Companion animals are growing in numbers not only in the West but also in Asian countries such as China. In some respects companion animals receive special treatment (as compared with other animals used by us). In other respects, however, they suffer as a direct result of the way we use them. Thus some companion animals develop health or behavioural problems caused by social and physical factors in their environment.
Our awareness of the importance of companion animals in many peoples’ lives is growing; in fact such animals are now used for therapeutic purposes. At the same time, many companion animals are abandoned, given up to shelters or euthanized. Companion animals can thus be viewed as both individuals to be respected in their own right and as sources of enrichment for humans which can be disposed of.
Go to the introductory text 'Companion Animals'