What is HuniBIT?
The companion animal is a term that refers to pets not as a subject of entertainment but as a companion who can “spend the rest of the life together” like a family, friend, or a lover. 1 According to the national survey conducted with 6,979 adolescents and 4,010 parents by the National Youth Policy Institute in Korea, 57.7% of the respondents answered that they think of their pet is a family member, which was higher than 49.9% of the respondents who think of their relatives as their family members. In addition, many research papers have shown evidence that companion animals can have positive effects on people, such as improving empathy 2 , compliance 3 , and emotional intelligence4 in children and adolescents, as well as reducing loneliness through animal-assisted therapies5 . This shows that not only do people in modern world want the pleasure from watching pets, but they also want to share emotions and have interactions with them. The animals that are raised in home should not be considered as toys that simply provide pleasure to people, but as loved members of the family who live together .
The “World Future Society” in the United States already predicted in 1999 that the growth of the world population would stop but instead the number of companion animals would surge starting in 2035, and the American Pet Products Association reported that, as of 2017, nearly 68% of the US households have companion animals7 . In Korea, the number of households with companion animals has been steadily increasing as a result of the increasing one-person households, declining fertility rates, and aging population. The proportion of households with companion animals in Korea has increased from 17.4% in 2010 to 21.8% in 2015 according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs. As of 2017, there are over 10 million people in Korea who have companion animals.