Pet humans are a human subspecies created as pets or toys; most are highly neotenous and remain cute and childlike for their entire lives. Lifespan varies, although in general it is short (less than 20 years). Intelligence is as a rule below 60, and empathy enhancements are nearly always present. Reproduction is usually artificial rather than sexual.
Some pet human species have features that make them more adorable to the owner species. Examples include the dolphin-human pets bred by the various hybrid farms of Hwii that include elements of both human and dolphin children as well as amphibiousness, or the cybernetic children of Fata Morgana that are intended as AI/vec pets and are equipped with AI subsystems.
It is unknown when the first pet humans were created; some historians suggest as early as the 22nd century, others suggest it was during the First Federation as the first splices became so rich and independent that they could afford to turn the tables on Homo sapiens. Since then various pet human species have been developed on different worlds.
The practice should not be confused with using baseline humans or splices as pets. The most common definition of pet humans is that they are incapable of maintaining a culture of their own and are totally dependent on an owner species. However, the wild former pet humans on Kaumbrey (Alpha Euterbia II, Olumbi region in the NoCoZo) show that occasionally pet humans can survive on their own.
The legal status of pet humans varies. In many jurisdictions with strong near baseline populations the practice is outlawed and equated with slavery, genetic violence, or child mistreatment. In some cases loopholes exist, such as among Tier II worlds of the NoCoZo or the fourth revision of the ComEmp Ontology where the design and growth of new pet humans is illegal but the caretakership of one is equated with caretakership of otherwise retarded baseline humans.
In some systems such as Hwii, Kolmog or Fata Morgana the practice has remained legal (with various restrictions) for millennia. Several species of provolved Earth creatures, such as the Greater Superchimps of the Centaurus Expansion, maintain populations of pet humans for sentimental reasons or for sport.
Text by Anders Sandberg
Initially published on 04 August 2000.
Page uploaded 4 August 2000, last modified 16 August 2003