The world is full of more animals than we can imagine, and species that scientists haven’t even discovered yet. From the domestic dogs we know and love, to the most unique crustaceans in the depths of the sea, a limitless variety of creatures exist, many of which are used for different purposes. Humans have relied on animals for food and clothing for as long as they have inhabited the earth, and in recent centuries animals have become integral parts of research and business development. While this is tragic in many ways, here is a list of how humans use animals.

Food:  Chickens, goats, sheep, pigs, fish and cows are some of the greatest staples in the human food chain. From bacon, to chicken tenders, to tri-tip and fish tacos, humanity would be lost without these animals providing sustenance. It is bizarre to think there are some creatures that are protected by law from any harming or killing, while there are other animals who are raised for the express purpose of becoming somebody’s meal.

Clothing and Goods: Usually when we think of cows, our first go-to assumption is that they are either being used for their milk or meat. However, rawhide from cattle is required for the production of many things, from baseballs, to leather belts, shoes and handbags. Rabbits and chinchillas are skinned for fur coats and boots, and sheep’s wool is woven into mittens and blankets. Duck and goose feather fill our pillow cases and duvets. Instead of being free-roaming animals, these creatures are turned into opportunities for fashion and furniture companies to make money.

Entertainment: There is no doubt that the bright scales of a fish are glorious to observe, and standing four feet from a live giraffe is an unforgettable experience. As noteworthy subjects of observation, animals have fulfilled the role of entertainers in our society.  We visit them in wild animal parks, we gawk at them and watch them interact in zoos and sea mammal shows.  Circus animals would travel the country and perform impressive tricks, and now animals star in films and achieve incredible feats, all for human entertainment. Regardless of the grueling hours they may spend working hard to reach these seemingly impossible goals, or the challenging conditions that go along with performing and working on set, animals are used frequently for our entertainment.

Testing & Experiments: Cosmetic companies, skincare, shampoo, spa companies, cleaning products, and medical/pharmaceutical developers use animals to run tests about their products’ efficacy. Schools are sent bags of animals raised and killed so that students can dissect them in biology class, or feed pet reptiles.  In college labs and observatories, hundreds of psychology and chemistry experiments are conducted living animals.  As a result, millions of rats, mice, guinea pigs, rabbits, and monkeys are tortured, poisoned, burned and killed so that companies can determine whether or not their products are safe for human use. This is one of the most horrifying ways humans have benefited from the lives of animals.

Note: Fortunately, it is not all “bad news.” Animals are also used to help disabled people, rescue the lost, help the injured and mentally handicapped, and provide comfort and companionship to millions of people all over the world. However, we wish all creatures were regarded with the same value and care that domestic dogs and cats in America are generally given.