As a farmer, if you were going to tell a story about an animal, I bet it would be an account about how livestock provide people with meat, milk and eggs.
I was raised on a farm, too. Sometimes my stories are about animals I showed at the county fair, or tales about dogs and how much joy they brought to my life.
Livestock and poultry provide more than just a healthy, inexpensive diet. Animals raised for food and fiber are also invaluable in human medical treatments. It’s important that we share a complete animal story that demonstrates to society the importance of all animals.
For these reasons, Ohio Farm Bureau helped create the Animals for Life Foundation a few years ago to celebrate the human-animal bond. The Foundation defines the bond as a dynamic relationship that encompasses all people and animals within their environment and is embodied in and influenced by interactions that are essential to the health and well-being of both, with the ultimate goal of enriching and sustaining human life.
The human-animal bond has existed for thousands of years. The ways we interact with animals have changed through the ages because of an increase in information and a shift in societal values. As far back as the Paleolithic Era, humans relied on animals for survival. By 30,000 B.C., animals became domesticated, and the human-animal bond has strengthened ever since.
I believe we can all agree that life as we know it wouldn’t be complete without animals. As humans, animals inspire us, entertain us, keep us company, protect us, nourish us, and serve as a bridge to enhanced knowledge about ourselves. While animals are in our care – even if they are destined for the food supply – we have the responsibility to protect them and celebrate their contributions to our lives.
To celebrate animals’ contributions to our lives, the Foundation will be hosting its Forum April 9, where animal stakeholders and enthusiasts will gather in meaningful contemplation, conversation and collaboration regarding the human animal bond and its vast impact on society.
The Forum will feature a full day of speakers and panelists speaking to the diverse interests of attendees and different professions, such psychology, therapy and education, among others. Presentations will focus on how animals help humans heal, health benefits from human-animal interactions and how humans care for livestock.
We hope you will join us at the forum!