Jul. 21st, 2010

mellowtigger: (T'Reese)
Some special kinds of stupidity deserve lots of attention as an example of how NOT to behave.

frightened donkey on parasailHoping to attract tourists to their private beach, some entrepreneurs in Russia tied a donkey to a parasail and launched it into the air above the Sea of Azov.  The screaming animal (nearly drowned upon landing in the water) did garner attention, but probably not the kind the owners were hoping to achieve.

"It was put up so high into the sky that the children on the beach cried and asked their parents: 'Why did they tie a doggy to a parachute?'" Taman newspaper reported last week.

"The donkey landed in an atrocious manner: it was dragged several metres along the water, after which the animal was pulled out half-alive onto the shore," the paper reported.
- http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-10695037

Studies continue to show that human-animal bonding is a fertile training ground to improve the human-human social experience.  Pets have become a legitimate part of our extended family.

Today, it is socially acceptable to grieve the loss of a pet, to carry pet pictures in your wallet or purse, to celebrate your pet's birthday with a party, to have pet medical insurance, and to buy special food. The newest trend is to buy special clothes for pets. Today in the US, we own over 120 million dogs and cats and a total of 1.2 billion animals of many species as pets.
- http://www.censhare.umn.edu/spotlight02.html

Human-animal bonding is also a stress-reducing experience that boosts human health.

Why is friendly dog presence stress-reducing?  One possibility is that such presence functions as an "attachment figure" to convey security and safety.  This suggests that attachment theory may be a broad enough "tent" to encompass animals as attachment figures for humans, and vice versa.  A second line of research provides evidence that animal presence (not only dogs but also rabbits and other small furry creatures) facilitates human social approach and interaction for children and adults, both with (Mader, Hart, & Bergin, 1989) and without disabilities (Hunt, Hunt, & Gomulkiewicz, 1992).  Together, these research directions suggest that human interactions with animals, particularly pets, affect human well being and functioning.
- http://www.animalsandsociety.org/assets/library/471_s1043.pdf

People who are aggressive to animals are also aggressive to humans.  In contrast, people who learn to love a less threatening animal are more likely to treat fellow humans with respect and care.  To state it bluntly, there is a direct correlation between those who abuse animals and those who abuse people.

Animal abuse and interpersonal violence toward humans share common characteristics: both types of victime are living creatures, have a capacity for experiencing pain and distress, can display physical signs of their pain and distress (with which humans could empathize), and may die as a result of inflicted injuries.  Given these commonalities, it is not surprising that early research in this area, much of it using retrospective assessment, examined the relation between childhood histories of animal abuse and later violent offending.
- http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/188677.pdf

Emotional bonding with animals should be encouraged.  It moulds humans into better creatures.


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