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Symbiosis

Consider this: Animals-Children-People Living with Disabilities FUSION
http://www.nytimes.com/1990/01/11/us/health-children-and-their-pets-unexpected-psychological-benefits.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

The article above talks about the therapeutic effect that animals can have on children, especially those who are suffering from neglect or are struggling with emotional disabilities. According to their research, it is not only your traditional pets that can help in therapy, but farm animals and wildlife as well.

Animals of all shapes and sizes work together to stay healthy and survive.

It is incredible how the world works and how organisms of all shapes and sizes work together to form an ecosystem. Every living thing has its role to play in the greater scope of the environment that it lives in. However, environments are only sustainable if the interactions between the organisms balance each other out.

A key word that we should consider is “symbiosis.” It is defined as “the living together in more or less intimate association or close union of two dissimilar organisms” (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary). An example of this is the clownfish and the anemone. The clownfish cleans and maintains the anemone, and the anemone protects the clownfish from pretators and provides a home. We benefit so much from animals, but do we truly live in symbiosis with other animals?

In terms of food, animals play a huge role in the production of food. Not only do we eat animals, but we use them to help with farming to grow staple crops and such. Without the influence of animals, our diets would differ from what they are today.

However, as shown in this article, we also benefit from them emotionally. When we trust animals and they trust us back, we are able to build confidence and promote positive group collaboration and cooperation. Do we do the same for them?

In terms of pets, there is the question of putting them on leashes. For farm animals, do we treat them in a humane manner? In terms of wildlife, we encroach on their natural habitats and often destroy their homes. We should really think about symbiosis. Are we promoting a symbiotic relationship with all animals?

Over the years, there has been more movement to reduce human encroachment on environments and more humane treatment of animals. Some zoos are working to reintroduce species that would be otherwise extinct for reasons caused by humans. All of this is great, but quite a bit of it is to try to right the wrongs of the past. What more can we do to help other animals since they help us so much?

Check out some of the links and articles below and let us know what you think!

Links:

Former TV writer fatally punches poodle in face
http://bostonherald.com/news/national/northeast/view.bg?articleid=1061139576

List of Red List endangered species
http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/19/world/rio-red-list-extinction-species/index.html?iref=allsearch

Merriam-Webster Definition
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/symbiosis

Britannica article about service animals
http://advocacy.britannica.com/blog/advocacy/2007/01/service-animals-help-humans-live-fuller-lives/

Go Blue!
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/16/us/in-new-mexico-a-city-divies-and-unites-for-a-dog-named-blue.html?ref=animals

Using Goats to Clean Up!
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/22/nyregion/at-freshkills-park-borrowing-goats-to-tackle-a-weed-problem.html?ref=animals

An opinion article about animal protection
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/26/who-protects-the-animals/

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