How the future will have animals for everything
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Staff Writer
Animals are used by our society in many ways. Some relationships exist to serve the animals, such as animal shelters and veterinary hospitals. Some exploit the animals for human-use, as in the case of slaughterhouses and fur farms. And other services are mutually beneficial to both animals and humans, in ways that could be considered a little wacky—or perhaps overly luxurious—to many.
A spa service that has become popular in many parts of Asia has found its way over to North America. The Garra rufa fish, known informally as the “doctor fish,” hails from Turkey and feeds on waste such as larvae and algae. They’re also used by the batch in many clinics to give pedicures, as they are effective eaters of dead skin. The customer simply soaks their feet in a tank and the fish go to town, leaving much smoother and softer tootsies behind. Presumably, this method is not recommended for the squeamish or ticklish. It’s also not recommended by many health authorities, as the practice has been banned in many states and provinces—including at one clinic on Vancouver Island in 2011. Regulators believe that it’s an unsanitary procedure, as the fish cannot be thrown away or sterilized after use.
Animals can also help in less slimy ways. Many schools, including our very own Douglas College, have offered a “puppy room”—which is exactly what it sounds like. During the stress of finals, students can come and play with a bunch of puppies. The puppies play and get some human affection, while the students play and get some puppy affection. A similar concept is the cat café or “Catfé,” originally hailing from Japan. Customers can come in and watch or play with the cats while enjoying refreshments, providing an opportunity for relaxation and affection to both humans and animals alike. Cat cafés are gaining in popularity worldwide, with one scheduled to open in Vancouver in fall 2014. Both the puppy rooms and cat cafés should be exciting to almost anyone—except those with allergies or a deep hatred of kittens and puppies.
First it was fish for rent to clean your feet, then puppies and kittens to rent for affection. Who knows what may emerge next? In Japan, there is a restaurant where the waiters are trained monkeys. Capuchin monkeys are already used to provide services to persons with disabilities in the West—maybe soon they’ll be available to rent as servers or cleaners. Who wouldn’t want to be brought a beer from a little monkey in a bow tie?
Why not take it further? Canada Post is phasing out home delivery in the next five years. Maybe we could go back to the days of the carrier pigeon to send and receive bills, letters, and postcards. Larger birds such as owls and ravens can deliver heavier pieces of mail. In no time at all, the world will look like a Harry Potter book. We could even get birds to replace tools at the dentist’s office; they’d just eat all the plaque off your teeth.
We could use animals for everything in the future! I’m thinking moose and reindeer to pull our cars when we run out of gas. I’ve got visions of gorillas as hired security for concerts and parties—they intimidate much more than any person could. Humans may be the smartest animals on Earth, but it doesn’t mean we’re the most useful.