Animals & Pets

A pet or companion animal is an animal kept primarily for a person’s company, protection, or entertainment rather than as a working animal , livestock , or laboratory animal Popular pets are often noted for their attractive appearances, intelligence , and relatable personalities. The pet-keeping habit often runs in families: this was once ascribed to children coming to imitate their parents’ lifestyles when they leave home, but recent research has suggested that it also has a genetic basis. Some people, whatever their upbringing, seem predisposed to seek out the company of animals, others less so. Nashvillians love their pets, whether they are dogs, cats or backyard hens. The Metro Health Department’s Animal Control Division has information on programs for promoting responsible pet ownership, pet adoptions and enforcing animal control ordinances.

American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has defined animal welfare as: “An animal is in a good state of welfare if (as indicated by scientific evidence) it is healthy, comfortable, well nourished, safe, able to express innate behavior, and if it is not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear, and distress.” 82 They have offered the following eight principles for developing and evaluating animal welfare policies.

The urge to bring animals into our homes is so widespread that it’s tempting to think of it as a universal feature of human nature, but not all societies have a tradition of pet-keeping. Even in the West there are plenty of people who feel no particular affinity for animals, whether pets or no. Surprisingly, rats make excellent pets due to their intelligence, larger size, and enjoyment of human companionship. Guinea pigs are also good kid-friendly pets.

Pet owners and non-pet owners differ across many socio-demographic variables, such as gender, age, race, living arrangements, income, and employment status. These differences are also associated with health, so when trying to draw causal inference about pet ownership using a general population sample, selection bias should be accounted for (or at least acknowledged), as it could lead to an over- or under-estimation of pet ownership’s true effects. In our analyses, it appears that it may inflate them, as pet owner characteristics are associated with better mental and physical health outcomes. This is not a new problem, as selection issues have plagued observational research, with many methodologists and statisticians advancing new methods to deal with this problem that used to confound any meaningful analysis. We recommend propensity score matching utilizing boosted regression since the exact relationship between socio-demographic characteristics and pet ownership is unknown.

The use of animals in laboratories remains controversial. Animal welfare advocates push for enforced standards to ensure the health and safety of those animals used for tests. This may seem strange when you consider that it is a costly business. Pets get meals, healthcare and a home for life. Though they clearly provide companionship, it is time-consuming and care often goes one way (minus some exceptions like guard dogs).