“You’ve got to remember that a worm, with very few exceptions, is not a human being.”
Gene Wilder’s iconic quote from the famous Mel Brooks comedy ‘Young Frankenstein’ lends itself rather nicely to the world’s current geopolitical situation. But it might also strike a chord with many Danes.
Because either Denmark has some absolutely legendary pets or it has some pretty shitty families.
Pets over parents
Whatever the reason, news has filtered through that one fifth of women in Denmark feel they have a closer emotional bond to their pets than their nearest family members.
A new YouGov survey reveals that 21 percent of women feel closer to their four-legged friends (or whatever pet they had) than their own parents and siblings. The same can be said for 23 percent of young people aged 18-29.
“You get unconditional love from your pet. Compared to other humans the animal doesn’t demand that much from you, just a few basic needs, such as giving it food,” Jill Brynit, a psychologist and PhD in evolutionary psychology at the University of Southern Denmark, told Metroxpress newspaper.
“The more egotistical side of our relationship with animals means we have perhaps become so self-sufficient that we really can’t be bothered with the demands of others, so it’s great to have a dog or cat that doesn’t demand much and wants to spend time with you. So you can live exactly the way you want to.”
Brynit said that another issue was that more and more Danes live alone and don’t have children, so they have lots of time, money and emotional surplus to provide to their pets, which are therefore increasingly being considered part of the family.
Furthermore, city-dwelling Danes don’t have much practical experience with nature and animals and are more likely to develop a more emotional relationship with their pet.
According to national statistics keeper Danmarks Statistik, over 880,000 families in Denmark have pets.