Ever since true humans appeared on Earth, they have lived in close association with animals. They needed animals for tasks that required strength and speed. People depended on animals for food and clothing, but they also found a source of pleasure and spiritual strength in the animal life.
Humans domesticated some animals for food, clothing, power and companionship. Through protection and selective breeding people changed early domesticated forms into highly productive dairy and beef cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry. But despite the domestication of many species, we still depend on wild animals for food and clothing. Besides, a lot of animals are used for medical research. In addition, wild animals provide recreation in the form of hunting, bird watching, and visits to zoos and wildlife reserves.
Unfortunately, unmanaged commercial exploitation has driven some species of wild animals to the edge of extinction. For example, 143 elephants are slaughtered in Africa every day to get ivory. At this rate, they'll be wiped out in 25 years. What can we do to help animals survive? First of all, environmental organizations must analyse the consequences of humans' actions. Besides, people should create nature reserves for wild animals and birds. And of course, we must take care of those animals that are around us. There are a lot of abandoned animals in cities and towns, because their owners got rid of them. We must build and run animal shelters where neglected animals can find safety, food and veterinary care.
Nowadays a lot of people keep pets at home. A pet is a domesticated animal that is kept for pleasure rather than utility. Domesticated animals such as dogs, cats, hamsters and guinea pigs make good pets because they have been bred for thousands of years to coexist with humans.
Some people keep exotic pets like snakes, lizards or wild cats. Of course, exotic pets are fascinating and beautiful to watch. However, very often people keep exotic pets only in order to look extraordinary. They regard them as a status symbol. But captivity is not natural for wild animals. It is a constant stress to them, so they may become very aggressive as they get older. Besides, wild animals need to be examined by a vet with special knowledge and training in wildlife medicine. That's why it's not desirable to keep exotic animals as pets.
To sum up, we can say that for centuries animals have been our friends and companions, and we must do our best to ensure that this coexistence will continue in the future.