While virtual animals may be a big hit in the gaming world, an Australian study suggests that the rise in popularity of video games themselves may be contributing to a decline in the ownership of live pets.
The Australian Companion Animals Council commissioned a study to examine pet ownership rates. The results are startling, showing a decline of nearly 30% in dog and cat ownership from 2000 to 2007.
Dr Kersti Seksel, the president of the Australian Veterinary Association, attributed some of the drop to the growing popularity of video games:
“These days children interact more by playing computer games and less by going out there and throwing the ball to a dog. We need to learn people skills, physical skills, and sitting in the lounge room with a computer doesn’t teach you that.”
Dr. Seksel noted that other factors such as an increase in medium-density living as well as shrinking suburban backyards also contribute to reductions in pet ownership. She encouraged the Australian government to create more off-leash parks, as well as educating townhouse and condo associations about the benefits of pet ownership.
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