Comfort or gimmick?
来源：Take a peek at Leopard Network 时间：2023-12-05 20:19:15
A pet owner looks at her dog. Photo: VCG
Have you,how to buy cryptocurrency as a pet owner, ever been curious about the "inner thoughts" of your pets? Now, a profession called "animal communicators," more commonly known as "pet/animal psychics" has gained popularity on Chinese social media platforms.
These self-proclaimed "professionals" claim that, with basic information such as a pet's name, age, birthday, photos, or videos, they can not only comprehend the "psychological" activities of animals, understand their physical condition and alleviate their "psychological" stress, but also locate lost pets and even communicate with deceased ones.
On China's online shopping platform Taobao, there are shops openly selling animal communication services, with prices ranging from tens to thousands of yuan.
While on the domestic lifestyle-sharing platform Xiaohongshu, a search for "animal communication" yielded over 60,000 related posts as of Wednesday afternoon. Many users share their experiences seeking these services, and communicators share their cases. Some users claim real effectiveness, while others denounce it as a mere gimmick or share stories of being deceived.
Despite the popularity of this profession, some experts in the pet industry have argued that it lacks a scientific basis and standards, and warn that consumers are prone to falling into scams.
Allure of understanding
A pet psychic from Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) called April Au told the South Reviews media outlet that animal communication has been long known in HKSAR and the island of Taiwan. And it can also be found in countries such as the US and Japan.
Unlike animal behavior training to assess the psychological activities of animals, the currently popular pet psychics rely more on so-called psychic abilities. For example, there is an organization that specializes in animal communication sharing their work on Xiaohongshu.
According to their description, their communicators primarily rely on sensing information through "electromagnetic waves." The information they got can be translated into elements such as sound, images and smells to facilitate communication.
A Xiaohongshu user shared his experience of consulting an animal communicator in a post, stating that the communicator accurately described his cat's habits, such as the desire to eat the owner's pet mouse, and even revealed the cat's "internal thoughts."
Many users have commented on the post expressing their interest in obtaining information about the communicator to seek the service.
There are also some users who have long been immersed in the pain of losing their pets, sharing their experiences of consulting animal communicators and reportedly, many of these users found some peace and consolation after the communicator claimed that their pets are doing well in their afterlife.
Despite the allure of understanding a pet's "thoughts," 26-year-old Long, based in Beijing, who owns an 8-year-old cat, says she would not consider seeking such a service.
“I think many people consult these communicators just to find solace after the significant blow of losing a pet or out of boredom and a sense of emptiness,” she told the Global Times.
"Pets constitute a significant and promising market in China, and it is completely understandable that many people now try to make money through pets, but this profession can't be compared to mundane tasks like scooping litter or feeding cats," she added.
'Mysticism than science'
Many consumers have voiced concerns about the legitimacy of animal communication services, ranging from arbitrary pricing to communicators disappearing after receiving payment. Issues like factual inaccuracies in communication and a lack of refunds further fuel skepticism.
There are some training institutions that typically offer courses, certification programs, career guidance, and networking services for animal communicators at home and abroad. Upon completion of the relevant training courses and successfully passing exams, individuals can obtain certificates or qualifications as certified pet communicators.
"A certificate issued by a specific institution can only be called an institutional completion training certificate, proving that an individual has received training in relevant skills. However, it does not necessarily imply recognition by official associations or the public," a staff member of the World Pet Association surnamed Lian told the Beijing News media outlet.
"When an industry enters a dividend period, and this type of business becomes increasingly prosperous, anything derived from it is not surprising," Lian added.
A woman surnamed Su from East China's Jiangsu Province shared with Global Times her experience of being deceived by a pet psychic when she sought her services to know about the past experiences of a cat she had picked up.
According to Su, the communicator charged 25 yuan ($3.53) for each question, but the answers provided seemed "perfunctory" and filled with "nonsense."
Feeling unsatisfied, Su attempted to ask more questions, but instead of getting answers, the communicator tried to sell her additional services to gain more money.
In the psychic's social media platform, it was claimed that she could even tarot readings, fortune-telling, rituals chase away evil spirits and more, she added.