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posted by martyb on Sunday October 01 2017, @11:59AM   Printer-friendly
from the Bow-Wow-Meow-Squeak! dept.

The recent popularity of "designer" dogs, cats, micro-pigs and other pets may seem to suggest that pet keeping is no more than a fad. Indeed, it is often assumed that pets are a Western affectation, a weird relic of the working animals kept by communities of the past.

About half of the households in Britain alone include some kind of pet; roughly 10m of those are dogs while cats make up another 10m. Pets cost time and money, and nowadays bring little in the way of material benefits. But during the 2008 financial crisis, spending on pets remained almost unaffected, which suggests that for most owners pets are not a luxury but an integral and deeply loved part of the family.

Some people are into pets, however, while others simply aren't interested. Why is this the case? It is highly probable that our desire for the company of animals actually goes back tens of thousands of years and has played an important part in our evolution. If so, then genetics might help explain why a love of animals is something some people just don't get.

[...] 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.

Is the desire to keep pets really hard-wired in our DNA?


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  • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2017, @01:06PM (39 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2017, @01:06PM (#575545)

    Every single home that involves pets is filthy.

    What's that? You have a dog and your house is perfectly clean? No, it is not; your house is filthy—you're just oblivious.

    Perhaps people who can maintain their health even in animal squalor are more likely to succeed in propagating their genes; hence, people are attracted to living with (and therefore living like) animals have had a genetic advantage.

    Also, dealing with an animal prepares one to deal with children, who are pretty much just as messy as the lower forms of life that people call pets.

    Throw out the code of this website and re-write it. It's total shit.

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by acid andy on Sunday October 01 2017, @01:21PM (2 children)

    by acid andy (1683) on Sunday October 01 2017, @01:21PM (#575546) Homepage Journal

    Every single home that involves pets is filthy.

    "Filthy" is a subjective and relative term, particularly in the context that you've used it. You consider the pet homes filthy relative to your own personal standards. I'd suggest that your standards shouldn't be applied to other people because pet ownership quite clearly isn't having a significant negative impact on their health. Given that people benefit from a little dirt to kick start their immune systems, it may even be beneficial. In summary, most people are likely to disagree with you, but what standards you apply to yourself are fine. I think you were trolling anyway.

    --
    If a cat has kittens, does a rat have rittens, a bat bittens and a mat mittens?
    • (Score: 0, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2017, @01:33PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2017, @01:33PM (#575549)

      Are you people blind?

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by acid andy on Sunday October 01 2017, @02:39PM

        by acid andy (1683) on Sunday October 01 2017, @02:39PM (#575567) Homepage Journal

        I didn't restate their point. They said that pet owners are oblivious to filth. I disagreed by pointing out that "filth" is a subjective term. I will concede though that anyone claiming their home is "perfectly clean" is just as guilty of the same subjective relativism.

        The OP went on to suggest some possible benefits of pet ownership, involving genetics and raising children. I didn't restate those points either. I made a different point about immune systems.

        --
        If a cat has kittens, does a rat have rittens, a bat bittens and a mat mittens?
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Sunday October 01 2017, @02:05PM (18 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday October 01 2017, @02:05PM (#575554) Journal

    Your opinion is your opinion. I might even agree somewhat, that pet owners homes are less clean than people who don't keep pets. You simply CANNOT get every last hair, dander, flea, muddy pawprint - pets are dirty. But then, you have all the same problesm with the human animal. But, pet owners are generally healthier than non pet owners. I've read so vary many articles and blurbs on the subject - mental and emotional health, more than physical health.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/danielle-hark/pet-ownership-health_b_3187960.html [huffingtonpost.com]
    https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/mood-boosting-power-of-dogs.htm [helpguide.org]
    http://pets.webmd.com/news/20110713/pets-boost-owners-emotional-physical-health [webmd.com]

    Maybe, as you say, genetics select for people who are more tolerant to the dirt that animals produce and collect. If that is true, maybe you should get yourself a pet?

    An added benefit of having pets is, the pet is often an early indicator of how friendly a stranger might be. Personally, if my dog doesn't like a stranger, I don't encourage that stranger to hang around.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2017, @02:16PM (11 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2017, @02:16PM (#575556)

      I tolerate pets for the sake of my friendships, but I cannot really stand them for too long; yet, despite my antipathy, animals seem to cozy up to me much more quickly than they do most other people, or so I have been told again and again.

      So, your pet loves me, and would signal to you that I'm an all-right kind of fella, even though I secretly harbor a great deal of disgust for your pet (and, by extension, you).

      • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Sunday October 01 2017, @02:33PM (8 children)

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday October 01 2017, @02:33PM (#575562) Journal

        You haven't refuted anything that I said. Do you meet people with pets whom you intend to take advantage of? For instance, do you case the joint, so that you can return later to burglarize it? Have you gone to a single woman's house, with the intention of raping her? How likely are you to beat a person to death in his own home, so that you can take his money and possessions? Have you molested any children? Animals seem to sense things that we humans overlook.

        I say, ignore your pet's trust and/or lack of trust of strangers at your own peril.

        And, it's no secret that pets - especially cats - will tend to cuddle with a stranger who doesn't like cats. Obviously, the cat thinks that you are harmless, so you probably mean me no harm either. Meanwhile, the cat enjoys causing you whatever form of stress you endure while he rubs all over you.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2017, @02:38PM (7 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2017, @02:38PM (#575566)

          You have no idea what these "strangers" have in mind—you are concocting the worst sort of intentions to make yourself feel like your pets give you some sort of advantage. They don't. They're just filthy animals.

          • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Sunday October 01 2017, @02:59PM (5 children)

            by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday October 01 2017, @02:59PM (#575570) Journal

            You're so busy trying to make pet owners look foolish, that you're ignoring something so obvious that most pet owners simply take for granted. It is well known that the dog's fate, his health and well being, depends strongly on his ability to sense and understand his owner's feelings, thoughts, motivations. The dog studies his owner constantly for cues. That same dog will study a stranger for similar cues. The dog will sense, usually long before I do, whether you mean me good, or ill. The dog will even more readily sense whether you mean HIM good or ill. A creature that has spent it's entire life, emulating his forebears, studying the human animal's whims, is probably a lot more perceptive than either you, or me. Whether he is MORE perceptive or not - his senses are different. He will key on your smell, which I am very unlikely to key on.

            Have you read any stories about dogs detecting diseases? There have been at least three dogs in recent news stories, probably more that I've forgotten.
            https://www.quora.com/How-are-dogs-trained-to-smell-cancer-or-any-other-diseases-in-the-human-body [quora.com]
            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/25/dogs-smell-cancer_n_3142135.html [huffingtonpost.com]

            Dogs sense hormones and pheremones readily, as well. The pheremones at least, help to indicate your intentions. You're feeling amorous? Of course the dog can sense that. You're acting furtive and evasive? Well, duh - the dog can sense that as well.

            I am virtually blind, from a dog's point of view - I don't sniff butts to learn how good, or how poor, an associate's health might be. I don't sniff butts to see which women might be inclined to breed. That butt sniffind tells me nothing at all, so I don't indulge in it. But, I do recognize that the dog's senses have their value, and that the dog's judgement may have value to me. As blind as I am from the dog's perspective, you seem to be even more blind.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2017, @03:05PM (2 children)

              by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2017, @03:05PM (#575572)

              What you imagine to be the case is not necessarily reality.

              • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Sunday October 01 2017, @04:41PM (1 child)

                by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday October 01 2017, @04:41PM (#575605) Journal

                It is at least equally valid to point out that you may not be in touch with reality. Why would you waste time and energy denying that dogs and other animals have different sensory perception than humans?

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2017, @05:12PM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2017, @05:12PM (#575612)

                  I made no such denial.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2017, @08:58PM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2017, @08:58PM (#575673)

              I don't sniff butts to learn how good, or how poor, an associate's health might be. I don't sniff butts to see which women might be inclined to breed. That butt sniffind tells me nothing at all,

              Now I am doubly confused. So why do you sniff butts, Runaway?

              • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Monday October 02 2017, @08:16AM

                by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Monday October 02 2017, @08:16AM (#575812) Journal

                Just for the fun of it, of course. You should try it some time!! It'll drive your mate crazy, too!

          • (Score: 0, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2017, @03:28PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2017, @03:28PM (#575576)

            Maybe you should declare a jihad on them, Mohammed.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by tfried on Sunday October 01 2017, @07:21PM

        by tfried (5534) on Sunday October 01 2017, @07:21PM (#575653)

        yet, despite my antipathy, animals seem to cozy up to me much more quickly than they do most other people, or so I have been told again and again.

        Plausible, esp. for cats. For the most part, they dislike being looked in the eye, people approaching them (rather than the other way around), or even being followed around. Instead you're probably trying to ignore the cat as much as you can and - voila - you seem like a nice guy to the cat.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02 2017, @04:08AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02 2017, @04:08AM (#575752)

        I tolerate pets for the sake of my friendships, but I cannot really stand them for too long; yet, despite my antipathy, animals seem to cozy up to me much more quickly than they do most other people, or so I have been told again and again.

        Same here. I also get disgusted when my friends smile at cute little Fido when he wants to paint me with his filthy tongue that he just used to clean his ass or balls. I always feel like I need a shower when I leave. And I NEVER stay for dinner. I prefer to eat from a clean kitchen. I don't enjoy picking out the fur from my food. It's kinda like hanging out with a smoker. They don't realize just how nasty they really are or how bad they smell.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by acid andy on Sunday October 01 2017, @02:20PM (1 child)

      by acid andy (1683) on Sunday October 01 2017, @02:20PM (#575558) Homepage Journal

      You simply CANNOT get every last hair, dander, flea, muddy pawprint - pets are dirty. But then, you have all the same problesm with the human animal.

      Yep. It always makes me smile when people complain about pigeons* or squirrels being "disease vectors". Well, maybe some of them, but other humans are amongst the biggest disease vectors out there, especially in cities. And many (most?) of them seem to have much lower standards of hygiene than your average moggy. A lot of diseases that can afflict a squirrel or pigeon might not transfer to humans but with another human it seems likely that a much bigger proportion of their own diseases will.

      *They're doves really. Pigeon is a food term.

      --
      If a cat has kittens, does a rat have rittens, a bat bittens and a mat mittens?
      • (Score: -1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2017, @02:35PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2017, @02:35PM (#575563)

        ... it's just not acceptable to do so publicly, anymore. It's considered intolerant (and often "racist") to suggest that people should be living better, cleaner lives.

        Invalid form key: kMBpJDrwsH

        Suck my cyber cock, SoylentNews, you trash.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by tfried on Sunday October 01 2017, @07:35PM (3 children)

      by tfried (5534) on Sunday October 01 2017, @07:35PM (#575656)

      An added benefit of having pets is, the pet is often an early indicator of how friendly a stranger might be.

      I'd love to see a double-blind study of that popular idea, that pets (dogs) will somehow smell people's bad intentions. Obviously, if you feel tense in the presence of a stranger, your dog is pretty sensitive to that, and will tend to dislike the stranger. Now, if you willingly take the other part, and suspect bad intentions in the stranger that your dog happens to dislike, you've just teamed up for a perfect positive feedback loop. Said stranger will have a tough stand, indeed, and will quickly respond to your antipathy in kind - vicious circle complete.

      • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Monday October 02 2017, @08:29AM (1 child)

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Monday October 02 2017, @08:29AM (#575818) Journal

        Mmm-hmmm - I agree that a good double-blind study would be great.

        One anecdote for you. Met a guy years ago, with whom I worked, off and on, on several construction jobs. I kinda liked him. Not a best buddy or anything, but I thought pretty highly of him, both from a professional point of view, and personally. Had reason to bring him to the house, and the dog did NOT like him, and, in retrospect, the dog positively would NOT allow him to get close to the kids. I didn't worry to much about it, neither the associate nor the dog seemed to go out of his way to provoke the other, and the kids had little interest in the man.

        About two years later, dude was arrested for child molestation. I happened to know one of the kids involved, and eventually we talked over a few beers one evening. The arrest wasn't any mistake, if anything, there weren't enough charges filed. Seems that the man would groom 12 and 13 year old kids, and by the time they were 17 or 18, he no longer had any use for them. One of those rinse and repeat things.

        Maybe a feedback somewhere in there, but I can't see it.

        If that were an isolated incident, I would be less convinced that dogs can sense on things like that.

        As for that young man - he was a little messed up for awhile, but eventually got his shit together. Give him the opportunity, he can still cry in his beer, and curse the son of a bitch who molested him, but he's pretty stable and productive.

        • (Score: 2) by tfried on Monday October 02 2017, @08:10PM

          by tfried (5534) on Monday October 02 2017, @08:10PM (#576149)

          An anecdote for an anecdote.

          I'm rather a cat-type person, not much into dogs. However, I usually get along fine with dogs, and in fact many dogs seem to distinctively like me. But then there was this one time, when a friends' dog was dead serious about attacking me. Call me a coward, but when that cross-breed with a lot of German Shepard in it came running onto me, I chose to flee into the bathroom, and wait for my friends to lock away the dog before opening the door, again. In hindsight, I think I do understand (some of) the path of events that lead up to this. Importantly, I did not respond well to some early signs of the dog's aggression towards me. But for all I can tell, it's still absolutely fair to say that this dog was hostile to me from the start (several visits earlier).

          At any rate, that encounter with this dog did leave a permanent mutual dent in my relation with those friends.

          Well, maybe I am a bad person, after all. But then I seem to be able to fool a whole lot of other dogs, quite successfully.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02 2017, @04:08PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02 2017, @04:08PM (#575946)

        I agree. For example, the "guilty look" phenomenon, which appears to not be a real thing:

        https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/dog-spies/the-guilty-looking-companion/ [scientificamerican.com]
        http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0376635714003210 [sciencedirect.com]

        I also vaguely remember some study where they show photographs of dogs to dog owners and asked if they looked guilty, to which everybody said no. Then they showed the same photos to another group of dog owners and said it was taken right after the dog broke something, and everybody said the guilt was obvious in the photos.

        People like to anthropomorphize animals and ascribe to them false attributes. Add that to confirmation bias, and hidden feedback cycles between the dog and the owner (e.g. how drug sniffing dog handlers can get their dogs to flag false positives), and you have a recipe for confusion.

        There is too much pseudo-science of pets, in my personal opinion.

  • (Score: 4, Informative) by inertnet on Sunday October 01 2017, @02:27PM (11 children)

    by inertnet (4071) on Sunday October 01 2017, @02:27PM (#575560) Journal

    You've got your health argument backwards. People need filth, cleanliness is only a very recent thing. Growing up in a sterile environment is not as healthy as you might think.

    • (Score: 2, Disagree) by opinionated_science on Sunday October 01 2017, @02:41PM (9 children)

      by opinionated_science (4031) on Sunday October 01 2017, @02:41PM (#575568)

      Absolutely not. There is a *huge* difference between sterile and "clean".

      Keeping a pet might be good for the mind, but it is not very good for the body.

      Our immune system has evolved to be "good enough" not perfect.

      Millions still die from diseases that cannot be fought by the immune system , within the metabolic system of the organism of course.

      If your filth is mud, sure perhaps. Other animals? Absolutely not.

      Insect bites? Malaria? Still want to hang around in the "outside".

      And let's not forget the sea...! Lots of fascinating ways to get invaded...

      We keep pets because they are commercial objects under HUMAN laws. The insane attempts of giving animals "human" rights is quite amusing.

      Just remember, the size of pet you can have in your house is a product of selective breeding - a domesticated animal is the result of human actions, and therefore by definition not really a scientific study. It is a preference.

      Designed pets is nothing short of the refinement of *all* animals that are not free to roam.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by acid andy on Sunday October 01 2017, @03:01PM (7 children)

        by acid andy (1683) on Sunday October 01 2017, @03:01PM (#575571) Homepage Journal

        We keep pets because they are commercial objects under HUMAN laws. The insane attempts of giving animals "human" rights is quite amusing.

        I'll agree that the term "human rights" is a poor choice of words to apply to animals. But if humans deserve rights then logically other animals do too. Perhaps anyone who thinks otherwise is unwilling or unable to think outside their own point of view of the universe and try to see things through another animal's eyes. The problem is at the moment too many people let their ethics be defined by someone else's umbrella of "political correctness". Discriminating against another race or another gender is politically incorrect and the consequences of doing so are enshrined in law. Some other species do have some much more limited protections under law at the moment, but beyond that most people are just fine with humans harming animals.

        People need to stop blindly accepting only the law and their education as a substitute for ethics. Laws can be unethical and ethics can determine behavior in the absence of laws. Ethics are arguably not something that can be universally agreed upon, but that's no excuse not to have any at all. They should at least be consistent.

        --
        If a cat has kittens, does a rat have rittens, a bat bittens and a mat mittens?
        • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2017, @07:12PM (6 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2017, @07:12PM (#575651)

          But if humans deserve rights then logically other animals do too.

          Can you clearly state the logic that led to your conclusion?

          Which "rights"; define "deserve"; and which animals (all, CNS-possessing, vertebrates, "cute" animals, etc.)?

          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by acid andy on Sunday October 01 2017, @07:33PM (4 children)

            by acid andy (1683) on Sunday October 01 2017, @07:33PM (#575655) Homepage Journal

            I personally believe that humans deserve rights because humans are thinking and feeling entities that are capable of experiencing pleasure and suffering and are capable of decision making which requires a certain amount of freedom to exercise. There's a substantial amount of evidence to support the hypothesis that other animals are also thinking, feeling entities capable of experiencing pleasure and suffering and of decision making. You ask which rights. I'm not sure, but personally I feel that the right not to be intentionally injured or killed (at least in most circumstances) would be deserved. The question of which animals is a difficult one also because there's no clear dividing line between species, so by default it's easiest to just say all of them. Your suggestion of the requirement for a central nervous system is a good one though as I struggle to see to what extent something can match the criteria I wrote for thinking and feeling without one, but maybe I'm just being narrow minded!

            If humans deserve rights but animals don't then that implies there's some crucial difference that separates humans from animals. Certainly that was a widely held view historically, but I don't think many scientists hold it now. It smacks of the same kind of self absorption that led people to believe that the Earth was the center of the universe.

            --
            If a cat has kittens, does a rat have rittens, a bat bittens and a mat mittens?
            • (Score: 4, Informative) by aristarchus on Sunday October 01 2017, @09:10PM (3 children)

              by aristarchus (2645) on Sunday October 01 2017, @09:10PM (#575679) Journal

              If humans deserve rights but animals don't then that implies there's some crucial difference that separates humans from animals. Certainly that was a widely held view historically, but I don't think many scientists hold it now. It smacks of the same kind of self absorption that led people to believe that the Earth was the center of the universe.

              Peter Singer [petersinger.info] calls this "speciesism", the belief that your species is somehow "better" than others.

              As for a definition of "deserve", well it's an ethical concept. Other people have already written far more on the philosophy of ethics than I ever could.

              Except most "animal rights" theories are based not on a notion of desert, something belonging to an individual animal, but instead on the principle that suffering is a malum in se, or just plain wrong, and therefore is to eliminated or minimized. The Jain and Buddhist doctrine of ahimsa is the same thing, which is good, since Buddhists in any case do not believe in souls, even animal souls.

              • (Score: 2) by acid andy on Sunday October 01 2017, @09:47PM (2 children)

                by acid andy (1683) on Sunday October 01 2017, @09:47PM (#575688) Homepage Journal

                Thanks aristarchus. I had a feeling the ability to experience pleasure or suffering was key here and the reduction of suffering does seem to be the goal of most rights. According to utilitarianism, a right should apply to all species that benefit from it via reduced suffering or increased pleasure, provided that application does not increase suffering or reduce pleasure by a greater amount for another species.

                Someone might make a case that increased intelligence increases the capacity for suffering due to reflection on the suffering causing further mental anguish. The principle you raise that all suffering is to be minimized renders that irrelevant, except when weighing the suffering of one or more individuals against those of another.

                --
                If a cat has kittens, does a rat have rittens, a bat bittens and a mat mittens?
                • (Score: 3, Insightful) by aristarchus on Sunday October 01 2017, @10:57PM (1 child)

                  by aristarchus (2645) on Sunday October 01 2017, @10:57PM (#575702) Journal

                  The principle you raise that all suffering is to be minimized renders that irrelevant, except when weighing the suffering of one or more individuals against those of another.

                  Yep, this is where the khallows of the world will get their panties all in a bunch. Utilitarianism has no intrinsic problem with allowing the suffering of some, as long as it produces more happiness for a greater number of others. In other words, it would be moral to sacrifice a minority for the benefit of the majority. Ursula K. LeGuin's short story, The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas [utilitarianism.com], poses this problem rather starkly, by adding the requirement that those who benefit have to acknowledge that they do so on the suffering of others.
                          But the entire discussion brings up the more "wholistic" side of "animal rights", things like "Deep Ecology" [deepecology.org]. In Deep Ecology, rights belong to an ecosystem, which has, I guess, a right to viability and even flourishing by the simple fact that it exists. If individual animals, or populations of animals, threaten to upset the balance of an ecosystem, they have no rights and can be dealt with to restore the system as a whole. These kinds of debates come up all the time when there is talk of culling deer herds due to overpopulation, to avoid a starvation die off and the increased damage to the ecosystem as a whole. Animal rights people sometimes seem to think that deer, individual deer, have a right not to be killed. Some may think that this is misplaced anthropomorphism, but the implications are reversed if we treat humanity as just a part of an ecosystem. (Who said that!!!! I did not mention AGW!!!) Especially with the amount of ecological destabilization that pets and domesticated animals do, at the behest or laissez-faire of humans.

                  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Joe Desertrat on Tuesday October 03 2017, @11:24PM

                    by Joe Desertrat (2454) on Tuesday October 03 2017, @11:24PM (#576844)

                    If individual animals, or populations of animals, threaten to upset the balance of an ecosystem, they have no rights and can be dealt with to restore the system as a whole. These kinds of debates come up all the time when there is talk of culling deer herds due to overpopulation, to avoid a starvation die off and the increased damage to the ecosystem as a whole. Animal rights people sometimes seem to think that deer, individual deer, have a right not to be killed.

                    Generally this happens when human interference has disrupted an ecosystem. The best option of course would be to reintroduce the natural predators to cull the deer herds, but people tend to be terrified of predators so we end up with a sort of farming of deer by and for people. The natural ups and downs of the cycle are disrupted that way and the ecosystem still suffers, those little ups and downs in predator/prey populations are an overlooked vital part of the natural cycle, human management of such things has a long way to go in understanding the actual process.

          • (Score: 2) by acid andy on Sunday October 01 2017, @08:03PM

            by acid andy (1683) on Sunday October 01 2017, @08:03PM (#575662) Homepage Journal

            As for a definition of "deserve", well it's an ethical concept. Other people have already written far more on the philosophy of ethics than I ever could.

            To state my point more clearly: If someone accepts that humans deserve a particular right then they should also accept that another species deserves that right if that species possesses equivalent qualities relevant to their enjoyment of that right or their suffering at being deprived of it. For the purposes of the logical argument, it doesn't matter what the "right" is nor what "deserves" is understood to mean nor which species it is, so long as those terms apply in a similar way to other species as to the human.

            Obviously humans are awarded some rights that wouldn't benefit some other species. What I'm getting at is I believe humans have enough in common with other species to make many "human rights" relevant.

            I should also point out when I mentioned the right not to be killed, I wasn't suggesting that other species should be arrested and punished when they predate. That wouldn't be workable and would just cause more harm. That raises an interesting problem though, that if we say violations of rights should only be opposed when committed by humans then it raises a lot of similar questions about what the relevant differences are between humans and other species. In that case perhaps the difference is that a lot of humans don't have a great need to inflict harm on other animal species and they can conceptually understand a right.

            --
            If a cat has kittens, does a rat have rittens, a bat bittens and a mat mittens?
      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2017, @06:27PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2017, @06:27PM (#575637)

        That's a load of crap, those are the exception to the rule. We wouldn't be having the issues with ever increasing allergies and immune deficiencies if we weren't sterilizing the crap out of every surface we can find. Humans have a strong enough immune system to survive through some pretty nasty conditions. But, at this point, suggesting that the typical house is just clean is rather dishonest. It's been sterlized to a shocking degree leaving far too few benign bacteria to displace the more harmful strains.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 03 2017, @09:54AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 03 2017, @09:54AM (#576510)

      I am a pet lover, we used to have a lab and looking forward to get another dog. But we are holding off because we have a toddler in our home. My wife's cousin got severe Asthma and doctor told her that it was due to long term exposure to dog's hair. I am not sure how far that is true but not willing to take chances. I also know for a fact that some people are highly allergic to dog's hair (not so much for cats). Can I prove it? Not really but I am sure I won't get a dog in my house as long as our son is staying with us.

  • (Score: 2) by SanityCheck on Sunday October 01 2017, @05:57PM (2 children)

    by SanityCheck (5190) on Sunday October 01 2017, @05:57PM (#575621)

    I can hardly disagree with parent. I have two cats and I love animals in general, and god damn do they trigger me all the time with their endless cycle. And before anyone says "but litter box," you fucking clean it man. It's been 10 years, so I have another 10 to go before they hit the bucket, after that I'm not getting anything but a fucking modified Romba that says Good Morning. At least I'll have one fucking pet that cleans up after itself.

    And no, I did not get the animals, they were get this "a gift" to my wife by her brother. Also known to me as the most irresponsible person on the fucking planet. "Oh I know what I will get her, 20 years of responsibility!" Jesus Christ, some people are too fucking stupid to exist.

  • (Score: 3, Touché) by krishnoid on Sunday October 01 2017, @08:56PM

    by krishnoid (1156) on Sunday October 01 2017, @08:56PM (#575672)

    Every single home that involves pets is filthy.
    What's that? You have a dog and your house is perfectly clean? No, it is not; your house is filthy - you're just oblivious.

    Every single home that involves humans can also be considered filthy, at some level.

    Perhaps people who can maintain their health even in animal squalor are more likely to succeed in propagating their genes; hence, people are attracted to living with (and therefore living like) animals have had a genetic advantage.
    Also, dealing with an animal prepares one to deal with children, who are pretty much just as messy as the lower forms of life that people call pets.

    In one case, exposure in the early years may even potentially improve [nih.gov] one's health later on.

    Throw out the code of this website and re-write it. It's total shit.

    Exposure to feces is generally detrimental to one's health, but again, there are exceptions [nih.gov]. However, I'll refrain from suggesting specific actions.

  • (Score: 2) by rleigh on Monday October 02 2017, @06:12AM

    by rleigh (4887) on Monday October 02 2017, @06:12AM (#575781) Homepage

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hygiene_hypothesis [wikipedia.org] is worth a read.