Essay on A Long Evolutionary History Based Upon Mutual Benefits

1289 Words Sep 29th, 2014 6 Pages
The human-animal relationship has evolved after a long evolutionary history based upon mutual benefits. Such benefits still exist today, particularly for humans. However, the benefits in modern society go beyond those associated with the animal’s original purpose, which leads to relationship inequalities. This stems from the conflicting interests of humans and animals, where the benefits to one rarely occur without detriment to the other. The fact that these benefits are usually only short term, whilst the harms may be implicated throughout life, only exacerbates these inequalities. Despite there being evidence for benefit and harm to both human and companion, it is ultimately humans that gain something, and more often than not, at the expense of the animal.

Whether through financial gain of breeding or racing, or increased quality of life through companionship, it is undeniable that humans gain benefit from companion animals. Research that demonstrates these benefits has centered on short-term effects (Podberseek 2006), but studies of the long-term impacts of the human-animal relationship are needed (Barker and Wolen 2008). This is because there is multitudes of literature that document confounding outcomes. For example, there is significant evidence to indicate that pet ownership can drastically increase the survival of patients who suffer myocardial infraction (Friedmann, et al 1980; Friedmann and Thomas 1995), where pet owners reported fewer visits to a physician over a…

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