Despite this, Berger says that "in the last two centuries, animals have gradually disappeared", and today we largely "live without them." Becoming token, decorative, or redundant, humans have abandoned their reliance and use of animals. Berger cites the great zoologist Buffon when he stated: "to the same degree that man has raised himself above the state of nature, animals have fallen below it: conquered and turned into slaves, or treated as rebels and scattered by force."
The two categories chosen by Buffon here, "slaves" or "rebels", can perfectly distinguish how humans now label, and subsequently treat, each species of animal. Those animals relegated to slave status are forced below us and are ours to do to as we please, and those that do not play by the rules we dictate as masters are portrayed as rebels. Too wild, too hostile to tame and control, they are enemies of the human species and can be hunted and culled.
This relegation of animals has seen them displaced from our lives. We are sold burglar alarms and so we do not need guard dogs. We travel by car and rail and so we do not need horses. We have mechanical ploughs and tractors that farm the fields rather than oxen. We use chemical fertiliser to grow and produce plants and vegetation and so we do not need insects. Berger highlights the fact that with "cities growing at an ever increasing rate" the surrounding countryside is transformed into suburbs. Where once animals flourished in these lands, they are now a rare sight. As humans we colonise their land, complain of their existence, and then drive them further into obscurity. Even animals that we deem relatively common are now seen very infrequently, think about it, when was the last time you saw a pig?