2012-07-03 02:26 pm (UTC)
That's very true. Animals do still help herd sheep on farms, and do catch rodents in cities, and K9 units and dogs for the dsabled still perform invaluable services to society. I don't think animals are unnecessary at all. I do think, however, that pets that perform a function like that are far fewer in number than the pets that just live inside their owners' homes and are there for companionship. If anything, I think it's a little sad that we use animals less than we used to. I think for the majority of pet owners, pets are just companions and friends rather than performing a function. I don't think these functions are unimportant at all--quite the contrary! But just that they're becoming the exception, not the norm, among people who own domesticated animals like cats and dogs, most of whom live in cities or suburbs. (Myself included.)
And of course this only holds true in first-world countries. It's just the country in which I have a cat, which is why I was thinking about it. I have a lot of friends with pets, and a disproportionate number of vet techs (six? seven?) among my close friends, along with many other friends who work with animals in labs (four or five, myself again included). What interests me is what happens to not just the animals when we can replace them with technology, but for people who would prefer to work with animals and like being around animals. Do we work in vets? At doggie-day-care centers? in labs? I think there's a deep desire for humans to work with animals, too.
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