes.

Spain and Portugal

Whilst the differences between Denmark and Sweden (or Norway as it’s Atlantic whilst Sweden’s in the Baltic) are more of a matter of geography and history, the differences between Spain and Portugal are largely a matter of history (and geopolitical territory). Portugal as a kingdom (and kingdom-state) emerged early on in 1128 whilst Spain being the majority of the Iberian peninsula wouldn’t unite until much later.

First by uniting the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon and then doing it again in the 18th century. Also, according to somebody on Quora, Portugal’s shaped by its colonial empire days whilst Spain’s got a reconquest mindest. After all, Portugal’s got a substantial number of African colonies such as Angola and Mozambique and Portugal’s got a primarily overseas empire. (Actually same for France, Netherlands and Britain.)

So did Spain but most of its overseas colonies were in the Americas, even if Brazil (former Portuguese colony) takes up more land area. Though similar things can be said between France and Africa, baring Belgium, DRC and Rwanda. Admittedly that’s all I know about them as I’m not too interested in the Iberian peninsula.

Prediction about the Philippines

The Philippines will be ravaged by immense war and organised crime that there’s nothing the government can do about it. Once that happens, the Philippines will seek help from China and eventually become part of it (or rather the East Asian union or something). Meanwhile Ghana, Cameroon, Uganda, Nigerian, Rwanda, Kenya and even Ethiopia have become first world countries proper with stable economies to boot.

China, Philippines, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Mongolia and Vietnam now constitute part of the great Pan-Chinese/Pan-Asian Union. Some great leader arises with people not knowing he’s actually corrupting them. Eventually the Philippines suffers from another economic meltdown once somebody else arrives.

Dogs aren’t sheep, sheep aren’t dogs

While there are some people who suggest that dog domestication’s more like sheep domestication, that’s a bad comparison given that even if stray sheep do exist, it’s not really that common enough to be a recurring issue the way you have with stray dogs. Since I pointed out that why cats and dogs stray is due to far more complicated matters than just bad ownership and animals’ tendencies such as ecology encouraging this (compounds, farms and villages being the likeliest in the Old World) and some people can’t afford or easily access to what’s needed.

Especially if these are either unavailable, expensive or inaccessible. I suspect that’s very much the case in Russia where it’s got vast lands but Eastern Russia’s very sparsely populated (especially when facing America) and much of Russia’s population’s far more well concentrated to the West. That’s also the same for Aboriginals in Australia where much of it’s desert, thus making it harder for Aboriginal dog owners to go to vets because at other times the better ones are really distant.

I could either be wrong or biased. But I suspect that such animals like sheep, even if stray and feral populations do exist it’s not as common as with canines. Though ownership practises, ecological and economical factors are and can be to blame, it’s not hard to assume that the Coppingers were almost onto something about dogs. (I think Russian scientists have handsomely articulated what they attempt to do.)

I suspect that dogs are like goats in that though they can be/are domesticated, it’s not as extensively modified as with sheep hence why dogs are likelier to roam and go feral. Most dog breeds happened very recently and most dogs look (and to some extent, act) more like dingo dogs. Hence why the Coppingers, for all their faults, were onto something about dogs.

Not that feral sheep are any less blameless, they’re certainly a problem in New Zealand and Britain to some extent. But in most cases, you’re likelier to encounter stray/feral dogs than stray/feral sheep. Even in Europe where such reports take place in countrysides. Not that it’s underreported in Africa and Asia but it’s notable enough to be remarked in some studies. (Same for cats.)

Dingo dogs, inaccessibility and poverty

While there’s no mistaking that dingos are feral dogs though that doesn’t stop Aboriginal Australians from owning them. Though they can be careless it also gets complicated by that many of them live in camps/compounds where owned dogs stray anyways (similar things can be said of European villages and farms as well as Native American reservations to an extent), poverty (though not all Aboriginals and Native Americans are poor, many of them are) and inaccessibility to needed resources.

There’s a reason why European farmers can’t always afford to control (their) cat numbers not always because they’re being negligent but because even if they wanted to, they can’t and such vets aren’t immediately accessible though it’s changing now. Native Americans are often stuck in reservations, sometimes cut off from the rest of America and Australia’s mostly desert, so it can be hard for Aboriginal dog owners for the same reasons.

The same reason can be said of Russia where you’ve got vast, relatively underpopulated areas in the East and being a big country, it can make it harder for people to head to veterinarians. It can also be said of how wartime (and depopulation) can sometimes affect pets. Where if their owners are dead or missing, such pets are left fending for themselves and end up straying unless if found or rehomed.

That’s the case with Rwanda before though dog ownership’s resurging. That’s also true for the Balkans, having been ravaged by violent separations since Yugoslavia’s downfall. When it comes to cats and dogs straying, bad ownership (or the animals’ tendencies) aren’t always to blame when socioeconomic and ecological factors and circumstances complicate it.

Britain Conquering The World

Not that France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany never attempted to colonise outside of Europe. But to my knowledge, Spain mostly colonised South America and the Philippines. France colonised Africa and to a degree Southeast Asia and the Pacific (Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, Tahiti and New Caledonia).

Actually Germany and Italy attempted to colonise Africa but with the former its territories eventually became French, Belgian and British respectively. These included Togo, Cameroon, Botswana, Tanzania and Burundi. Unsurprisingly they don’t use German anymore.

Italy only conquered Eritrea, Libya and to a degree Ethiopia. Turkey could be retroactively considered as a European colonial power with regards to its inclusion in the European Union and that it also conquered or heavily influenced Ethiopia as far as I can recall. Right down to using them as eunuchs during the Ottoman Empire though I could be getting my facts wrong.

Portugal conquered Angola, Cabo Verde, Mozambique, Brazil and to a lesser degree China via Macau. The Netherlands claims Suriname and previously Indonesia (again from memory). Belgium had Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi. Britain by contrast exceeds theirs.

Not only they claimed Nigeria, Ghana, parts of Cameroon and China, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malaysia, Hong Kong (now part of China), Singapore, Papua New Guinea, India (including what’ll become of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka) and Egypt to varying degrees. But also North America which Canada, Jamaica, Barbados, Bahamas, Australia and New Zealand remain British commonwealths.

I think I remember reading somewhere that the British invaded much of the world. Admittedly I can name more British former colonies than I do with the rest since the British Empire’s scope exceeded all these other European empires. France and Spain come close but even then France mostly influenced Africa and Spain to South America.

It’s really astonishing that Britain conquered a lot of territory for a small island country.