On the Having of “Pets”
I was going to get into the "pet owner" versus "pet guardian" debate, until I realized it’s based on the premise that it’s okay to have "pets" (i.e., animals kept for our amusement or companionship).
Ideally, every species would live in the manner in which it was designed to live and in the environment in which it was designed to live. And all would would be good.
But the real world in 2006 is a bit sketchier.
- Nonhuman animals live in countries they shouldn’t be living in because we brought them there (the same is true of many plants)
- They are continuously pushed away from where they are living by our obsession with developing and drilling and extracting
- The cat and dog overpopulation problem is largely our creation
Given these facts, it seems like the humane thing to do is to intervene in the lives of the tame nonhuman animals that we already have a history with. Read: cats and dogs.
Humans have created calamitous problems for cats and dogs:
- We play God by continually producing breeds that shouldn’t exist
- We breed and breed and inbreed them, which produces dogs and cats who are less healthy, more prone to behavior problems, and have shorter life expectancies
- We don’t spay and neuter
The overpopulation problem is a direct result of our actions, and we are morally obligated to fix it. Providing loving, safe, stimulating homes for them is part of that plan.
But I wonder if it should be, as many people cannot be trusted to provide a loving, safe, and stimulating environment.