This is a short essay on why are animals important to human beings? The essay is a summary as this is a very big topic and it is deliberately written in plain English. Feel free to use it as you wish and/or make amendments and improvements in comments
You can divide animals into two main groups: domestic and wild. Everyone knows how domestic cats and dogs benefit the people who live with and care for them. There are an untold number of personal stories by companion animal guardians who have benefitted from their relationship with their pet. Domestic cats and dogs exist because they improve the lives of people. Cats mainly provide companionship and dogs provide the same plus they are often employed in various ways from hunting to security particularly in developing countries. We depend on domestic farm animals, livestock, to povide foods.
To answer the question, domestic animals are important to humans because they improve our lives and sustain us in many ways. Millions of humans would be bereft without them. Think of the uproar and distress if companion animals were taken from all human guardians. Many senior people literally depend on their cat or dog companion to keep going. The relationship can be that important.
Wild animals are a different story. The ever expanding global, human population and accompanying activity is pushing wild animals off the planet. Clearly people as a whole don’t see wild animals as important except as an asset to exploit for financial gain which is why the planet is going through the 6th mass extinction. Many people don’t care if they exist because humans are in general too removed from nature. If humans did see wild animals as important they would protect them more effectively and find ways to live in harmony with them.
But wild animals are vital to humans. It is critical that humans maintain biodiversity on the planet. All animals including the human animal are interconnected. Also humans should realise that insects are classified as animals. I’ll provide two examples as to why wild animals are vital to humans but there are many more.
A chain of events concerning the killing of whales reminds us that all creatures are interconnected including humans. Due to whaling and a decline in whale numbers, which was supported by fishermen, killer whales in a region were forced to prey on other animals including seals. Seal numbers declined and the whales attacked otters. As otter numbers declined urchin numbers increased. Urchins decimated kelp forests where fish larvae grew as it provided protection. The fish larvae were attacked and eaten which harmed the fishing industry in the region. The fishermen lost their livelihoods.
On dry land, bees are pollinators. They are the world’s most important pollinator of food crops. One third of all food fruits and vegetables would not exist but for pollination by bees (and other pollinators). Honey bee numbers are in decline partly because of chemical pesticides such as neonicotinoids which cause colony collapse disorder. But bees are very important to human survival.
If there were no bees human food systems would be dramatically altered and there would be a rippling effect throughout ecosystems with some animal extinctions.
I need to make a final point. Humans should accept that they are animals too. Humans don’t like to think about it because they like to think of themselves as superior. But what differentiates human animals from other animals is their level of intelligence which has led to technology and to language and culture which is more sophisticated than we see in animals. However, physically and mentally there is a multitude of similarities. And the human’s so called superior intelligence isn’t demonstrated in their destruction of the planet through climate change of the overuse of natural resources on which they depend. Humans are important to animals as well because they depend on humans to look after the planet. It is a symbiotic relationship.