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What If We Plan Our Future?

Chapter 7

 ANIMAL CRYONICS

2030

Within 15 years, animal shelters will use cryonics (the science of freezing organisms with the hope of reviving them in the distant future) to routinely freeze large groups of surplus pets for future adoption. Consequently, when Sean can no longer handle Fluffy the bunny or Melissa's cat develops an intolerable attitude problem, we can freeze them instead of euthanizing them. Eventually they may be adopted by a youngster in the year 2216. 

Fluffy the bunny is about to go on a long journey to a nearby place in a far away time. But rest assured that Fluffy will be loved by some little kid in the year 2216.

Approximately 3.7 million pets are euthanized each year, according to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. While some pets are sick, elderly or too aggressive, many are young and healthy. There simply isn’t enough pet owners available. Wouldn’t building large cryonic facilities be a better alternative than annihilating healthy dogs and cats who have spent more than two weeks in an animal shelter?

This can be done. In 1987, a beagle named Miles was frozen and revived by scientists at UC Berkeley. The procedure involved having Mile’s blood replaced with a chemical solution to prevent internal damage. Miles was frozen for 15 minutes. Fortunately, after revival, the beagle was described as happy and healthy by one of the scientists.

Hopefully, by 2040, this semi-complicated procedure can be simplified as medical technology advances to the point that the animals can be anesthetized in large groups prior to robots performing this transfusion.

However, if we set up cryonic facilities today, we can freeze unwanted pets now because we don't have to wait for revival technology to be perfected with animals. It is easy to imagine that medical technology 200 to 1,000 years from today will possess the capabilities to revive properly frozen pets.

There are strong reasons why pets should be frozen instead of killed. When laws were passed in the 1800s to stop cruelty to horses and other animals, our society became more civilized. It’s time to take another step. Of course, there are some pets who have “gone the distance” and should be humanely put to sleep. But far too many of the millions killed annually are young and healthy.

It should be noted that the real solution to the pet overpopulation problem will come when birth control becomes a pet food additive. Hopefully this will be done within the next 10 years.

Baxter Lives Again!

On Jason’s 12th birthday, he was given a 5-week-old puppy. The family quickly learned that Baxter was a very precocious dog who enjoyed attention. Soon Jason and Baxter became best of friends. Baxter, whose full name was Baxter the Mutly Dog, did have a problem. If he didn’t get enough attention, he would let anyone know about it. 

Baxter liked to be held, petted or fed every moment he was awake. It was hard to watch a movie on television without Baxter ruining it with his barking and whimpering. The family tried to train Baxter with verbal commands but the dog often refused to obey. The most common command was “Baxter! Shut up!” Soon “Baxter! Shut up!” became a term of endearment. 

Unfortunately, Jason didn’t stay 12. When he was 19, he was off to college and the dorm did not allow pets.

What to do? Mom worked overtime as a nurse and Dad often worked late nights at the office. So the family held a meeting before Jason’s journey to decide what to do about Baxter. The solution was simple. Baxter would be frozen with a letter describing the dog’s love of attention.

This was easy to do as the year was 2027.

In the year 2527, a mere 500 years later, Baxter was revived and adopted by an 8-year-old girl named Kahtahnia. At first Baxter was quiet – not anything like what the letter described. But Kahtahnia petted, hugged and carried Baxter everywhere she went. Soon the dog wouldn’t shut up.

Later, on a sunny, Tuesday afternoon, Kahtahnia and Baxter enjoyed a leisurely flight on a flying disk (gravity held them in place). Baxter barked at all the birds that flew by.

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