Human Inequalities In Animals

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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 …show more content…
Artificial selection has been employed for centuries in the context of domestication. Dogs were primarily selected for an ability to interact well with humans, thus enabling them to succeed in the human realm (McGreevy & Nicholas 1999).
Most of the traits subject to artificial selection were initially for functionality. However, humans have extensively altered the phenotype of the modern dog beyond that of any other domestic species (McGreevy & Nicholas 1999), and it is when this selection is administered for the benefit of humans that it becomes implicated in the health and welfare of the animal. Pedigree dogs have been bred to conform to some published, aesthetic ideal through generations of inbreeding to so-called ‘stud’ dogs (Summers, et al 2009), for the financial gain of the owner Whilst the Summers paper considers the effects of inbreeding, and demonstrates that the rate of inbreeding within these pedigree dogs is 0.66% per generation, it fails to show that the loss of heterozygosity within an inbred population decreases by half each generation. This effect is more pronounced in small populations, such as these pedigree dogs. Inbreeding may intensify health problems, by increasing the prevalence of recessive disorders associated with musculoskeletal, respiratory and immune defects (Asher, et al 2009). It is obvious that the reduction of heterozygosity within highly inbred species selects for the appearance rather than function or health of the animal (Asher, et al 2009). Such animals are predisposed to harm in health and welfare, and the fundamental cause is for the benefit of

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