This Review discusses how companion animals and livestock can both make a positive contribution to human welfare. Animals improve the welfare of humans in many ways, ranging from providing companionship, improving mental health, facilitating rescues during natural disasters; and finally, for a number of species, as food. Dogs used in therapy, and as aids for people with disabilities, provide important benefits. Moreover, they can also be used to detect drugs and herd livestock. To ensure the welfare of such important partners, good breeding programmes and high-quality veterinary care are essential, and breeders must be careful to avoid producing dogs with congenital issues.
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