This house Believes People Should Not Keep Pets

Humans, as a natural part of the animal kingdom, have interacted with the animals around them for the entirety of their existence. One of the defining characteristics of the human race is that we developed the ability to domesticate and eventually tame other species for our use. The first evidence of a close relationship between humans and animals can be traced as far back as 20,000 years ago1, when human beings and wolves would hunt the same animals for food. Around 12,000 years ago this relationship developed into the domestication of dogs as a separate species from wolves through selective breeding to choose those individuals who were most obedient and less likely to harm their human keepers. It is this process which created the initial bond between humans and dogs that extended beyond their use for hunting and was the necessary foregrounding for keeping pets in general. Dogs appear to have been with early humans in many different parts of the world - the domestication of cats on the other hand was rather more localised. The Ancient Egyptians first bred wild cats 5000 years ago to eventually produce the domestic cats we know today. Other people around the world seem to have tamed many sorts of animals as companions and pets, from goldfish and birds to monkeys and reptiles, and the isolation of these instances suggests that it is an intrinsic human quality to tame animals beyond the role of hunting. Despite the vast popularity of pet ownership, especially in more economically developed countries, the question still remains as to whether the practice should be continued.

1 Statistics for first animal-human interaction: accessed 10/06/11



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