GRE Argument Essay 141

The following appeared in the health section of Glenntown’s local newspaper.

“Several national medical studies suggest that older people who have pets tend to enjoy better health than those who do not have pets: those who have pets have lower rates of high blood pressure and arthritis. It seems clear that having to care for an animal promotes good health for the older person. Therefore, Glenntown should establish a program to give a small pet such as a dog or cat to all of its citizens who are over the age of 65. This will help to insure that our senior citizens enjoy good health and have fewer medical bills.”

The given argument arrives at the conclusion that a program should be established in Glenntown wherein all citizens above the age of 65 should be given a small pet. The arguer claims that such a program would lead to good health for all the senior citizens of Glenntown and they will have lesser medical bills. The argument is supported by the results of several national medical studies that have indicated that older people who keep pets report lower rates of high blood pressure and arthritis. However, the results of the national medical studies are questionable as they fail to sound convincing enough. Therefore, a close study of the argument reveals several flaws that render the argument unconvincing.

It is true to an extent that keeping pets may indeed be beneficial for health as a pet would demand physical movement which would eventually promote good health. However, physical exercise is not the only pre-requisite for good health. Elderly citizens may have to undergo dietary restrictions like avoiding junk food with high fat content and increasing their intake of nutritious meals in order to keep themselves healthy. Moreover, there are various other aspects of health other than blood pressure and arthritis that have to be considered before one can be termed as a healthy person. For instance, an elderly citizen needs to have his cholesterol and blood sugar levels under control if he has to maintain his good health. Therefore, assuming that lower rates of high blood pressure and arthritis means that the older people are healthy is highly unconvincing. The arguer needs to present other health related data of the older people who keep pets in order to prove that they are indeed healthy.

A major lacuna in the argument is that it does not provide the statistics related to the age of the people who were a part of the national medical studies. Unless it is specifically mentioned that the older people being referred to in the results are more than 65 years of age, the recommendation being made by the arguer is not justified. This is because the recommendation has been specifically made for the citizens who are more than 65 years of age. Moreover, there is no mention of the types of pets that were kept by the healthy people who were a part of the national medical studies. It is likely that those people kept pets other than cats and dogs.

Additionally, the argument does not specifically state the proportion of people from Glenntown who had participated in the medical studies. As the medical studies have been carried out across the nation, it is necessary to know the number of people above 65 years of age from Glenntown who participated in the survey. Unless these statistics are available, it would be unfair to assume that the elder people of Glennville would show similar results as those indicated by the national medical studies if they are provided with pets. Therefore, it can be seen that the argument lacks crucial evidence that can support the recommendation made.

The arguer completely ignores the fact that people may get unduly stressed with pets in the house. There may be a requirement of training the pet so that it does not litter in the house and does not bring diseases into the home. There may be people who have never kept pets in their lives and suddenly entrusting them with pets at this old age may aggravate their health further due to undue stress. Moreover, the arguer fails to provide sufficient evidence that can establish a direct link between reduction of medical bills and good health. It is likely that maintaining one’s health by going for regular checkups, treatments and having vitamin supplements may actually raise the medical bills.

In conclusion, the argument is flawed in several respects. It could have been strengthened by providing more details of the medical studies. These details should have proved that the overall health of the elderly people of Glenntown would be benefited by keeping pets as blood pressure and arthritis are not the only criteria for determining the state of one’s health.