Understanding career trends is important to knowing which field to pursue. After all, when choosing your life's work, you need to think of the long term.

Ask Yourself

  • Is the field I'm interested in growing or shrinking?
  • Are there as many jobs as there are people who want them?
  • Are salaries in the field keeping up with other professions?
  • Are there other animal-related careers that offer more jobs, better salaries, or other benefits that might be better choices for me?

Changes in Animal-Related Work

Historically, many jobs working with animals have involved farming, ranching, hunting, fishing, and other consumptive, or exploitive, uses of animals. People who wanted to help domestic or wild animals had few career choices. They might work in animal shelters or wildlife sanctuaries or become veterinarians. But people who wanted to reduce animal suffering, protect rare species, or otherwise help animals lead better lives had trouble finding paying jobs.

Changing Attitudes towards Pets

Attitudes toward pets are changing in our society. More and more, people value dogs, cats, horses, and other animals as companions and family members. This growing appreciation is leading to more jobs in pet-related professions.

Changing Attitudes towards Wildlife

Our attitudes toward wildlife are changing, too. Bird watching and gardening are among the fastest growing hobbies in the U.S. People choose vacation destinations where they can see whales or glimpse a polar bear. Books, magazines, and films about wildlife are also increasingly popular.

Human Conflicts with Animals are Growing

  • More than 4.7 million dog bites are recorded yearly by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • The HSUS estimates that 3-4 million dogs and cats are euthanized by shelters each year.
  • Dogs, cats, rabbits and millions of other animals are used annually in laboratory testing.
  • Millions more cattle, sheep, chickens, and other livestock live in factory farms.

Growing Need to Protect Nature

As people care more about nature, they care more about the damage humans are doing to the environment. Problems include:

  • Habitat destruction
  • Overhunting and overfishing
  • Introduced species
  • Intolerance for wildlife in cities and neighborhoods

These conflicts have also led to growth in jobs protecting nature.