The Human-Animal Connection
What is the human-animal connection?
The connection between humans and animals is one of the most fundamental bonds that human beings experience. As the cave paintings in Lasceaux, France illustrate, humankind has interacted closely with the animal kingdom for tens of thousands of years. That powerful and mutually beneficial bond continues today, with people and animals connecting in ways that are essential to the health and well-being of both.
One aspect of this bond is keeping the world’s population well-nourished and healthy through a wholesome and sustainable supply of beef, pork, poultry, dairy products and eggs. Another aspect is the bond between humans and companion and working animals. From household pets to horses that herd livestock to therapy dogs that provide comfort to victims of disaster and illness, the lives of both humans and animals are made better by our mutual bond.
To put it simply, pets are good for people. Pets give people a loving companion to care for. They encourage touch, conversation and often laughter. They cause us to exercise and offer an antidote for loneliness. They teach children responsibility. By caring for pets, pet owners benefit, too.
Yet a growing body of research into the human-animal connection shows that the benefits are not just emotional. For example, pets can boost infant immunity to infections, help with mental health disorders by affecting brain chemistry, and lower blood pressure.
Healthy animals, healthy humans – it’s a powerful two-way bond.