Animals For Life by John Parker

You have that friendly dog or cat or other pet at home that is important to you.  To have that tail wagging, friendly dog or purring cat ready to greet you when you come home is worth the time, cost and effort of taking care of your pet.  They provide companionship and some times protection for us.  And they can help people with mobility problems and provide emotional support.

Our pet animals are important to us and we need to give them the best of care.

At the same time, we have livestock farmers in our area that have a bond with your favorite pet.  They also believe in giving their animals the best of care because they know their animals are essential for  putting food on our table.  Animals that end up as part of our food supply provide meat, milk and eggs for us.  These foods supply essential nutrients for the 96 percent of us that have them in our diets. 

An organization formed in 2009 by the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation called Animals for Life takes an interesting look at the human-animal bond.  It exists in the home with pets that are important to families to the livestock farmer with 50 or 500 or more animals who recognizes the need for good animal care.

If we go back, way back before the birth of Christ, we can see the importance of animals to our livelihood.  We were hunters and gatherers, depending to a large extent on the wild animals we could somehow find  to provide meat for food and skins or hides for clothing.

Around 9000 BC, sheep were domesticated as a source of food in the Middle East.  Cattle and pigs were domesticated later.  About 4000 BC, horses were domesticated and used as a means of transportation.  They were essential to the growth and development of agriculture in this country until about 1920 when tractors started to take over.

Our history tells us that pets, especially dogs and cats, have been a part of our society since the beginning of this country.  Not only were dogs friendly companions in most homes, they were essential for protection of isolated early settlers.

At the same time, those early settlers used oxen to help clear and till the land.  They understood the importance of those animals to their very lives.  So there was a bond between both the pets and the animals domesticated for farm work and meat or milk.

Animals not only provide food and companionship for us, they can make it easier for disabled or elderly folks to adapt to their surroundings.  Horses are important for recreation and owners can become very attached to their them.  By studying animals, we have made a number of medical breakthroughs.

We as Humans have an obligation to care for our animals, both pets and farm livestock.  We need to give them our attention, protect them and provide them with adequate food, water and medical care.

The mission of the Animals for Life foundation is “To achieve public recognition that animals bring value to human life  while striving to improve the quality of life for each.”  They point out that life just wouldn’t be the same without animals.  And that the most important aspect of the human-animal bond is our responsibility for animal care.

If you want more information about this foundation, visit the website or e-mail [email protected].

Lynn Snyder 

Lynn Snyder is senior director of communications for Ohio Farm Bureau.