Pet consumption: from "going to school" to cloning

  Pet schools, pet insurance, pet funerals, pet cloning... There is both warmth and supervision behind the 100 billion "it economy" market


  The pet economy is also known as the "it economy". Compared with the traditional pet consumption such as pet medical care and pet supplies, which focuses on pets' "food, clothing, housing and transportation" in the past, more and more consumption related to the spiritual level of pets has also begun to gradually upgrade, resulting in a series of "Anthropomorphic" services: pet weight loss, pet behavior modification, pet psychology, pet insurance, pet furniture customization, pet blind date, pet funeral, and even pet cloning... pets' lives can now be "clearly arranged".

  According to relevant data analysis released by PricewaterhouseCoopers recently, the market size of China's pet industry has reached 348.8 billion yuan in 2021, with a growth rate of 17%; according to relevant data from iResearch, as of 2020, the number of urban dogs and cats in my country has exceeded 1 billion.

Behind this 100 billion pet economy, on the one hand, it reflects the companionship and emotional needs of young people, and on the other hand, there are some "gray areas".

The reporter recently interviewed some relevant practitioners and pet owners.

  Text / All-media reporter Cheng Yilun of Guangzhou Daily

 From "light mother-infant" to "anthropomorphic"

  Pet owners 'broken heart' for cats and dogs

  During the interview, the reporter found that compared with two years ago, the pet economy presents some new features: with the improvement of pet owners' spending power and the drive of emotional factors, pet consumption has shown a trend of "light mother and baby" and "anthropomorphic". More and more people begin to regard pets as part of the family, pet owners will not only spend on pet food, clothing, housing, transportation and medical treatment, but even more and more people are willing to try offline services such as weight loss and education with pets ; In addition, in order to expand the communication of pets and alleviate the "loneliness" of pets, online services such as pet blind dates and pet parties have even been born.

  In a few days, bingo the puppy will "graduate" from pet school.

This is a training school specializing in pet behavior modification, located near Shigang Road, Guangzhou.

The "hairy children" sent here ranged in age from 5 months to 4 years old. Most of them were "problem puppies" in the eyes of pet owners: they were irritable, easily excited, and had "demolition homes", biting things, or being big and small at home in the past. Then wait for the "black history"; there are some puppies who seem to be quiet, but are actually too vigilant and have the same tendency to attack.

  Bingo, a puppy who is less than 1 year old this year, has a more controllable behavior among a group of "classmates". He is an introvert because he was frightened by another puppy when he was a child, resulting in "social difficulties": going out It's easy to get excited when you meet a stranger, and it's easy to be frightened when you meet a strange puppy.

In order to better "socialize" bingo, the owner sent it to a pet school in early April this year.

  The reporter searched the Internet and found that there are now more than 10 pet training centers, pet schools or studios providing pet training services in Guangzhou.

  Pet schools aren't cheap either.

When the reporter searched, they found that most pet schools have training courses ranging from 3,000 yuan to 12,000 yuan, and the course duration is about a week to a month. People, fixed-point defecation, prohibition of biting and other behaviors are corrected to the basic password learning of "sitting", "lying", "yes" and "no", and then to interactive action learning such as jumping circles, high-fives, and salutes.

  According to bingo's trainers, most pet schools on the market currently carry out training based on pet behavior, pet behavior correction and other related theories.

"Pet training has only emerged in the past 2 to 3 years, and there are more and more. At present, due to industry regulatory issues, most pet training bases on the market are mainly individual institutions, lacking complete qualification inspections, and there may be only some of them. Institutions hold professional qualification certificates. Therefore, the quality of pet training schools on the market varies.”

  Even so, there are still many "baby moms and dads" who are keen to send pets to schools to participate in the "transformation meter".

A Fa from Shenzhen adopted two puppies at the end of last year, but found that the puppies had problems such as rushing, excessive barking, social difficulties, etc. Afterwards, A Fa sent both puppies to a pet school in Guangzhou. After three months, the two puppies finally "graduated" smoothly.

"As a part of the family, a puppy's behavior often affects your mood and quality of life," Afa said.

  According to data from a consulting firm, 20.70% of Chinese pet owners regard pets as "children", 12.78% of them consider pets as "relatives", and 21.59% of them consider pets as "friends". The role and definition of pets are changing, and they are gradually being "anthropomorphic" as members of the family.

  "Most behavioral problems in pets are actually related to the owner's original behavior and management methods. For example, the owner is too indulgent or indulgent, and unscientific interaction methods, etc., cause the puppies to have various behavioral problems. The trainer said, "So we also need to train pet owners synchronously during pet training. Only when the owner actively adjusts the mode of getting along with the puppy can we ensure that the pet will not return to its original state after returning home. In most pet training In the base, it is not so much that pets go to school, it is more that pets and pet owners are learning and progressing together.”

  Pets also have "aging" pet insurance, pet funerals rise

  What is the daily cost of keeping a pet?

Ms. Chen, who has a Garfield cat, told reporters that she spends about 2,000 yuan per year on cat food, and about 800 yuan per year for fixed expenses such as toys, nutritional creams, and bathing and beauty.

Before that, she had an operation because the kitten accidentally swallowed a foreign body, and the subsequent sterilization operation cost her 8,000 yuan.

  Citizen Ms. Wu owns a Schnauzer. In the past 5 months, she spent 2,000 yuan for dog food, 2,000 yuan for necessary expenses such as "living" and "travel", plus "going to school", vaccinations, etc. , the total cost of 9200 yuan so far.

For pet dogs who have daily needs to go out, in addition to dog food, there are necessary expenses such as dog urine pads, kennels, toys, molar sticks, shower gels, poop bags, and deworming drugs.

  The reporter learned that "rich care" is not only the attitude of young people to raise pets, but also the investment of the elderly in pets.

Uncle Li, who lives in Yuexiu District, is 53 years old this year. Last month, in order to treat his pet dog, Xiao Sa, with an abdominal tumor disease, it cost him a month's salary just for the surgery.

Xiao Sa is a Samoyed dog who has been with Uncle Li for nearly nine years. Judging from the dog's lifespan, Xiao Sa is already entering old age.

Uncle Li told reporters that Xiao Sa was originally bought by his children to accompany him and his wife, but as he grew older, Uncle Li could no longer take him out for a walk as often as he used to climb the stairs. In order to help Xiaosa delay aging, Uncle Li began to buy some pet nutrition products, and occasionally asked young neighbors to walk the dog on his behalf.

  According to the previous survey data of a large pet website, in 2019, the age of dogs in cities and towns in my country is mostly 2-5 years old, and the age of cats is 2-6 years old. It is estimated that from 2022 to 2026, there will be a large number of pets into the elderly (8 years and older).

According to a doctor in a pet hospital, dogs in old age are prone to obesity, oral cavity, urinary system, stone disease, kidney and other problems, while cats are prone to skin diseases, endocrine disorders, eye, nose and oral diseases, etc. , there will be more and more services for elderly pets in the future.

  During the inquiry, the reporter found that the pet physical examination alone is expensive. For example, the physical examination cost of elderly dogs and cats generally exceeds 1,000 yuan, covering many items such as heart, kidney, and whole abdominal ultrasound.

As a result, pet medical insurance and other services have also been born. According to a staff member of a property insurance company, domestic pet insurance is mostly based on accident insurance and liability insurance, and the public is still in the wait-and-see stage of understanding.

  In addition, with the emergence of pet "aging", pet funerals and pet cemeteries have gradually become an emerging business.

According to data from Tianyancha, as of January 2022, there are 1,462 companies operating in my country that include "pet funerals".

An industry insider said that since there is currently no standard for pet funerals in China, the pet funeral industry also has problems such as unqualified operation, cremation without environmental protection assessment, and non-standard pet cemetery site selection.

  According to the reporter's incomplete statistics, there are currently more than 20 studios and centers in Guangzhou that can provide pet funeral services, and the cremation price ranges from 600 yuan to 5,200 yuan. In addition to helping pet cremation, some pet funeral centers also provide pet memorial services. Personalized services such as necklaces, pet plaster sculptures, etc.

  Is it worthwhile to clone pets into a niche and spend hundreds of thousands of yuan to "resurrect" pets

  Among the many emerging pet services, the most expensive and most controversial is pet cloning.

  Since the end of last year, with the hot searches on news such as "Women spend 180,000 to clone pets", the topic of "pet cloning" has also entered people's field of vision.

During the visit, the reporter also found that many pet hospitals are now cooperating with a biotechnology company to promote pet cloning.

  In fact, animal cloning is not uncommon in foreign countries. From the world's first cloned sheep "Dolly" in 1996, to around 2007, "cloned dogs" have been commercialized in South Korea.

The domestic pet cloning service was launched in 2017. Dogs are the most common type of commercial cloned pets. The current market price ranges from 100,000 to more than 400,000 yuan.

  Despite the high price, there are still people willing to pay for it.

Previously, Zhang Yue, a domestic girl, used 380,000 yuan to clone her deceased dog. Now the cloned dog is nearly four years old.

It turned out that in October 2018, Nini, the puppy who accompanied Zhang Yue for 17 years, died of kidney failure. In order to make up for her emotional shortcomings, she decided to clone a new Nini.

  With the promotion of pet cloning in the past two years, more and more people choose to clone cats and dogs. The reporter inquired on the official website of a pet cloning company. The company currently has nearly 100 cases of pet cat and dog cloning every year. In addition to the type of pet dogs, it also includes functional dogs such as police dogs and guide dogs.

  From a public perspective, is pet cloning possible?

The reporter visited a number of pet stores and learned that in Guangzhou, although citizens occasionally ask for information about pet cloning, most of the citizens are out of curiosity, and very few are really willing to clone.

From the perspective of pet owners, spending money to "resurrect" pets is most concerned with two questions: Can pet clones really be the same?

Are cloned pets as healthy and long-lived as normal animals?

  Nowadays, Zhang Yue posts pictures of her cloned dogs from time to time on the Internet, "Their appearance and sound are almost the same. I know they are not the same life, but for me, the most important thing is that the lost things have come back, I No need to cherish any more." Zhang Yue told reporters.

  Most of the people who choose to clone pets are out of emotional needs; however, on social platforms, there are also people who oppose pet cloning, saying that pet cloning is essentially just "changing a pet with the same appearance".

When the reporter asked an industry insider, the other person also said: "Technology may be able to replicate the living body, but it cannot replicate the soul and memory. Even sometimes, the pet cloning technology cannot guarantee that the cloned body is exactly the same as the original pet in appearance, especially It’s a cat, and because of the genetic differences, cloned cats are more likely to have differences in appearance, such as coat color, than cloned dogs.”

  Also to be verified are the health issues of cloned animals: it is understood that the cloned sheep "Dolly" died of "lung infection" due to geriatric disease at the age of 6; although the follow-up cloned 4 Only "New Dolly" was able to live beyond the age of six, but it also failed to escape doubts about the susceptibility of cloned animals to disease or premature aging.

  In addition, the "moral and ethical" issues that arise in pet cloning are also controversial.

According to the reporter's understanding, the pet dog cloning process is: extracting cell samples from pets, extracting cells to establish lines, transplanting somatic cells into oocytes to construct cloned embryos, implanting cloned embryos into surrogate mothers, and developing into clones through pregnancy .

In this process, in order to improve the success rate, it is not only necessary to invest a lot of experiments and human and material resources, but also a lot of experimental surrogate animals, which is also harmful to these animals.

A doctor from a pet hospital said: "At present, there is a stronger resistance to pet cloning and surrogacy abroad, which makes it difficult for the pet cloning business in many European and American regions to advance, but the industry has not yet formed a unified standard in China, so it is still in a gray area. It needs everyone's supervision."