Earth is dying. We mis-managed it and brought the whole ecosystem to the edge of total collapse.
About 50 years ago, we decided to move humankind to another planet, and now we are almost ready. A big, multi-generation ship is in orbit around Earth. It will hold a billion lucky people.
The rest of humanity will be left back on Earth to their fate.
This ship will reach an Earth-like planet in about 1000 years. Once there, genetic engineers will breed domestic animals in artificial wombs.
Now, our team of psychologists and engineers are dealing with this question: What about having some pets on board?
It makes total sense to keep some pets on board, to keep people generally happy before we get there. But we have several constraints:
- The animal should consume as few resources and produce as little ... ahem ... waste as possible
- It should be generally likeable, well received by kids. But also:
- Should be religiously neutral
Muslims have a saying: "unholy dog" and some Christians are against cats, because black cat... you know it. Hindu people hold cows sacred.
This is why we have to engineer a completely new animal to accompany us on the journey.
We have advanced DNA-replicators and we can manipulate DNA as we like. While playing with human DNA is rejected and outlawed by all, we still can put our imagination to work with animals.
So, how should such an animal look? (How big? What color?) And why?
P.S.: The ship itself maintains 0.95 G by rotating itself, so you can assume Earth-like conditions there. Also, the population is composed of "generally rich" people of all races and all religions.