This morning I caught a glimpse of a show on "Super Soul Sunday" about Large Guardian Dogs. The show featured a family of Great Pyrenees dogs.. The older dogs were socializing the pups and introducing them to the flock. They were becoming bonded with the sheep and the lambs, even helping groom the lambs. The farmer remarked: " I watch them care for something outside of themselves and that purposefulness creates contentment."
This is something that farmers know, and people who are deeply connected to their animals know, but animal rights fanatics can never truly understand. Animals, just like people, need direction and purpose in their lives to be happy and content, whether it be having a job to do, a family to raise or a protective role of some sort.
I can't imagine a world where we divorce ourselves from our domestic animals. Such a world would provide only a sadly soulless existence for humans. For the animals we are bonded with in spirit, it would spell extinction.
Domestic animals exist only because of the purposes for which they serve mankind. Companionship is one purpose, but there are more practical associations such as horses who pull carriages or allow ranchers to traverse their territory, or cows and chickens who provide a major source of high-quality nourishment for humans in the way of dairy products, eggs, and yes, meat. Without the express purpose of helping us with our work or providing us with a food source, these animals wouldn't exist at all.
Man was only able to develop his brain and evolve to a high level of mental capacity through his consumption of high-quality protein and high-fat animal-based foods beginning thousands of years ago.
More rural and agrarian human societies have always understood this animal bond and been thankful for it. It's only in recent times, where our largely urban populace seldom thinks about nature and our connection to it, that we have seen people object to "using" domestic animals and insisting that animals have "rights". If so, humans have the same rights, including the right to produce and eat the foods our bodies need to thrive through humane stewardship of animals.