Pets: Is it ethical to keep them?
A short, interesting read. The views expressed cannot be completely dismissed, “companion animals are almost completely controlled by humans.” In many respects is true, but has only gained ground in the last couple of years. We have ‘owned’ and housed companion animals for decades without thinking of them as possessions. Valid arguments are also made about the “For centuries, companion animal’s bodies (particularly dogs, horses and rabbits) have been shaped to suit human fashions and fancies.”
The most troubling aspects of companion animal care by the new ‘breed’ of pet ownership is attributing human qualities to animals. They skew the lines of recognising they are a different species. The greatest threat to companion animals, carapace, canine, feline … is that they remain companions as long as they remain convenient. If your lifestyle cannot accommodate an animal, do not bring one into your home. Do not surrender, send away or give away (abandon) an animal that has been in your care. If you’ve outgrown their entertainment value and life for you has become busy, you are the problem, not the animal. This is the real danger facing companion animals.
With the new trend of pet parenting, we’ve anthropormorsized our pets, to the point where they’re being dressed up as human babies. This article does pose some relevant questions. Pets have become symbols and extension of an image people wish to project. The dichotomy however is astounding, caring pet parent one week, looking for a boarding kennel the next because the holidays have arrived. If these animals have taken the place of children, or are practice children, why kennel them? take them along.
This spills over into another trend, pet friendly vacations and properties. It may shortly be necessary for hotels, vacation rentals or home stays to be pet friendly. Especially since “my kids” and “my dogs” are now interchangeable terms! We’ve crossed a line, the terms kids and dogs cannot be interchangeable. It cannot be stated and stated enough that this new generation of pet parents are blurring the lines of species. They are expecting human traits from canine and feline pets. Animal breeding to modify physical traits have long been a source of concern for pet owners and veterinarians. They have warned owners of illness and physical difficulties related to certain breeds like short nosed Pugs.
The article also wants you as a pet owner to think about the reason your pet ‘loves’ you to distraction.
Is it because you are their only source of survival? It’s not a pleasant thought, but it is a reality we must face. Maybe asking people who think of cats and dogs as people this is too much information and reality all at once. As human beings we’ve domesticated animals and made them dependant on us for survival. There is no denying that with the dependance a unique bond has formed between humans and certain species. But, it is vital to remember the word Species.
In Oliver’s personal opinion there is no greater threat to our companion animals than the fleeting nature of human commitment. Animals ‘rescued’ on a Friday, are ‘surrendered’ on Monday. Let’s get honest about actions and excuses some of our favourites, surrender= abandon or developed ‘allergies’= don’t want the hassle.
The danger of these fleeting commitments? Your kids (yes the human ones) learn by seeing. The next time you rationalise to your kids why you gave away an animal in your home, be mindful- they’ll grow up and give you away. We’re raising a generation of Instagram followers. They believe in the power of a heart icon or a thumbs up on a screen as action taken, for human beings as well as animals. Instead, lets get them out on the streets and into the shelters to make a difference in the real rather than the virtual world. Teach them that it is not natural to dress up cats and dogs in dresses and jeans. It is not ethical to breed animals to look a certain way for our pleasure and amusement.
The only way to move forward and address the ethics of the situation is through education. Educate the next generation and eliminate the need to have such discussions, may be not eliminate, but lessen. Be mindful of the pets you bring into your home, if it is not forever, do not bring them home.
On a personal note,
My dog lived to the age of 17. His emotional state meant he could not live without a member of the family present. Family vacations were local, or in shifts. I wouldn’t trade one day of those 17 years for a “family holiday”
We’ve bred this massive community of companion animals and have an obligation to care for them. We owe them the best care available and continue the discussion on whether we should continue to play god.