Here's an interesting article from Zenit (click on Pampered Pets, Hungry Kids under Weekly News Analysis). Seems that people are spending lavishly on pets these days, at the same time that they're having fewer kids. In England, for example, an estimated 70% of pet owners bought their pets Christmas gifts. In Japan, you can put your dog up at a luxury hotel for $170 per night. Also, Japan has 19 million pets; more pets than children under the age of 15. Could the developed, affluent nations be tiring of rearing kids, preferring to take care of pets, because they're much less trouble?