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It’s all about the master species: When companion animals are family, the benefits extend into (human) society

In most countries and jurisdictions, regulation of shelters has not evolved to reflect the beloved status of companion animals, and instead consider them as property.

L.F. CARVER: ‘More and more often, animals are included in family events and become important to all members of the family… In the research my colleagues and I have done on aging and social participation, we found considerable analysis showing that interactions involving pets, especially if we care about them, can have a health-protective effect. Zooeyia (pronounced zoo-AY-uh) is the idea that pets, also known as companion animals, can be good for human health… Recognizing the ways that companion animals enrich human lives, and understanding the depth of the affection between many humans and animals, may be the key to not only better health, but to improving the welfare of society as a whole…

Many health benefits to humans occur when there is an emotional attachment to pets. And we tend to care the most for animals that live with us. For example, a study that looked at attachment to dogs found that people tended to care about their house dogs more than those that lived in the yard. Higher levels of attachment to dogs has been associated with a greater likelihood of walking the dog and spending more time on those walks as compared with those with a weaker bond to their dogs…

The bond between humans and animals is not just good for human health, it can also help build community. People with pets often find that activities with their companion animal creates connections with other people. Social networks that are developed based on shared concern over the welfare of animals can lead to increased human-human interaction, as well as activities involving pets (e.g. dog-walking clubs)…

Societies create laws and institutions to protect companion animals from cruelty and neglect. In most jurisdictions, regulation of shelters and pounds has not evolved to reflect the beloved status of many pets, and instead consider pets as property. If a lost pet is not reunited with an owner within a few days it can be sold to a new family, to a research lab, or be euthanized. However, some countries, such as India, Italy and Taiwan have legislated against the euthanasia of healthy shelter animal… But in North America euthanasia is still common’. SOURCE…

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