On Taxes, Veganism and “Pets”
Because I'm a highly-social, party-loving gal who loves to get gussied up and enjoy an all-nighter on New Year's Eve, I . . . did my taxes yesterday. And by "did my taxes," I mean I went through all of my income and expenses and created a spreadsheet for my accountant (I don't know enough to do my own taxes!).
This necessary task is often illuminating as there are some expenses I'm reluctant to tally in my head as the year progresses. One of those is vet bills, which of course aren't deductible, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't know the total.
I've written about my ambivalence regarding "pet" ownership/guardianship/insert-whatever-term-you're-comfortable-with, and also about my strong belief in helping individuals, but I don't recall addressing whether the having of pets is not vegan. Someone wrote me and, though the person clearly was trolling to insult someone, s/he accused me of not being a vegan because of greyhounds Violet Rays and Charles Hobson Booger, III (no mention of Emily, which made me feel terribly neglectful).
I'm doing my best in an imperfect world to respect the rights of other sentients, and I have heard vegans say that sanctuaries–and not pet ownership–will be the only way out of subjugation for cats and dogs. But I frankly never thought of not helping individual cats and dogs (through adoption) as an option for me. I remember the first time I read an article by a prominent vegan–maybe it was David Cantor?–who chooses not to take in animals because he respects them, and I agreed theoretically. But then I wasn't able to put that theory into practice once weighed against, say, the millions of dogs and cats who are going to be killed for the brutal crime of homelessness.
I think that most animal rights advocates believe that we shouldn't own pets, but that we're not at the point where that would do more harm than good right now. Do you agree with that?
The real question for today, though, is whether you think it's not vegan to keep nonhuman animals.