The most humane relationship between humanity and animals is the human-pet relationship; and the human-canine bond is the closest one.
Taming of canis familiaris* started as a cooperation and evolved into domestication, which later on transformed into breeding. Humans taught dogs different commands and now dogs guard, save, search and rescue and are even deployed in military service.
Once I was reporting from the largest dog exhibition in Russia. At that time I was struck by the scale of the event, a wide range of breeds presented and the inspired dog handlers. The goal of such dog shows lies in maintaining the breeds meant for specific purposes and pertaining the characteristic traits and appearance. However the gewgaw of sparkling prizes and the spectacularity of the show do not hide the essence — there takes place the selection of the best, from the point of view of a human being, species. In order to make it through the selection, a dog should not only have the “proper” appearance but know some commands and be able to do certain actions so that the jury could evaluate its appearance and behavior. Taking into account the fact that the dog gets a treat for that, can this human-dog cooperation be regarded as voluntary? Does the reward nullify the fact that a human compels the dog to act in a certain manner for own purposes?
Many puppies get a “little prospect” or “no prospect” verdict, or even never make it through to the show: they get “culled” for not meeting the standards in order to not allow “inappropriate” genes in the pedigree. Shaping artificial evolution humans mercilessly discard “the inappropriate” thereby breeding “the ideal dog”. Human-dog relationship is not considered from the perspective of the utilitarian function of this activity then.
*Canis familiaris — the domestic dog species. The species is believed to have descended from wolves and jackals and the domestication may have happened several times over many thousand years. Nowadays the dogs are used in a variety of activities: from companion- to service dogs.