2 Comments

On Pet “Ownership”

As an abolitionist vegan, I hope for a world where no animals are enslaved and kept as “pets”.  It is degrading, to them and to us.  Here is a link to a beautifully expressed essay on animals we forcibly keep as “companions”.  Please read it and consider what it’s saying.

 

http://elated.co.za/do-you-love-your-pets-unconditionally/

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2 comments on “On Pet “Ownership”

  1. This is an interesting topic! I have a dog and have had him since before going vegan. I’ve considered the perspective that pet ownership is not really appropriate, and I can relate with the argument about this. One thing keeps coming back to my mind, however. That is that when people keep pets, they typically don’t eat those animals. We, at least in many places, eat pigs, cows and chickens and have dogs and cats as pets. So, I guess what I’m saying is that by keeping pets, humans get to know animals well and are less inclined to eat them (at least some of them). I’m not saying that I advocate having pets because of this. I’m just wondering if humans never interacted intimately with any animals if they would be more inclined to take advantage of them. Like I said, I’m just starting to think about pet ownership and how I feel about it and I’m just sharing random thoughts. Celeste 🙂

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts–much appreciated! 🙂
    I think that is a commonly used defense for keeping animals as pets. We do learn, we do start to see them as more like us, and we even start to want legislation to protect them. However, we also fetishize them and value them above other animals. And because we fetishize them, we breed them and that causes all sorts of problems, from too many unwanted animals to problems in breeds (hip dysplasia, for example). Worst of all, people start saying things like “I can’t imagine my life without my pets” or “people disappoint me but my pets never do” or “my pets love me unconditionally, whereas people don’t”. In short, we ask things of pets that it is not up to them to provide. It’s not up to them to provide love unconditionally. And when you think about it, they have no choice. If they did not do that, they’d be out on the street or killed (“put to sleep”).
    As I said, we control every single aspect of their lives. And they are “ours”, our property to do with as we please. For every loving “pet owner”, there are lots more who neglect or outright abuse their pets.
    Pets occupy a strange space in our world. They are not wild and free, like their undomesticated brothers and sisters. But they aren’t human and don’t fit into our world, either. We de-bark, de-claw, spay/neuter them, take away their offspring to sell, try to smash down every single natural behaviour they have because they are annoying or inconvenient. When a dog bites someone, a perfectly natural response from a dog to a threat of any kind, the dog inevitably is killed. People don’t even understand dogs, yet they live with them and leave them with their kids, but get angry when dogs do dog things when provoked.
    I agree with you that we benefit from them in the sense that we learn from them and can learn to value non-humans. But that isn’t generally what happens. What happens is that we value cats, dogs, or whatever other SPECIFIC species we happen to “own”. It generally does not lead to an overall “love” for animals. And what does it say about us that we enslave other species so that we can…..what? Learn from them? We use that as an excuse to do a lot of horrible things to non-humans. Our curiousity and desire to learn should never come at their expense.
    I live with five rescued animals–three dogs and two cats–and my home will always be open to those refugees. But I want all breeding to stop now. I know that won’t happen, but I’m trying to advocate for it, and you would not believe how angry people get at the mere suggestion that they should not keep non-humans as pets. They don’t even want to remotely contemplate a life without their slaves. They feel they have a right to deny non-humans freedom and agency so they can “own” them.
    We may not eat the animals we keep as pets, but we degrade them and use them in a variety of other ways, and it reinforces our speciesist attitudes. Whatever good we get out of owning them, they derive none, and the good is far outweighed by the bad.

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