- You dig the new toys on the market and know that polymer scientists and engineers and physicists are responsible for some of the coolest toys that didn’t exist when you were a kid. Laser pointers, automatic ball launchers, safe and indestructible chews, remote controlled cat toys, toys that talk. You can even play with your cat with a laser while you’re away at work. You can play ball with your dog while you’re in the office. You want scientists to keep the fun coming, and it’s starting to occur to you just what a drag the defunding is going to be. (Plus, you love Bill Nye and Myth-Busters!)
You care about the quality of your pet’s food, air, and water. Thanks to science, you know that raisins aren’t safe for your dog, garlic’s not safe for your cat, and avocado isn’t safe for your parrot, and you know why. You understand that the environment in which the food is produced affects its quality and safety, from factory farm to factory kitchen. You know that veterinarians, biologists, nutritionists, meteorologists, and engineers inform farmers about best practices, invent transportation procedures, factory processes, and packaging. Scientists blow whistles to protect your pet. You’ve heard that the Environmental Protection Agency, originally a bipartisan legislation created by the Nixon administration, happens to be under threat right now. You care that your pets—and other animals much like your pets—depend on humans to protect what they eat, drink, and breathe.
You’re concerned about the effects and necessity of vaccinations or surgeries or other treatments for your pets. You know that hypothesis-driven experiments, replication of results, and peer review are the most tried and true methods to ensure everything from the treatment of feline diseases to the safety of seatbelt harnesses for your dog. When unnecessary treatments or medications are pushed on your pet, you know it’s not the science that’s to blame, it’s the profit motive (e.g. drug companies). Arming yourself with science is your best weapon to protect your pet’s welfare against someone else’s financial gain. You understand that some powerful special interest groups are threatened by science and actively try to discredit and defund it. The assault on science means studies on animal health, nutrition, and welfare are at stake. What you want most is for you and your pets to have as long and happy lives together as possible.
If you love your pets, you love animals. If your heart breaks for cats stressed and crowded in cages on the death row of a kill shelter, you can easily imagine that if your pet were a polar bear, you’d want to provide her with the perfect habitat. If your polar bear’s habitat were shrinking at an alarming rate, you’d damn sure do something. Who else will fight for polar bears, if not you? If you get steamed by irresponsible dog owners who chain their dogs out in the elements, leave them in hot cars, or train them with cruel collars, you can imagine if your pet were a clever, sensitive sea lion tangled in plastic ocean debris. Damn right you’d be ringing the White House doorbell to get some action to save your sea lion! Who else has such a big heart as to advocate for animals, but someone like you who’s opened your home to other species? You’re brave enough to stop denying your fears about climate change and habitat destruction and face them. Your pet and future pets are earthlings, and so far, there’s no safer, happier place for us all.
- You never get tired of thinking and talking about your pets. Scientists helped make the cell phone in your pocket that takes pictures and shares them in seconds all around the world. Scientists made it possible for you to create and edit video of your pet. Scientists bring news of legislation, product recalls, health, and behavior studies straight to your pocket. Scientists help you understand how your pet thinks and feels, learns and communicates. Scientists go all around the world to study wild animals who are so
uncannily like your own pets—and so surprisingly like you—that you feel enriched. You know you’re less alone in the world. Scientists make our understanding of animals richer and more valuable every day. They make it possible to stream that information into your televisions, computers, and cell phones, they make it multimedia so that it’s more engaging, and they study the ways we use and interpret information so that it can be presented to us in the most rewarding ways.
And these are just a few reasons why pet lovers feel solidarity with the scientists who make our lives and the lives of animals in our homes and all over the planet safer, happier, and more awesome.