Is it ethical to keep a pet?

Talk about Animal Rights. How to protect non-human animals from being used or regarded as property by humans? Discuss ethical aspects of animal liberation activism.
BigBecka
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Is it ethical to keep a pet?

Postby BigBecka » Feb 21, 2007 7:28 pm

I got thinking about the whole treating animals as property thing, and the comparisons that are often made on this website to slavery.

Some people used to (some still do!) treat their slaves very well, and even had relationships with them. But it is commonly accepted that slavery is wrong.

So, is owning an animal wrong?

My thoughts: I grew up in a family that kept pets, and I think it is useful for a child to have a pet, so that they learn responsibility, compassion, and ultimately they will learn to cope with death. And I really miss having an animal in the house :cry: BUT at the same time I now feel a little uneasy with the concept - I mean, do animals want to live with us? We always had rescue pets, who seemed quite happy. I'm confused! :confused2:

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Postby AndyBa » Feb 24, 2007 1:42 am

I think it's ok to have pets.. but I personally don't want to have one.. too much responsibility.. and one have to give up his freedom for his pet.
Can't travel freely etc
The whole point of vegan ethics is to lessen the suffering of animals, so if you treat your pet with respect but not as a mere property then it's ok to have an animal friend.

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Re: Is it ethical to keep a pet?

Postby Sergio » Feb 24, 2007 2:40 am

BigBecka wrote:I got thinking about the whole treating animals as property thing, and the comparisons that are often made on this website to slavery.
[skip]

Do you think adapting homeless animals is slavery? Is there other solution to saving animals?

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Postby BigBecka » Feb 24, 2007 10:33 pm

Do you think adapting homeless animals is slavery?
The animal would probably be killed if you didn't take it home. My family always "adopted" animals from rescue shelters, and they seemed happy enough - they certainly became very distressed if they perceived you to be trying to abandon them (e.g. getting into a car, or putting them in boarding kennels). And you wouldn't be directly supporting animal breeders/farmers. (I have heard some awful stories about farms that breed pedigree cats and dogs :cry: Or poachers that steal bird and lizard eggs to sell as exotic pets?)

A cat will just leave if it doesn't like you :wink: I don't know about dogs - it is more difficult for them to escape, and I think they instinctively want to be in a pack anyway? Caged animals and fish don't have a choice.

I personally don't want to have one.. ...Can't travel freely etc
This is true - I can't have a cat or dog because I live in a small rented shared house, and I'm not always in it! :cry: that's how I got thinking about buying a small pet like a fish or lizard.

Is there other solution to saving animals?
It's a tough one :( They shouldn't need saving! :x But if mankind has domesticated certain animals, or destroyed natural habitats, I suppose we also have an obligation to care for animals? I'm not sure how this is best done - maybe it depends on the animal.

A thought: Maybe in a vegan future, people will keep pet cows and pigs, in the same way that some people continue to keep horses nowadays? :D

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Postby GreenBro » Feb 26, 2007 3:49 pm

To have pets i think i`ts normal ! as was sad i`ts even good for devoloping responsability ... other times they can "serve" as our best soul frieds :) offcourse are diferent peoples with diferent idias about animals ... some of them use them for diferent jobs ... and i think that tipe of "friendship" must be regulated with some norms.
i had and i gwess in my home allways will be someone :) i`m dependent of some unhuman noise :D
cheers!

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Postby Red Jester » May 17, 2007 5:37 am

If anybody has ever fed a stray cat you will definitely find that animals befriend humans.

The former tenants of the house I live in left behind their cat. Of course I had to keep feeding it.

When my visitors see the cat they ask, "Is that your cat." and I say, "It's more like. . . . I'm it's human."




Hmnn. . . . what you're not seeing now are the paragraphs I just erased. The more I think about a moral guideline to having or owning pets the less it makes sense.

Arrggghhh. .. well damnit! It seems wrong now but there's no way I'm giving up my 3 cats.

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Postby BigBecka » May 19, 2007 3:32 pm

When my visitors see the cat they ask, "Is that your cat." and I say, "It's more like. . . . I'm it's human."
Yes, I know that feeling well! My Dad's cat expects to fed, and scowls at us if we don't pay enough attention :o

i had and i gwess in my home allways will be someone i`m dependent of some unhuman noise
:lol: I know that feeling too :D After my dog died, I used to keep "hearing" barking when I was upstairs or in the bath... very creepy...

Anyway, I am told I cannot have a pet until I clean the house :evil: cheeky sods...

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Re: Is it ethical to keep a pet?

Postby gonard » Apr 14, 2010 12:44 pm

For me, having or owning pets will take a responsibility and as much as possible treat them properly.

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Re: Is it ethical to keep a pet?

Postby VeganxJackie » May 3, 2010 9:42 am

I find nothing wrong with keeping a pet as long as you treat them with the same respect as you would any other family member. I have a dog and I treat her just like I would if I had a child. She is not viewed as property to me or anything like that.

I found my dog on the side of the road. Someone had dumped her after beating and starving her first. I took her in and gave her a happy and healthy home.

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Re: Is it ethical to keep a pet?

Postby smithsz » May 11, 2010 9:06 am

Sergio wrote:
BigBecka wrote:I got thinking about the whole treating animals as property thing, and the comparisons that are often made on this website to slavery.
[skip]

Do you think adapting homeless animals is slavery? Is there other solution to saving animals?


IF you think you adapting animals especially homeless be sure that the animals will not harmless just to be sure what are you doing ok...;)

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Re: Is it ethical to keep a pet?

Postby Kelly » May 16, 2010 6:51 am

All of my babies have either been given to me or adopted. I have taken many animals under the guise of I can't keep my baby anymore, please will you take her or him. I once, with the help of my ex, stole a cat that was being abused terribly. Took her 4 years to let anyone touch her or hold her when we finally found a way to get her. There are a lot of domesticated animals that would suffer if we didn't open our hearts and homes to them. Is it wrong? No. Although I do feel it is wrong when a person/family takes in a wild animal and domesticates it. So many beautiful creatures get put down because we think they should be able to live with us. I will keep my parrot (rescued), my love bird (given up because its owner had died and willed it to a women who didn't want it) and my cat (given to me as a kitten from an unwanted litter). I will love, feed and care for them til they leave me, and when they do I will cry like I always do. These pets aren't just animals to me any more, they are a part of family. :)

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Re: Is it ethical to keep a pet?

Postby chenli » May 16, 2010 10:45 am

Technically it's 'wrong' to 'own' a life. But unfortunately we're stuck in a situation where certain animals cannot survive in the wild on their own due to domestication and there's a ridiculous overpopulation problem due to human greed. In a perfect world, 'pets' would not exist but the world isn't perfect.

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Re: Is it ethical to keep a pet?

Postby dlwilson007 » Jun 8, 2010 1:51 pm

I think the problem is domestication. Dogs are generally so domesticated at this point, to not take care of them means they would die in the wild...although we all know stray dogs end up in a kennel and usually end up being killed if not adopted.

What I believe is unethical is buying animals from a breeder or a "pet" shop. There are too many animals in kill shelters who need homes for it to even come close to making sense to buy from someone who is profiting off the sale of animals. Plus, there are too many horror stories about animals that are raised for sale...PETA just recently did a bust on a supplier and it was horrible how they were treating the animals.

I believe there are two ethical and good choices. One is not to have a pet (or companion animal) if you feel like you can't take on the responsibility. The second is to rescue one and give them a wonderful, loving home.

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Re: Is it ethical to keep a pet?

Postby jordi » Jun 17, 2010 3:45 pm

I still struggle with that one. I "rescued" a mutt that I love from the humane society. I realize he's better off now, but I often think that breeding pets (even if not in puppy mills) should not be done.

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Re: Is it ethical to keep a pet?

Postby muchojem » Jul 21, 2010 6:00 am

yes, i think some animals want to live with us if we are very responsible of taking care of them.
all we have to do is to treat them like us( people )because they also have heart.. right?
:D :D :D

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Re: Is it ethical to keep a pet?

Postby MuskokaVegetarian » Jul 28, 2010 3:48 pm

My opinion is that owning a "pet" that is actually considered a pet...like dog or a cat is fine, but if you own a pet snake or a monkey, things that should live in the wild life.....you should not keep it as a pet

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Re: Is it ethical to keep a pet?

Postby meign » Sep 17, 2010 1:09 am

MuskokaVegetarian wrote:My opinion is that owning a "pet" that is actually considered a pet...like dog or a cat is fine, but if you own a pet snake or a monkey, things that should live in the wild life.....you should not keep it as a pet


I agree with you... Animals have their own environment. You can keep a dog or a cat but keeping them the whole day inside the house will not be good for them. How are they going to express their natural behavior if they will just stay at our houses? Birds can also be a good pet but not inside a small cage. We can share our love to them, they can be our companion but never ever deprive their rights to have a natural environment.

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Re: Is it ethical to keep a pet?

Postby Sixfingered » Sep 17, 2010 3:17 pm

I believe it is ethical to have an animal companion as long as you can meet a few obligations. First it should be a rescue animal from a shelter. Buying an animal from a breeder or pet store supports the puppy mill industry. Next you have to have the means to take care of it. You should not leave it alone for long periods of time. If you travel a lot, it is probably not the best choice for you. But as long as it is a shelter animal and you have the means to take care of it I think it is very ethical as most cats and dogs have become so domesticated that they are unable to live a healthy fulfilling life out in the wild. Oh and you need to spay or neuter them, but I think most if not all shelters make you do that now if you adopt.

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Re: Is it ethical to keep a pet?

Postby Redsunflower » Dec 1, 2010 8:30 pm

The only animal companion I believe it is ethical to have is a cat. My reason for this is that...I have cat! And I love him more than most of the humans in my life. He is free to come and go as he pleases, he could choose to leave me if he preferred some other way of living, but he has chosen me for7 years. He sleeps on my bed every night and I've had a longer relationship with him than my partner. I couldn't keep an animal contained in my home and because cats are more free I think it's ok. I hope. :oops:

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Re: Is it ethical to keep a pet?

Postby meign » Dec 1, 2010 11:27 pm

that's so nice of you redsunflower... I think you are right sixfingered, the best way to keep a pet is to adopt them or get them from shelter...

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Re: Is it ethical to keep a pet?

Postby Redsunflower » Dec 2, 2010 2:21 pm

Thanks meign. :- ) I do believe that humans and animals are capable of developing great relationships. As long as it's by choice on both sides.

I find it really upsetting to see animals in cages, whether or not they are considered 'pets' or not. Hamsters, chickens, any creature at all. Sometimes I feel sad for the cows living in the field close to me cos they can't have natural lives where they live in family groups. The bellowing that goes on when their babies are taken away haunts me. I guess ideally all animals would be left to their own devices, roaming free and choosing what they do.

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Re: Is it ethical to keep a pet?

Postby ANne » Jul 21, 2011 10:38 pm

I believe so if domesticated. It would be very sincere to adopt a dog from the pound especially. THats you saving lives :wink: pets that come from pets stores is inacceptable though.

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Re: Is it ethical to keep a pet?

Postby ursprung » Apr 5, 2012 1:08 am

I am completely opposed to animals being caged in any space. I have seen the repercussions this has on the city spaces from animal poop, animals parked outside restaurants, the culture of dog walkers for people who want to "own" pets but have no responsibility in their needs, the psychological distress of animals in kennels, cars and airplanes as their owners selfishly tote them about as if a Louis Vuitton bag, and the psychological use and abuse of animals. Many people get pets because it is an thoughtless reflex of their needs but never the animals' needs. It is also a relatively recent social phenomenon which, like slavery, has a similar set of logic behind such actions: they need us to survive, they wouldn't be able to survive on their own to we have a moral responsibility to take care of them. Again, all in the terms we frame and exercise, never for the animal to be set free.

Animal owners retort with the typical defenses such as: my dog loves being on a leash, riding in the car, canned food, etc. But the real problem is that the comparative life these animals have is non-existent--they exist for generations in people spare rooms, cellars, or the entire house only to be allowed freedom from time to time. Nobody would accept being kept locked up in a house or a flat all day long to be allowed out for exercises and bodily functions twice a day. Why on earth would anyone inflict this on an animal? Furthermore, the idea that animals "want companionship" is a cultural narcissism that really needs to be examined. Animals want to eat and move around freely but our culture of pet fetishism leaves generations of animals with no choice whatsoever.

The real ethical dimensions of animal ownership are the actual ethics of owning any life and having control over its bodily functions, physical movements and psychological possibilities making these vital needs dependent upon your mood, your job, your being awake or not, and your being at home. What infuriates me most is when people maintain that their pets keep them from depression. Great paradigm: you lock up an animal so you can feel psychologically better. Get a good therapist and practice letting go. I would even go as far as to say that people that utilise animals as a surrogate to therapy and working out their issues are predatory upon animals. Animals have needs just like any creature--dogs, cats, birds, hamsters also want to move freely, not shit on pieces of paper or in a box, have psychological connections to those whom they choose to include other species or even humans. They also have the right not to and pet ownership precludes all choices for animals to move, think and feel. They are conditioned to loving one person (as if this were really love) in a desperate act of dependency upon their meals and twenty minutes outside a day (if they are lucky).

I am not saying to let animals die out by any means, but we should simply not allow anyone to own animals at all. They should be free in the country to live, no hunting, etc. In the city, well it is a crazy hypocrisy that we want to have a creature which by its very nature is an animal and most anthropomorphise this creature feeding it according to OUR schedules of eating, walking it according to OUR waking schedules, etc. This is completely unfair to creatures which, although different from humans, have every bit as much right to the freedom of movement and being in the wild where they are happiest.

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Re: Is it ethical to keep a pet?

Postby snog » Apr 19, 2012 12:18 pm

Vets contend that cats are better off indoors. I keep my big girl, ally, inside. :cat: They're safe from disease, fights, unleashed dogs, cars, etc.

I don't feel people should own a wild animal. It troubles me when people own snakes, for example. Especially the manner in which they feed them. In the wild, of course, snakes catch and eat live prey. However, I find it chilling & sad, too, that people buy baby mice or rats to feed their snakes.

About dogs: seems I'd read that eons ago, that wild dogs followed roving bands of people, and eventually befreinded them. Perhaps there was a symbiotic relationship involved.

Anyhoo, since humans have domesticated animals, they then have a duty to care for them in a loving, humane manner. And to adopt only rescue animals. I don't believe in breeding, animal mills, or pet shops.

Just want to add that while many people own pets for selfish reasons, especially when they buy from breeders, many of we humans want to help an animal. And to give and accept love in any relationship is a desirable thing. Too, I like the
idea of interacting with any animal, wild and domesticated, if it's the animal's choice/is mutual. As well, owning an animal to use it to work for us has also troubled me;I don't think we need animals to work for us. And fighting animals is horribly cruel and selfish indeed. I'd once told a friend that I thought cock fighting was ethically wrong. She told me that it's often part of a person's culture. Bah! That's a piss poor excuse.

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Re: Is it ethical to keep a pet?

Postby RaniKennedy » Apr 26, 2012 10:19 pm

Adding to this a few days late but.....

I have three cats. I ended a relationship with someone who wasn't thrilled with animals period if they weren't on a plate, so once I dumped him, it opened my life back to have a pet. Since I live in a small apartment with a very easy-going landlord, a cat was perfect. So off to the shelter where on her last day to be saved (it's a kill shelter) I find this gorgeous seal point Siamese with huge China blue eyes. She was so quiet and so "zen" and so 30 pounds.... Yet nobody wanted her despite how beautiful she was. I adopted her and she was instantly my best friend. But I work a lot of hours and she hated being alone. I'd walk through the door and she'd literally throw herself into my arms claws first, desperate for attention. So back to the shelter. Again, in the very same cage I'd found Kaballah in, there was an adorable tabby point Siamese with sky blue eyes. Also ready to be adopted or destroyed the next day. I called him Kabuki because of his little painted face. The moment I walked through the door with him in a carrier, Kaballah gave me the most disgusted look. I opened the carrier, Kabuki rushed out, Kaballah took one look at him, knocked him to the floor and started giving him a bath. They were best friends from that moment forward.

Five months ago, for reason's I can't explain I feel the need to go to the shelter after work. They were removing kittens from the cages for euthanasia and there was this tiny, tiny barely weaned little grey tabby. She was terrified of everything and everyone. But when no one was looking she played with a tiny bandanna they tied over her identification collar and she'd managed to wiggle out of. Watching her was o adorable, yep, one more comes home. But this one was completely terrified and ran under the bed and wouldn't come out. The two big bullies on the other hand hated her. I had to keep her locked up by herself in the bedroom when I wasn't home to make sure they didn't harm her. Two days later Kieko crept out from under the bed and into my lap with a purr bigger than she was. Now, five months later, she's Queen of the household and rules it with an iron fist, I mean, paw.

I get the ethics of not wanting to impose civilization and human society on what should be free animals. In a perfect world they would be just that - free. But the world isn't perfect and free anymore. All three of these amazing furry family members would be dead if they weren't living with me. So I have one thing to say about people who stand on ethics and would rather let animals die in shelter. What the heck is wrong with you? Get your butt to a shelter and save a life.

'Rani

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Re: Is it ethical to keep a pet?

Postby HippieSoil » Jun 20, 2012 11:00 pm

Of course it's fine to have a pet... If you get it from a shelter. Anyone who says it's wrong to have a pet is pretty much saying it's ok to kill animals. Even no kill shelters at some point have to turn down animals that will go to kill shelters. I have a cat that I love to death! I wasn't actually going to get a cat but on a visit to a shelter I found her... She was beautiful and extremely smart. I was told that because she was 3 nobody wanted to adopt her (because people want kittens). Well she had been there for 2 weeks and wouldn't really eat. Their option was to put her to sleep the next day. I took her home the very next day and have had her for 12 years now! So yes keeping a pet from a shelter is a great thing to do!

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Re: Is it ethical to keep a pet?

Postby DH666 » Jun 22, 2012 1:24 am

I thought about this a lot and one point I didn't see in all of the posts is the fact that dogs and cats eat meat. I'm wondering about the fact that other animals are killed to feed our pets. 2 out of 3 of my cats came from a shelter but we did get one from a pet shop because we get our pets based on personality, not looks. I thought I would throw this out to see what others thought about this aspect of having pets.

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Re: Is it ethical to keep a pet?

Postby lynch009 » Jul 3, 2012 11:40 am

BigBecka wrote:I got thinking about the whole treating animals as property thing, and the comparisons that are often made on this website to slavery.

Some people used to (some still do!) treat their slaves very well, and even had relationships with them. But it is commonly accepted that slavery is wrong.

So, is owning an animal wrong?

My thoughts: I grew up in a family that kept pets, and I think it is useful for a child to have a pet, so that they learn responsibility, compassion, and ultimately they will learn to cope with death. And I really miss having an animal in the house :cry: BUT at the same time I now feel a little uneasy with the concept - I mean, do animals want to live with us? We always had rescue pets, who seemed quite happy. I'm confused! :confused2:


Having a pet or animal with you is not really bad and I think this is not a slavery as long as you don't hurt them. For me I just have them because they don't have home and if I don't have them other people will hurt them and maybe kill them or bad they will torture them. Atleast when they are with me they are free and they are not harm. May be they can't do anything and not free as I am but I know my friends(the animals I have) are not mad at me. And for sure they are also happy to have me. I bring them anywhere I go. And if its ok I let them play. I bring them in the park. They are my friend rather than a pet.

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Re: Is it ethical to keep a pet?

Postby TripleM » Jul 18, 2012 10:45 am

i think there is nothing wrong with sharing your home with an animal, i mean, i took a kitten from the streets three years ago and bring her to my home, if i wold leave her on the street to die, now THAT would be unethical to me.

But i think it is very unethical to actively obtain a "pet" like buying a pet in a store. The word "pet" alone is very denigrating to a living being, it is as if it's only purpose of life is to be "cute" towards it's owner.

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Re: Is it ethical to keep a pet?

Postby JessB » Jul 21, 2012 2:49 pm

With todays overpopulation of dogs and cats, I feel like it is the best option to adopt them so they are not put to death. Thousands and thousands of homeless pets are killed each year because there are not enough homes.Some of them are puppies and kittens brought into this world just to die in a shelter without ever experiencing life..It is such a waste. I think as long as you can provide a safe, healthy and happy home and SPAY/NEUTER, then please do so.

There are some breeds of animal that man has selfishly created. These breeds could not survive in the wild without humans. They are Bulldogs, pugs, all the smooshed in faced dogs and cats were not products of natural selection. The truth is these pets have trouble breathing, exercising and some cannot even breed on their own. They must have C-sections! This is not what nature intended. Please do not buy these breeds!

With that said, You may need to do some research on the pet you are bringing home. If you live in a city or small apartment, Don't get a dog that was bred to run and chase things (i.e. Hounds, huskies, sighthounds, Shepherd/collie breeds, etc.) Most working and sporting breeds are probably not a good match. It just isnt fair to them if you cannot offer them the fulfillment that they require.

PLEASE DO NOT BUY A PUPPY OR KITTEN FROM ANYWHERE. There are just too many that will die in the shelters if you do. Mutts and strays are usually a good choice. Products of natural selection and much in need of homes!!!

The only pets I feel like most people cannot accomadate are birds and fish. Having these animals does not seem right to me. Birds are supposed to fly... thats why they have wings. Clipping the wings so they cannot do so seems cruel and selfish to me. If you love something, let it go! Think of how much space a bird has in nature to fly with their flock and even migrate. Keeping them in a cage is like jail. They sit there all day by themselves, lonely and bored, sometimes going insane and pulling their feathers out :(
Fish are made to swim, not to float in a bowl. Schools of fish are like families that enteract and play together. It is beatiful to watch them in their natural habitat. Taking that away from them to sit on our shelves is just wrong. We give them only enough to survive on (if that) but not enough to thrive on. We cannot duplicate mother nature no matter how many gallons our tanks are. Its just not the same.

:munky2: :albino: :cat: :grommit: :duckie: :snorting: :fish:

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Re: Is it ethical to keep a pet?

Postby halal » Aug 10, 2012 7:34 pm

Many animals love being indoors, especially in seasonal parts of the planet. The real problem is when indoor pets want to go outside and you don't let them. I also have a big problem with any caged animals.
Owning something...anything caged seems disgusting to me.
Is it a decoration or a living animal? Does it want to live indoors or is it forced to entertain you?
These are the essential questions I would ask before ever considering owning a pet.

My daughter wants to be a veterinarian when she is older. She is only 7 but she values the importance of an animal having its freedom and open space to run and grow. Helping sick/injured animals and getting the opportunity to care for them indoors is one perk of being an animal doctor. More power to her. I hope she sticks to her guns.

Outdoor pets that come and go= no problem.
Caring for an animal that would die outside of captivity= no problem
Indoor animals that do not require a cage or restraint= no problem

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Re: Is it ethical to keep a pet?

Postby wude » Sep 7, 2012 3:21 pm

:salute:
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Re: Is it ethical to keep a pet?

Postby mohawkdog » Sep 16, 2012 6:04 am

This is one of the strongest, most acute arguments against animal ownership I have come accross. I personally have a dog but I found your rationale against it quite thought provoking.

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Re: Is it ethical to keep a pet?

Postby wude » Sep 26, 2012 3:38 pm

:blob8:
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Re: Is it ethical to keep a pet?

Postby wude » Sep 27, 2012 2:10 pm

:angry8:
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Re: Is it ethical to keep a pet?

Postby wude » Sep 27, 2012 2:14 pm

:book:
Last edited by wude on Feb 20, 2013 4:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

snog
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Re: Is it ethical to keep a pet?

Postby snog » Oct 7, 2012 12:54 pm

[quote][I get the ethics of not wanting to impose civilization and human society on what should be free animals. In a perfect world they would be just that - free. But the world isn't perfect and free anymore. All three of these amazing furry family members would be dead if they weren't living with me. So I have one thing to say about people who stand on ethics and would rather let animals die in shelter. What the heck is wrong with you? Get your butt to a shelter and save a life. /quote]


Well said!

The stories of people who have adopted shelter pets are sooo touching. Good for you! I adopted my big tortoiseshell, Ally, from a shelter. She was 4 at time time; she is 8 now. She had been there a month. Lol, I had to be given a ride home because I wouldn't have been able to carry her and the large carrier the shelter lent me. Oh, she is a big girl: weighs in at 14 lbs. :cat:

As for people seeming to want to adopt kittens, I much prefer a seasoned adult cat. Kittens are too wild for me!

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Re: Is it ethical to keep a pet?

Postby vegan71 » Jul 14, 2014 3:37 pm

I prefer "companion animal" to "pet" which infers ownership of a lesser being.

Would you consider living with a black person slavery? Of course not. So it clearly depends on how you think about and how you treat the non-humans in your household.

I lived with a wonderful canine from 1972 to 1986. He was not only my best friend, he was one of my most important teachers.


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