Should We Keep Pets?

Do you remember your first dog or cat? Perhaps even your first boa constrictor? Whatever your preference, pets can play a huge role in our lives, even becoming full-fledged family members. But is domestication really in an animal’s best interest? Does pet ownership create a loving bond between human and animal, or does it only serve our own interests?

Pets deserve love and affection. Some people do not deserve pets but unfortunately if we didn't keep pets then we would have dogs and cats running around in the streets. We need to provide food and shelter for animals who need us. In return, we have their companionship, love, and affection.

Welcome to our Louis Vuitton Outlet. We all know that Louis Vuitton Outlet Online are very famous all over the world, for Louis Vuitton Factory fashionable design, beautiful appearance, and suitable for all ages of man and women, ladies and gentlemen. Now Louis Vuitton Sale has become the representative of wealth and taste, we can find any where that Louis Vuiton bags were take by famous stars, successful business men, or fashionable girls. Louis Vuiton bags will always in the trend and never out of fashion. And we are very dedicated to the provision of fashion Louis Vuitton bags which are all in highest quality and the most competitive of prices.

I certainly agree that animals should not be exploited for human consumption. I suppose I am more ambivalent about the companion animal issue though. I have read the expert debate as well as some of the threads here but I then I think of a world without dogs and that would not be a world I wish to live in. I am a misanthrope and when I read that "people need people" and without dogs, people would have to rely more on one another, this is most unappealing to me. Frankly, without my dog, I would likely have committed suicide or attempted to commit suicide years ago. I do not trust people. I have been treated miserably by people and never by dogs. So if these ideas were implemented and dogs (or other companion animals) were no longer bred and then the existing population of companion animals died out, this is when I would likely die out with them. Without companion animals, I find the thought of living to be quite dismal indeed. And I am one person so who cares if I took my own life after being deprived of this companionship, but what of other misanthropes? Others here have suggested increased human interaction should serve as a substitute for interaction with companion animals. What if you generally dislike humans? What is the misanthrope to think and to do? What if your companion animal is the only person that compels you to live?

Only if humans are capable of respecting animals and understanding
their needs fully. Love and freedom for the animal.Not forcing animals
to do what you want, rather understanding fully what they want.
Animals are quite capable of working in harmony with humans once animals see that humans are doing, or trying to do the right thing.
Never underestimate the intelligence of animals.

We had barn cats when I was growing up in Maine. They lived outside and fed on moles and birds . I watched almost every one of them being born and they were friendly to me. They reproduced. They were killed by cars . They were eaten by foxes. In many ways, they accepted me before my peers did.

Then I didn't have cats for awhile.

Living a transient life as a theatre artist, I found Bebe living under the stage at an outdoor theatre festival when she was only four weeks old. She was tiny and feral and had yellow eyes. I wasn't the most responsible person in the world, but I reluctantly took her in. I fed her with an eyedropper and I wiped diarrhea from her bottom. When she had a biting problem, I bit her back like her mom would have. She walked on my head and curled into me at night. I was 3000 miles from home and all my friends were leaving for the season. We were both, in our own way, orphans.

Bebe is 7 years old now and her eyes are a lovely green. She meets me at the door when I come home. She licks my nose, and I pick her up to let her look out the windows she can't reach. When I'm sad she comes to me, crawls up onto my chest, puts one leg on either side of my head, nuzzles me, and purrs. I love Bebe more than I love most people.

When Bebe goes outside I assume that, if she didn't return, it would mean she was either dead or happier somewhere else. I don't want Bebe to die but I want her to be happy. She likes to crawl inside things and see from different perspectives. She likes various water sources. Bebe gave ME a different perspective on my life and I owe a lot to her. She's my kitten. My Bebe Girl. And she seems very happy to be so. She comes to me, makes a squeaky sound, and shows real love.

Maybe my cat chose me. Maybe I chose her. Maybe we are pure coincidence. But Bebe's entry into my life is something I will always consider a miracle. We imprinted on one another. And even though Bebe doesn't speak English, she communicates and she understands. She is asleep at my feet. And she is my family.

I laughed so hard at your post that I wet my pants. My dog doesn't know the difference between "pet" or "companion" - he just knows if I care for him and love him. Stop trying to control everyone. If you truly want to better an animals life - try adopting an animal instead of shaking your finger at other "companion" owners LOL

Of the animals , I think cats should definately never have been domesticated. They are too dependent on us- even after they become feral they cannot live good lives without good vet care and so cannot really be allowed to become feral. On the other hand, as domestic cats they are always frustrated because they wish to be wild (there might be exceptions) and require huge territories to roam- something not possible in an urban setting. They are also profilic breeders and have to be sterlised. Their populations easily become uncontrollable and they have a devastating impact on wildlife, especially in environments foreign to them like Australia, yet their hunting skills are insufficient to allow them to prosper in the wild as true wild cats would.

Do you have any support for your statement:

"They are too dependent on us- even after they become feral they cannot live good lives without good vet care and so cannot really be allowed to become feral."

Regardless.. the domestication of the cat took place so long that there is no way to really say if it 'should' or 'should not' have happened.. any more then if agriculture should have taken place along the Nile.

I agree we should not breed any more pets or domestic animals . But I wonder how long will it take to eradicate pet ownership when there are so many cats and dogs out there? Many are not sterilised. There are feral cat colonies in every city.
I have 3 cats I rescued from a cat hoarder who have feline aids and leukemia. If I had not rescued them they would be dead by now. I am painfully reminded of the fact that cats especially should never have been domesticated. Because these cats carry the lethal viruses contagious to other cats, I must enclose them permanently. I can only walk them on a harness and nothing can be more unnatural to a cat than to be deprived of its territory. They are now used to it- but they are always bored. On the other hand I am warned that not enclosing a cat is bad for it- it can be run over, attacked by other cats etc. It seems we have arrived at a point where our pets are forced to live unnatural lives due to animal overpopulation and human overpopulation. I am not sure anymore my cats are still true cats. I have no idea what enclosement does to their mental well-being and know for sure they would never survive in the wild. This is definately wrong and injust to them.

NO. Definately we should not have pets. It was our idea to domesticate these animals in the first place. We are now stuck with freaks who are not wild animals anymore and cannot be released into the wild, yet these animals were bred by us for our benefit. Animals do not benefit from being our pets- they have no choice because they cannot live without us - because we bred them to be so.

Pets have created the huge problem and curelty of unwanted, abused and neglected animals. As for those who live in 'nice' homes- we are not sure they are happy- they are certainly our captives and they have no choice in the matter. Pets encourage the attitude that animals are property.

Owning pets through your childhood really brings responsibility to the children , and also gives them a friend to love and care for. To learn how to love and care for something.

Pets are a yes, so long as we give them good lives and give them love.

I believe that keeping animals in your home is reasonable, and even in most zoos I think it's okay (if they are given space, others of their species, and a "natural" environment . What I think is awful is Circus'. Purely for entertainment, the animal is put through a hard life, caged up and forced to be surrounded by people constantly, no sanity in their lives.

This is exactly Gary's point. You regard animals as "things." If you want children to learn how to care for "something," you should teach them how to garden. When children grow up and have children of their own, they won't need to know how to care for some "thing," but for some-"one." Having "things" doesn't require children to be responsible to anyone in any kind of power but the owner of those "things," i.e. you or the child. But if you have children, society requires you to be responsible.

..nor has it ever been nor will it ever be. First, the fact remains that we(humans) made the choice thousands of years ago to domesticate the dog and cat. When that choice was made, humans made the commitment to care for dogs and cats and now it really would be inhumane to release them (as I know some people would prefer to do) on society or in the wild. Our companion animals have come to rely on their owners to provide for them. We hope their instincts would kick in but would that happen before they were killed by man or beast? How much of a chance would they have against society's superhighways? Yes, this is all a part of "real life".

And after reading some of these comments - I have to ask - could someone PLEASE explain to me how domestic is like natural breeding? There is absolutely nothing natural about our companion animals except the way in which some of them look. What part of natural breeding brought us the Bulldog? The only true natural breeding occurs in the wild.

Ok - I am totally against puppy mills and over-breeding. I am totally in support of neutering and spaying companion animals. Again, it goes back to that commitment we humans made thousands of years ago when WE chose to domesticate the dog and cat - we humans are doing what we can to enhance their behavior and avoid health risks.

And yes, as the name implies, I am a proud Beaglemom. They are my only kids - they are my family. And again, in a perfect world, human companionship would be nice sometimes but what about those instances of abuse by a spouse or significant other and this is on the rise. What about a marriage or relationship gone wrong? Those people in nursing homes that benefit from human companionship - they benefit from not just human contact when I visit but they get the added benefit when I bring Shiloh, my oldest Beagle, to visit. You say what benefits from a dog? I say, have any of you TRULY researched the subject - I have and yes, there are physical as well as emotional benefits to people. It is proven - people who own a companion animal - live longer and people who have contact with a dog or a cat, their high blood pressure goes down. And Shiloh LOVES the added attention - the proof you say? The lively trot down the hallway as we move from room to room as well as his constant waving flag of a tail.

Hi ProudBeagleMom. I'm a proud husky mum. I live with two wonderful & charismatic huskies. Our family loves them and they love to be with us. They always want to be in the same room with us. They are bomb proof around our little boys. They are also vegan like us. They eat a nutritionally complete dog food without requiring any other animals to die so that they can live.

Anyways, altho we share mutual love, I am very sadened at their situation of being "pets". They did not choose this life. They r completely dependent on us as though they were children. But they're not children, they are grown adults. And unlike human children, these animals have absolutely no legal rights. I could have them destroyed whenever I liked without reason. They also have very little choices. They are much more like slaves than they are like children. Their bred purpose for human benefit is to be "companion" slaves. But a happy slave is still a slave! These dogs cannot even pee without asking for permission to go outside. They cannot feed themselves. They cannot get affection if we're too busy. They have to suffer boredom inside and in the back yard. All of these things wouldn't occur to them in the wild in their original genetic state as wolves when they were free from companion slavery. As "domestic" animals (a nice word for slave), like human slaves, these dogs have their babies removed and sold. They will never see their children again. They will never interact with their relatives. Like human slaves, dogs' entire social lives are dictated by their owner (or loving slave master). If they were not born into domestication, and not conditioned to depend on and happily live with humans, they would rather choose the freedom and self determination of living in their natural habitat in their natural wolf form. I mean, would a wild wolf give up his life to be your "pet"?

What do u think about this? Kind regards, Desert Girl

I have been looking for an organization that is opposed to keeping domestic pets. Even the world famous blood throwing activists in PETA support the domestication of animals (neutered of course). I would like to get the other side in vogue. If people genuinely think about it, the keeping of pets will soon be recognized as offensive & unethical, leading I would hope to a drastic reduction in the number of pets in captivity and enslavement in our homes.
These animals serve no useful purpose, often contribute to allegies and disease, teach children the entirely wrong messages about establishing relationships and generally are a blight on our society.
If half the money that just the government spends on animal issues was diverted elsewhere, we could end homelessness.
It is a tragic miscarriage that we continue to promote this practice. I am not an advocate for an outright ban, but would like to see awareness raising that will put pet ownership in a category like smoking which has now become a much less acceptable societal norm.
Are there any such organizations ? anyone ?

Frankly, I find the fact that your parents mated offensive. What human in their right mind thinks animals serve no useful purpose. How self serving - self absorbed - self centered you are to think animals are not useful because of allergies???? You need to go back to your cave.

Hi Notopets. Have you visited Gary L Francione's website ? There are a few organisations who are opposed to all animal domestication (slavery as you put it), and they are abolitionist organisations. Vegan Freak, Boston Vegan, Peaceful Prairy Sanctuary, and a few others. They are hard to find but a popping up around the world. Generally these orgs support people rescuing and housing homeless pets, but strictly oppose breeding these animals into existence. Domestic animals should not exist, only their wild ancestors should live as free individuals.

Hi Desert Girl
Are you Vegan ?
I know that that there are many Vegan promoting sites.
While I don't object to this, they seem primarily focused
on food issues. I find the domestication of cats, dogs etc. to
be more offensive than the food industry.
I do eat some dairy products and while I am not happy with the
treatment animals receive at mega-farms nor with the energy costs related to animal protein food production, I see dairy as different from meat although they are hand in hand, but I think that there may be
opportunities to "do dairy differently".
In any event, my primary issue is the domestic pet issue and I don't want to lose that focus within an organization which has food production in its sights.

Although I am opposed to keeping pets - lets please not forget that pets also care for and make their owners happy. This does not mean we should perpetuate pet ownership , but I would be lying if I said I dont look forward to coming home to 3 purring cats.

Hi Brian, I have not come across an organisation solely focussed on educating people about why we shouldn't breed and own "companion" animals. Seriously, perhaps you could start one yourself!? I mean, who else is doing it?

The only groups I can think of that might come close are ones that are directly involved with the animals themselves who are the victims of human's "need" for pets. "No Kill Shelters" -that is a real animal shelter that actually does shelter animals, not kill them. They house, rehabilitate, retrain and rehome homeless animals. They do not support breeding new animals. When their shelter is full up, they do not kill batches of animals just to make room for incoming animals. They simply refuse any more aniamls until a vacancy becomes available. Another interesting organisation is Alley Cat Allies, promoting the TNR technique on feral cats. They are Trapped, Neutered and Returned. Rather than killing these animals, they are allowed to live the rest of their life on the streets without breeding more. These cats are territorial preventing new cats from moving in and repeating the whole cycle, which is what would occur if the cats were simply exterminated.

Vegan (abolitionist) groups include opposition for all different animals used for many different human purposes including for sport (dogs, horses, birds, cows), entertainment (rodeos, circuses, fighting, tricks), vivisection (the majority of animal testing is for pharmacy and personal products, not for cures), pets, clothing (wool, leather, silk, fur), and food (dairy, eggs, meat, honey). The reason their main focus is on "food" animals is because that group is the largest affected in terms of numbers. For example, in the US, I think it's approximately 280,000 animals killed in shelters every year (while the breeding doesn't stop), whereas in comparison about 11 billion land animals are killed for food every year in the US alone (not including probably double that or more in aquatic life). PETA tends to focus mainly on these smaller groups of animals who suffer for human ends like their anti-fur campaigns, and anti-vivisection campaigns. While of course these are very important, in terms of sheer numbers, it is the "food" animals whom are suffering the most. PETA support "responsible" pet ownership. Abolitionist groups believe that all animals should not be property.

Could u tell in more detail what u find more so offensive about the domestication of cats and dogs as opposed to cows, pigs and chickens? Thanks. Many people believe pet ownership can be done humanely as you suggest can be done for dairy cows. How do you think it is different for pets?

Also, I am a big fan of a very powerful movie called Earthlings. It is the most difficult movie anyone could ever watch but I think it is essential viewing for everyone to know the real truth behind animal industries. It has five sections. The first one is about pets. If you ever wanted to get your message across to someone about pets, get them to watch Earthlings. I think the next section is about food animals. Then there's clothing, entertainment and science. It'll be the most important film you ever see. I highly recommend buying the dvd because you'll want to have it at hand to show others. Otherwise you can watch it online (if u don't mind the small screen) for a small fee like $2.50 or something. Both options are available at

Kindest regards,

Desert Girl

I'm starting to get some of the information that I was looking for although maybe not what I had hoped for.
I have ordered the Earthlings DVD and will look forward to viewing it.
I see myself as somewhat of libertarian. I think we should be able to do what we want but that we need to see the consequences of our action and be held accountable for them.
Large numbers of sentient organisms are carnivores, many are ominvores.
I see Vegan as a choice, a noble choice, an honorable choice, a less invasive choice, but stil a choice.
I have seen dairy products from free ranging cows and goats and eggs from scavenging chickens being important dietary sources for many impoverished communities.(in India, Africa, Haiti) I know that fish
have been important protein sources for aboriginal communities around the world.
It is true that there are many more food animals killed every year that there are pets. but, if there was no "food industry" there would not be anywhere near the number of animals available to be killed.
This animal population is large because of the industries. There is no way that these massive populations would have evolved on their own.
Dairy cattle, domestic goats and poultry have largely been bred to produce more milk than they need and infertile eggs. etc. I think there might be some merit to these "food pets" especially in small numbers
in small commumities or families.
I don't have strong arguments in support of the food/clothing industry, but I have seen farmers who treat these animals with kindness and respect, albeit the inevitability of their fate.
Some dairy cattle, goats, chickens, sheep, are kept for years and provide food supplements,and materials without being killed.
With domestic pets, cats, dogs, etc.(in my opinion) they serve no useful purpose whatsoever. I constantly see people "adopt" "cute" puppies or kittens and neglect them when they become dogs or cats.
People tell me that it helps children learn responsibility. I disagree. I see pet ownership as a lesson in relationship through control or dominance.I don't think its a good way to learn to relate. Further,domestic animals frequently increase the spread of disease
and human allergic reactions.
There are many negatives about domestic pets and (in my opinion) very few real positives.
My hope had been that there would be an organization that encouraged people to give up this habit of enslaving animals.
I would like to see pet ownership become as socially enacceptable as smoking. It's not banned,but its not longer "in".

I'll have to think on the possibility of setting up an organization.
I'm at the stage in my life where I tend to be on the "support" side of things. 20 years ago, I'd be doing it.
These days, I tend to delight in the creativity and energies of younger people including some proteges who have now surpassed my skills.
I'll write you again after I study on these ideas a little.

Hi Brian.

I'm very happy to hear you'll be getting Earthlings. Make sure you get someone to watch it with you. One, you'll need support. Two, you may never want to watch it again, so here's your opportunity to get someone to watch it who otherwise would never do it alone. You can find me at the forum where much is discussed. Very stimulating, thought provoking conversations abound at the earthlings forum. It's a great place to go to write about what u thought of the film and how u felt. U may need the forum as therapy!

I looked up the word respect. It does not contain anything about violence, harm and killing. The very meaning of respect is its absence of violence. We cannot respect animals and exploit them as our property at the same time. Just as we cannot respect fellow humans and exploit them at the same time as our slave property. I do not believe it is possible to kill animals nicely.

Indigenous peoples around the world (at least many of them) today have access to fresh food supplies and supermarkets.

Every nutrient that the human requires for superb health is available in the plant kingdom. This fact is supported by the World Health Organisation and many others of high reputation. Our use for all domestic animals is completely unnecessary.

A goat and cow feels just as much emotion and interest in continuing to live as a dog.

Whether the dairy cow is in a mass feed lot with thousands of others, or at an organic free range farm with a few hundred, or at a hobby farm with a dozen, they all suffer terribly. They ALL end up at the same horror house when their milk supply drops. Dairy cows -freerange too, live very short lives and are killed after two or three continual pregnancies when they reach adulthood at about 5 or 6 years. They normally live to 26 or 30. Dairy cows suffer the agonising seperation of their calf who is then killed for veal. There is more cruelty in a glass of milk than in a steak. Dairy cows including freerange get painful mastitis in their udders. With full painful udders they are trucked on a long thirsty, frightening, dirty journey to the horrors of the slaughter house. They can smell the death. Some cows are still pregnant and their calves are cut out alive (this is their birth), while mother hung upside down and then dismembered while still conscious, legs cut off while still kicking. This is normal industry practice.

If we didn't breed animals to be used for food, then they wouldn't exist anymore. This is a good thing. Only the genetically unaltered original species should exist and live free.

Kindest regards,

Desert Girl

Hi Desert Girl.
Your graphic outrage at the commercial food industry at it worst is understandable.
The "doing dairy differently" that I had in mind related more to the local family goat or cow. In india the birth of either a bull cafe or a heifer is viewed with joy for the poor cow owning family.
(I do acknowledge that all of the food industry has an issue around the birth of male animals.)
I also think of the little girl following her half dozen scavenging hens down the road gathering their eggs. I also at one time kept chickens, ate eggs and buried the chickens when they died.
Do or did these animals have great lives ?
I don't know.
But if as you say they normally live for 26 - 30 years - Then they can be pets that may also contribute to their owners in a different way.
I will, however, now point out my dilemma. It is consistent with what I have encountered each time I have enquired about like minded individuals. I am probably not going to find like - thinking people in the Vegan ranks.
While I acknowledge that we can feed the world with products from the plant kingdom, my advocacy is that we move in that direction and make better choices. There is a gap between where we are and where we might be ideally.
My dilemma is this. I put my issue forward and next thing I know I'm debating about food animals.
My priority is to raise awareness about enslavement of animals as domestic pets. The abolitionist ideal may be a great long term objective but within the transition period there are priorities.
mine is the pet issue.
I can support full abolition, but I see a human ominvore who won't support people keeping a dog or cat as a more ethical position than a Vegan who has these neutered pets.
So given that we need to start somewhere, this is my priority.
So far I think its a pretty solitary position.

Hi Brian, thank u so much for taking the time to write to me. Now bare with me if you will, cos I know ur getting a little annoyed at leaning into food animal conversations, but u were talking about it yourself in yr current comment. So I just want some more clarifications on the things u said because I have become quite confused about yr understanding of the difference between pets and food animals. I will try to talk about pets as much as possible, seeing as that is the issue at hand!!!

You wrote: "But if as you say they normally live for 26 - 30 years - Then they can be pets that may also contribute to their owners in a different way. " and also: "but I see a human ominvore who won't support people keeping a dog or cat as a more ethical position than a Vegan who has these neutered pets."

So are you suggesting that it is ethical to keep pets if they are a species of cow, but we should not keep pets if they are a species of cat or canine? Is this right? If so, do u believe this because the cow species can offer more services to the human than companionship alone? In your mind, is it ok to domesticate animals if they are used as food, but not if they are used as companions? Do u believe that keeping dogs and cats violates these animal's rights, but keeping cows (in your idilic family farm setting) does not? Could u explain that a little more for me please?

Yr quote: "Your graphic outrage at the commercial food industry at it worst is understandable."

Just to confirm.. "at its worst" is a standard daily practice, including freerange farms. It happens like this every single minute around the world. 99% of food animals are treated this way. If u consume dairy products u support this. Do u have access to milk produced at a family farm? Rarely people do. Even so, doesn't this ideal setting still fall into conflict with your own opposition to owning pets? Because as nicely as the cow is treated, she still needs to be impregnated (against will), experience the agony of birth, have her calf removed (what else is the family farmer going to do with all those bobby calves? You can't have a paddock full of bulls!), locked up in a paddock, unable to choose her mate or friends or see family, cannot make own choices, probably wont get optimum veterinary care because the farmer cant afford it, but ultimately she is property. She has no rights what-so-ever. With todays milk demand, it is simply impossible to produce milk humanely on a massive scale. A hobby farm operation would be far too expensive and could never produce the volume.

You wrote: "Do or did these animals have great lives ? I don't know." The same goes for backyard hens. They seem happy enough right? But are these animals not pets too, just as dogs are. The hens are owned. They have no freedom. They cannot safely leave your property, choose a mate, choose their flock, see their family. Also in order for a yard of ten laying happy hens to be possible, ten terrified brothers must be killed at some point. We cant have a yard of ten happy roosters. They are killed and eaten of course. I have seen wild chickens in the forest in Hawaii. It was a wonderful sight to see them living their own life without human intervention.

You wrote: "The abolitionist ideal may be a great long term objective but within the transition period there are priorities.
mine is the pet issue."

I acknowledge that pets are your passion and your cause.

I would like to clarify that abolition of animal exploitation occurs at a smaller, individual level the moment one person chooses to stop participating in it. Abolition on a mass scale may happen in the far distant future, but I am only concerned with the immediate scale. One new vegan halts the misery and death of animals immediately. Over a lifetime, the vegan will have saved 10,000 animals. To me that's pretty significant! I don't need global outright abolition of animal exploitation in order to feel a sense of deep satisfaction. Just a handful of vegans makes such a huge impact on the animals they do not consume.

Next question: do u support people who strictly house animals who were rescued, homeless or on death row, but are also against the keeping of pets?

The long term ideal is abolition.
The ideal is animals surviving in the wild as best they can may be a strtetch- This raises questions about available habitat and what we have done to it.
These animals (producers of excess milk and unfertilized eggs) have been developed by genetic breeding, but then so have most of the vegetables we eat.
Remembering that I am not an advocate of Veganism. I see it as a reasonable choice- I have more respect for a person who kept cows or goats or chickens, treated them humanely and utilized the milk/cheese/eggs than the Vegan who keeps cats, dogs or guinea pigs.
What I see is that there are movements of people who are speaking out against meat & dairy but many of them are still mainstream in that they act as if keeping cats and dogs is an honourable and kind thing to do.
If a person chooses to eat meat or dairy, then being responsible for the care of the contributing animal may make some sense.
(If you don't see omnivorism as a choice, this is not okay - If you are a Vegan advocate that would be an unacceptable choice). In fact, from my perspective, that might be a way to move forward. If people had to
kill what they eat (and eat what they kill) there might be a little more thought go into their diet.
I don't know the answers to your questions. I don't know which is better or worse. What I believe is that keeping domestic pets-
dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, gerbils, wrong, serves no positive and many negative purposes. I am also outraged that this highly questionable practice is given a broad stamp of approval.
I think we each need to choose our own mountains to climb, our own windmills to tilt at. Inasmuch as I have always been involved in social activism, I usually decide what to support based on - 1. what I feel strongly about and 2. how likely I am to be able make an impact.
I probably see the US Army in Iraq and the Canadian Army in Afghanistan are far more wrong and offensive than anything we have been talking about but my influence is limited.
I do what I can. The anti-pet issue is one I can support so I went looking for it. It's not the best cause, or the worst offense;
it's just one that fits my agenda.
If pet-keeping could reach the same level of unacceptability as smoking, I would feel some satisfaction.
I don't even want to ban pet ownership. I only weant to raise awareness.
Your last question- Sure, In fact, I wish that people who wanted a pet fix would do it that way or visit them in shelters.
Joy to you. :-)}

I think we should definitely provide love and care to other animals, but i don't think we should call them "our pets," simply because they're NOT OURS! Another problem with having pets is that many people BUY their new companion, which I am VERY opposed to because I don't think you can put a price on life. Yet another big problem that having pets can cause is the creation of speciesism. For example, someone who owns a dog would probably be very moved, angered, and/or outraged if they saw a video of a dog being experimented on or being killed for food or clothing, but might quite not feel exactly the same way (or possibly not even care at all) about seeing a different species of animal, such as a pig in the same situation, and that to me is very wrong.

When you domesticate an animal, you use natural selection to create a creature that is made to live with a human being. Domestication defines the characteristics of a dog or a cat; without it, they wouldn't be the animals they are. When a dog or a cat lives with a human, both sides benefit. Dogs and cats (and other domesticated species), left on their own to go feral, lead shorter lives than their wild ancestors would in the same situation.

When you domesticate an animal, you commit yourself to live in symbiosis with that animal. That is what they are made for; your home is their natural habitat.

Companion Slaves Part II
Domesticated dogs and cats are totally and utterly dependent on us by force. They did not choose this life. They did not choose their genetics to be altered through breeding to become more docile, obedient and cute to humans. Their biology is completely unnatural as is their human environment. In the wild, many of them would perish. Other dogs and cats who are left to go wild wreak havok upon native wildlife. While many pets are lovingly cared for, the average time a dog or cat spends with an owner is 2 years. Then they are dumped at "shelters". In most shelters 85% of the animals are killed. Half of the pets in shelters are turned in by their owners. A third of them are pedigree breeds. While many pets are lovingly cared for, many, many more suffer with abusive owners, are neglected, do not receive medical treatment, exercise or adequate food, are bred and have their babies taken from them, are given little or denied affection, are denied social contact with other animals or their genetic family, or live the majority of their day in a back yard prison in inside a house.

While many people claim that their pets are family members, the law does back up this claim with any rights. Animals are not right holders. They have no rights. Anti-cruelty laws only serve to protect human property. They do not apply to farm animals. At anytime one chooses, a human may have her healthy cat or dog or horse or hamster destroyed. And this act is protected by law.

Given the natural choice, dogs and cats would not choose these situations for themselves. Here's a test. Would a wolf be your pet? The only way you can really know if a dog or cat would want to live with humans is to ask one who hasn't been conditioned since birth to live with humans. A wild animal.

Very similarly, human slaves were once thought to benefit from their ownership. They were afterall housed and fed. They were bred and conditioned to live as a slave and most could not survive a life outside of being a slave. But this was not their choice. It was put upon them, just as it is today for other animals. Many human slaves loved their masters and were considered a member of the family. This does not justify the act of making a human the property of another. Just because slaves can be potentially happy, doesn't mean that we should support slavery. Equally, just because some pets (animal slaves) can be happy, doesn't mean we should support their domestication and property status for human benefit.

We should stop breeding domestic animals all-together. We should stop killing them in so called shelters. We should care for the animals who are still alive and give them the best life possible in a domestic environment.

While some cats, dogs and horses may love their humans very much, the truth is that these animals do not have a divine symbiotic relationship with humans. They are merely our well bred, well conditioned slaves. They are our property. They serve us and it is not their choice.

Conclusion. We should not breed and keep pets. All animals should be genetically and physically wild and free.

Good grief - you are so far removed from reality - it must have taken along time of either mimicking your friends so you can feel you fit in somewhere or hiding in a cave and memorizing jiberish to sound important here. You know what all animals think, want and need, what they would have thought were they always wild, and what they will think in the future. You know what every human being should be doing, why they do what they do and what they need or don't need. You must have a very sad life - to spend so much useful time spewing verbal diarea on sites like this. If you are so passionate about animals - get out, save some. How many horses are you caring for right now - how many pets have you rescued and are committing to caring for till their life is over? You are so typical of a radical idiot who rants and raves about what everyone else should be doing and not doing a darn thing yourself. But then again why should you - you are GOD after all.

Well then you must love me a lot if you think I am God with a name like yours, Oh.. "OhForTheLoveOfGod"!

Are you quite done name calling? When are you ready to contribute some real debate? We're waiting.. All people have heard from you so far is attacks and name calling. As you may not have noticed, I do not put anyone down or call people names. You may not agree with my debates, but at least I'm debating! Go on LoveofGod! Have a go! If not.. then what are you doing here? Trying to be as nasty to others as possible? C'mon, you can do better. Tell us what you believe about animals , not why you hate the people who disagree with you. What did you expect to find here? Only people who agree with you? Of course not. There are people with different views to yours as well as people with the same views. That's why they call it opposing views. So expect opposing views when you come here, get over it and just get on with telling us what you think!

Saving animals -I have saved a few in my lifetime. I have spent many years of my life with horses. But you know what? I know how many hours are required to care for horses, so I could rescue a handful of rejected sick animals from the abattoir and spend all the spare time I had caring for them for years on end. Or.. just by being a vegan I save 10,000 animals from suffering over my lifetime. And if I inspire just 5 other people to go vegan too, I've helped to save another 50,000 animals over their lifetimes too. So it seems like I can save a lot more animals through factual and non-violent vegan education , than I ever could caring for the needs of just a few victims from the meat and dairy industry.

Something to think about.. unless of course you'd like to attack me again. Go ahead.. be nasty. But I'd rather you didn't. I'd rather you stick to facts and join in the debate with something to say. Thank you. Have a wonderful evening, God. xxxxxxxxx

Hey Callista.

I used to think exactly the same thing all my life until just a few years ago when I learnt about the true meaning of animal rights. I have been raised around lots of animals. I have had endearing and special relaionships with cats, birds, dogs and horses. One horse in particular I watched being born, raised him and trained him myself. We were very close and loved each other a lot. I believed that I was practicing a natural symbiotic relationship with that wonderful animal. But now I know this isn't true. Here's what I mean..

Definition of Symbiosis
Sybiosis is a scientific term to describe two species of animal and or plants whom are totally dependant on one another for their survival. If one of the species were to disappear from the area, then the dependant species could not survive and would become extinct in that area also. This is not the case for domesticated animals. To use the term correctly, humans and other animals do not share a natural symbiotic relationship. They share a very unnatural exploitative relationship. If humans did not farm, breed, raise and kill animals for their own benefit, then humans would continue to survive quite ok without them. Using animals for companionship, transport, clothing and food is a luxury, not a survival necessity. We do not depend on animals for our survival what-so-ever. On the scale of evolution , it is only very recently (last 10,000 years) that we have been using animals in this way, and that they have been bred this way.

One-Sided Benefit
While it is commonly believed that both species benefit from domestication, when you take a closer look, it only the humans whom are taking benefit, because they are the ones in complete control and they are the ones doing the exploiting.

Protection From Predators? Who is the Predator?
While we protect back yard chooks from predators at night, we aren't really protecting them from predators, because we are the predators. We predate on the roosters and we predate on the eggs. So in this case chickens do not benefit from us. In the wild, chooks can find their own food and shelter without human intervention.

Get Fed, Get Killed. Some Benefit!
While we feed and shelter pigs and cows in a farm, they do not need this benefit from us because they can do this on their own in their natural habitat. Pigs, cows, goats and sheep are not receiving an exclusive benefit from humans that they otherwise could not get on their own. On top of this, the plus side of getting fed is grossly out-weighed by the immense suffering that farm animals endure being imprisoned, mutilated and slaughtered. So it is humans who are taking exclusive benefit from the animals by taking their (very short) lives, their skin and their organs for clothing and food.

So Much for Riding into the Sunset!
We ride horses for pleasure, sport and transport. But horses do not need us, they can find their own food in the wild. Many horses are well cared for. Many more are neglected, cannot socialise, get abused and don't get exercised. Adding to this, horses are unwanted when they get older or if they don't run fast enough, and most of them end up on a long truck journey to the slaughterhouse.

And finally we arrive at companion animals. We humans do not need them at all. Why, we have each other. Old ladies don't need dogs and cats to keep them company in an old nursing home, they need real human contact, nurses, volunteers, relatives, friends, grandchildren. Children can receive the love of their parents and siblings and friends. If we need to share the experience of nature we can take a drive and observe animals in their wild natural habitat. Dogs and cats do not need us. They don't. In their biologically unadulterated genetic state, dogs and cats (originally wolves and wild cats), live free and independant lives. They get their own food, find their own shelter, can choose their own mate, can choose to leave at anytime, can wander where ever they wish to, can pee and poop when ever they need to, can find their own water, can choose their own social groups, can stay with their mother as puppies and kittens, they can be free.

How about this one: What is your response to an outdoor cat who repeatedly returns again and again to their owner's home? The cat could flee if they liked but no, they come back every time.

Equating pet ownership to slavery is ridiculous. It is a label that simply isn't true (Perhaps in the case of animals made to pull heavy loads there could be some parallels made.). A slave is someone forced into laborious tasks. The only possible parallel you could make here would be a gilded cage and/or a prisoner. But as I pointed out with the cat reference, a large portion of pets are not "suffering" because of their "imprisonment". You keep using human situational references for animals. If you kept humans in this way it would be wrong. Why is it different? Because animals are not sentient. They are not self aware (With a small amount of rare exceptions. Dolphins-for example)

I highly doubt "most" horses are abused. Good grief. And although I agree horses may be more likely to prefer being wild there are horses who have chosen to stay with their owners because they have developed a strong bond with them. While I don't think horses are quite sentient, I do believe they are self aware to a small degree. And my sister loved her horse like she was her child. She was no slave driver. :( (On a side note I wish horse racing was abolished.)

Let's not forget that a large portion of the dogs (And some breeds of cat) existing as pets today would die in the wild in a very short period of time. You put a teacup poodle in the woods I guarantee it wouldn't last long.

Lastly, farm animals. From the way you made your statements I'm going to assume you're a vegetarian so debating with you on this topic would be pointless.

G'day Songbird,

You wrote: " I'm going to assume you're a vegetarian so debating with you on this topic would be pointless."

Well you cannot really believe that because you have written numerous replies. So I will continue the dialogue until you have become bored and write no more! For the record I am a vegan of 12 years. Before this I was a guiltless meat eater until I got an education from (of all people!) life coach Tony Robbins, the author John Robbins who wrote A Diet for a New America (and heir of Baskin Robbins Ice-Cream), and recently on ethics , professor of law Gary L. Francione who has officially written for this Opposing Views topic on pets .

You wrote: "What is your response to an outdoor cat who repeatedly returns again and again to their owner's home?"

Conditioned Into "Companion" Slavery
This example cannot be counted for an indication of freewill and exercising free choice because the cat was conditioned to live this life. He was genetically bred this way, he was born this way, he was socially conditioned into a life of captivity. He knows no other life. Even if he wanted another life, he probably could not survive as a free cat, so there is no choice to leave anyway.

Similar situations existed for human slaves. They were conditioned to live with their master. They could not survive on their own even if they wanted to. Perhaps some slaves did want to be free but they were too frightened to try. They were dependent on their master for their every need. They were born into slavery and knew no other life. They were socially conditioned to accept their life as a slave and believe it to be natural and normal. Most slaves would choose not to leave the property if they wanted to either because they were frightened of the consequences of their leaving by punishment, or because they did not have the means to survive on their own. But many more slaves chose to stay at the property because they wanted to stay. Many slaves had good relationships with their masters and believed it was in their best welfare to stay where they would be looked after rather than brave the harsh world outside.

You wrote: "Equating pet ownership to slavery is ridiculous."

There were many types and roles for human slaves, not just laborious roles. Some slaves were used for guarding or soldiers. Some slaves were house slaves and lived a more comfortable life keeping house. These slaves often became close with their masters. Some slave owners even described their slaves like members of their own families. Many house slaves became fond companions. There are even reports of infant slaves being used by their masters as pets before they grew older to be sold.

Animals Are Property.
Domestic animals are assigned many different roles of exploitation such as guard dogs, fighting dogs, show dogs, toy dogs, racing dogs, working dogs, and of course companion dogs. Most pets are used as companions, but just because they are loved companions, doesn't excuse them out od the property status. If you can't live with the slavery analogy, maybe you can agree that animals are our property and as our property they have no rights what-so-ever.. which is what defines slavery! Hmm? What do you think?

Not a lot of intelligence is required for sentience. Most animals easily qualify for sentience. You need a central nervous system and a brain.

Just Because We Can, Doesn't Mean We Should
There are many examples of human beings treated with utmost respect who possess very little cognitive ability. Just because retarded people are not very intelligent, does not mean we can justify exploiting them as companions for the elderly. This would be wrong. It is also wrong to take an animal, breed her and alter her DNA so that she is unnaturally docile to exploit her as a pet "companion". If you gave her a REAL choice (born in the wild), she would choose the freedom of the wild. Just because she is well cared for, doesn't make owning her right. We wouldn't do it to retarded people, and we shouldn't do it to other species just because they are less intelligent than we are. The only difference here is species.

You wrote: "Let's not forget that a large portion of the dogs (And some breeds of cat) existing as pets today would die in the wild in a very short period of time. You put a teacup poodle in the woods I guarantee it wouldn't last long."

Yes, you are right, the poodle would not survive, nor would most of the other cats and dogs genetically bred for human use. We have made them that way. They could not survive because we have changed their biology and they have been psychologically conditioned to live a dependent domestic life.

Nice to debate with you.. have a wonderful evening.

First, I said I wasn't going to debate with you over *farm* animals . Please read things more carefully.

Everything in your post is based on your belief that animals are sentient. You either don't know the proper definition of sentience or are deliberately ignoring any criteria other than intelligence. Intelligence and feelings alone do not make someone sentient. There are other criteria that must be met, these being self aware and consciousness. Most animals are not self aware. Dolphins are ONE of the exceptions. (I apologize for *one* being in caps but many times in debates on this topic people seem to think that because I only name one of the sentient creatures on this planet that I'm deliberately not mentioning others.) For a being to be sentient they must be aware of themselves and the world around them. I guarantee my cat is not sitting around contemplating his place in the universe. If the majority of animals were sentient we would have seen signs of it long ago. It's not my opinion, it is fact.

And please stop using instances of "damaged" humans in your defense. Because they are, in fact, "damaged" in one way or another. We treat a retarded child with compassion because we know that were she not retarded she would meet all the sentience criteria. And just because a retarded child can't express themselves properly doesn't mean they are no longer sentient. A person in a vegitative state is no longer sentient, but we still treat them properly because they are "one of our own".


You wrote: "We treat a retarded child with compassion because we know that were she not retarded she would meet all the sentience criteria."

So in this instance, moral consideration is granted not for sentience or intelligence, but for species.

You wrote: "A person in a vegitative state is no longer sentient, but we still treat them properly because they are "one of our own"

Also in this instance, moral consideration is granted not for sentience or intelligence, but for species.

So we can reject animals from the moral community because (you believe) they are not sentient or intelligent. But when we apply this to criteria to human beings in the case or retarded people it no longer applies because they are human. So in your case, sentience and intelligence is irrelevent to moral consideration, only species.

The simplest word for this is speciesism, no different to any other kind of discrimination such as racism and sexism to justify exploiting and harming others.

Okay. I'm done. You are the most unreasonable, "Up on her high horse" person I've met in a long time. Speciesism?? Really? You are obviously unable to be reasoned with because you attack everything that doesn't conform to your beliefs. Nothing I say is going to make any difference because you will twist it into something that suits your needs. And even though I have managed to say some nice things to you, you continually attack me as if I am some evil animal abuser. So I am done with you. Enjoy your nurotic little life.

Enjoy your unsentient pig sandwich with grieving cow milk mayonaise..

kiss kiss hug hug

Pain and Suffering
Whether you believe non-human animals possess sentience or not, is irrelevant when considering whether or not to grant them basic rights. The fact that they have the clear ability to suffer should be enough to qualify their right to our moral consideration. That said, lets look at the scientific definition of sentience:

sentience [?s?n??ns], sentiency
1. the state or quality of being sentient; awareness
2. sense perception not involving intelligence or mental perception; feeling

insentience - lacking consciousness or ability to perceive sensations

According to the dictionary, sentience is perception and sensation. No intelligence required. Anyone with a brain is aware of their environment and respond to it.

Scientific studies of Animal Sentience
The most basic way of experiencing the world is through feeling or sensation. 'Sentience' is defined as the ability to have perceptions and sensations. A 'sentient animal' is an animal that is aware of his/her surroundings and of what happens to him/her and is capable of feeling pain and pleasure, at the least. The current scientific consensus is that all vertebrate animals, at least, are capable of feeling pain and experiencing distress. (For this reason anti-cruelty laws exist in many countries.)

No farm animals . I did NOT mention farm animals not even once in the previous post. The conversation was strictly on cats and dogs, not that you have dictatorship over what can and can't be discussed in this forum Mr Bossyboots! I only talk about food animals if somebody asks me because this particular forum topic is on pets . Why are you so touchy about food animals anyway? There must be some issues, but you can keep them. We'll stick to the subject.

..that MY remark was only refering to farm animals . I never said you mentioned them. But you seemed to take my comment as a reference to the topic were were on so I felt a need to address it.

And I never *commanded* what you can or can't talk about. I asked politely for you to not make references to something that doesn't belong in the discussion (The damaged humans argument). Whether you choose to honor that request is completely up to you and weren't you going to refrain from name calling? Because if you want to go that extremely unproductive route I can certainly oblige.

You didn't comment on a single other thing in my post. Are you avoiding the sentience topic for a reason?

..the last sentence. Your next post wasn't there when I started my reply.

Horses do not love. Get real. I've raised/trained and shown horses for over 40 years. They respect each other and bond together because they are herd animals - not because they love. How do I know you may ask. I've seen mares loose their foals either from injury or illness walk away and start grazing like nothing happened. I've seen horses groom each other, play with each other and then turn around and try and kill each other. Stop putting human emotions on animals. They think and feel differently than we do.

Okay i do not believe you said that. I no that this probably doesn't answer anyones question but, do animals show love to there owner? Do they feel pain?
They are mammals like us humans and they have personalities and I believe that they should be free if they live in cages, animals should have freedom like us, shelter, food and love.
They think differently ? Are you pulling my leg or something? So animals can't dream then?

Well I worked for many years with horses myself at a riding school , and I have to say that I saw ample evidence of some very human-like emotions. Of course horses have their own way of doing things, but as a human it is natural for us to equate what we see with how we see and feel things, that is just an easier way of explaining or understanding what you see. I've known many horse people to speak of love and other feelings amongst the horses.

The mother of a foal is generally very protective of it in my experience, so I don't know what psychological problems your mares must have that make them so indifferent to their offspring?
Perhaps is was a shock reaction? Or are we talking about grown up offspring of the mare? I can imagine there could be more likely of indifference to an adult offspring.

I've seen that in time they are kind of 'over' having the foal around all the time - and that is just a natural way of things. Even human parents need to help their kids to be independent. I myself am quite happy to have my house 'child' free now, having just pushed my 22 year old from the nest.

I think what Desert Girl was thinking of was the premature taking of a foal from its mother.

When a calf is taken from its mother and weaned prematurely, which is all the time for a dairy cow, they can call to each other for days!! It is heartbreaking.

Maybe over time with this happenning constantly to a dairy cow or a horse - their emotions could become dulled and they complain less, with each calf or foal, I can't be sure - but the cow and calf I am talking about made it very clear that they were unhappy about being separated.

In the making of some Hormone Replacement Therapy like Premarin for example, the urine of pregnant mares is used. This doesn't sound so bad except that it is done on a commercial basis, so that like dairy cows - the mares are forced to give birth yearly and then the foals are taken from them straight away and often killed for 'pet' food .

I've also seen horses play with each other and then fight - and I've seen humans do that too. So I'm not sure what point was being made there?

I've seen that horses sometimes form cliques - would be one way of describing it, and they hang out together but don't mix with some others. I've seen pairs of horses that you cannot separate, because they get so upset to be away from each other. Some sort of attachment or affection is obvious in these cases, it looks like love to me, but what it is called is irrelevant.

One time Rocky - when someone forgot to do the bottom bolt up on his stable, got out and let all the other stabled horses out, except for an ex-racehorse called Troy. Rocky never like Troy.

I used to love horse riding, and would love to care for horses again - but due to an injury, I'm not able to. I also know that from time to time the horses would get sore backs, would be in bad moods, and some HATED being ridden by beginners day in day out - they expressed this in very obvious ways.

They all had different personalities and likes and dislikes. I basically grew up with these horses and got to know most of them pretty well.

One horse who had been ridden by the same person for many years, went into what can only be described as depression when that person had to stop working at the school.

Perhaps for business reasons you haven't had the time to spend with the horses in your care to see these things, and for that I feel sorry. All of my experience with horses has only helped to enrich my love and respect for all animals .

I'm getting better, and within a couple of years, could ride horses again, but I'm going to choose not to. Perhaps if I was in a position where I could make a home for a horse, and that was the only way I could exercise it, then I would ride - but otherwise not. Just because we can do something isn't necessary a reason for doing it. Nowadays I think about a lot of things I used to ignore, and I wonder at what it is like to be forced to have a bit in your mouth. If they were happy about it we wouldn't have to train them to accept a halter and the a bit etc. They just get used to it because we wish it.

No way will I ever pay money to ride a horse, because I remember the lives of those horses - some had it better than others, but bottom line was they had to do what they were told, be ridden by clueless people who would sometimes hurt them, and endure the wrath of us workers when they didn't do what they were told, or protested in the only way a horse can - with a nip, bite, kick or buck.

True love of an animal (human or non-human) in my opinion, means not exploiting it for financial or personal gain.

I used to think being old was a miserable state with all the pain from a failing body. Thank God my mind is still functioning. I accidentally found this site and now I am committed to educating my grandchildren against the kind of irrational thinking I have found here. All I can say is "Save Yourself from Yourself". People who quote "freedom" for domesticated animals are the biggest animal abusers of all. I've seen a lot of miserable free dogs and cats eating garbage, getting run over by automobiles, and simply starving. I've even seen them freeze to death. Most of my children wanted their freedom too early but I refused to listen to them because they could not care for themselves. If for that reason I am a slave master so be it. In the human world "freedom" is not always what it is cracked up to be and neither is it in the animal world.

I've been reading the comments, but I must have missed the one where someone said to let a domesticated animal out and basically abandon it.

Your point about homeless animals on the street illustrates somewhat the original issue that we are talking about.

Humanity has domesticated a range of animals that are now reliant on humans to survive. We can't provide loving homes for all these animals, and yet many people happily allow their dogs and cats to breed and worsen the problem.

I think some people have missed the point of the original no argument. It is not about setting free animals to roam the streets - it is about stopping breeding the domesticated animals now. If that were done (not that it appears a likely scenario) then within 20 years or so the domesticated dogs and cats would cease to exist.

It may seem like a radical argument but undeniably it would cut out a lot of unnecessary suffering by domesticated animals like dogs and cats.

Thank god , finally a sane person here. Desert Girl needs to get a life.

Where do i begin..? No it's not a symbiotic relationship, (so they got the terminology wrong, big deal.), but, way back to Neanderthal times humans have depended on animals for sustenance, clothing, & many other things. If we took away our current technological advances this would make animals necessary to human survival, therefore, its a symbiotic relationship. I don't know about you, but when my cat decides its nap time on my lap & i desperately need to go somewhere, i don't really feel in control as i don't feel the inclination to move her. Im her perch she decided to sleep on, why should i move her? Not to mention, in the households of responsible pet owners the humans would be viewed more as the slave. For example, they eat, they drink, they poop, they sleep & play. We however, feed them, water them, clean up their poop, provide body-heat, shelter & protection. Yes, VERY one sided. In the wild, domestic livestock as we know it, would not exist. It's only through our domestication of them that they have evolved to what they are today, they therefore have no natural habitat. Domestic dogs & cats ALSO do not have a natural habitat. Yes, while it is true that horses can find their own food without us, they were also once a common prey animal before they were a means of transport & later a companion. & the many more who are poorly treated, etc, that you refer to, the fault rests with the humans responsible for their care not the domestication in general. I use the term domestication very loosely, as ownership or pets seems to be taboo, (Yet another example of political correctness gone too far.), as horses have evolved very little, (Not quite unlike the shark.), comparatively. & Finally, it shows the sad state of the world that we'd rather banish our elderly to aged care facilities (That is the correct term after all, but better known as the "Grim Reapers Waiting Room."), than allow them to find comfort & companionship in humans as well as our animal friends, whom for the most part are well cared for & seem to have no real objections to this co-dependent arrangement, (I don't see many cats or dogs objecting to a good old-fashioned pat or ear rub, do you?). & we see further polluting the environment with vehicle emissions because the experience of nature is generally some distance from most people, as a better alternative for our children to experience nature than for them to also enjoy the comfort & companionship, (An animal friend after all can keep a good secret better than most humans, wouldn't you agree?). Not to mention, the values they can learn from their friend if their parents are responsible owners. Sad indeed.

You say that the word pets has become taboo and politically incorrect, but that is only on this discussion board. 99.99% of people believe that pet ownership is normal, acceptable and desireable. The word slaves used to be accepted as the word pets is now. Maybe one day people will recognise that we should not own anybody whether they are human or not. I personally don't want to live in "the good old days before political correctness" where racism ans sexism was normal and ok, do you?

Old people do not need pets to keep them company in a lonely room -they need PEOPLE!

And what about the 90 year old woman who has no friends, no family and no mobility. She can't go out and meet people (Maybe she has someone who delivers her food ). Are you going to tell her to not have a companion to satisfy your opinion of the way things should be? And what about people who are being helped by therapy dogs. Are you going to tell them to suffer for your opinion?