It is a depressing thought to me that humankind may be the peak of evolution. Given how much havoc we wreak in the world, it seems more like devolution to me.
On the whole, I much prefer animals to people. When we see someone acting in a cruel, barbaric way, we say they are acting like an animal. But they aren't; they're worse. Animals generally act in rational ways. They have a purpose: survival, protection, mating, even friendship and affection. People, on the other hand, seem often to act completely irrationally, sometimes even to their own detriment. It makes no sense. I think that having more evolved, complex brains leads to an increased probability of something going haywire. Like the more complicated an object you buy - stereo system, DVD player, whatever - the more likely it is that something will break. Well, that seems obvious, I know.
Anyway, I just wanted to make a plea for all the homeless pets out there: PLEASE adopt a homeless pet rather than buying an expensive (and often problem-riddled) purebreed or designer dog! These abandoned animals deserve love and care too. And if you can't or don't want to take care of a pet properly, DON'T GET ONE. And don't buy one for your child, expecting him or her to take good care of it, unless you have an unusually responsible and caring child.
Both of our dogs are rescued dogs and we couldn't be happier with them. One is a mix and the other a purebreed, but both were neglected and mistreated. I can't imagine doing anything to hurt something so loving and loyal and utterly dependent on me.
If you don't want to adopt a pet, please consider donating money or volunteering your time at a reputable shelter or pet rescue organization. These animals need all the help they can get. I think it's true that the more a society takes care of its vulnerable -- including children, the elderly, and pets -- the more enlightened it is. Enlighten up, people!