real faces of animal rights, animal welfare, the freedom correspondent

The Freedom Correspondent: Should we keep pets?

There is a large black stray cat in my house.

A few years ago I adopted him from a shelter, where if I hadn’t he probably would have been euthanized by now.

He is happy. He eats whatever he wants, sleeps whenever he wants and generally acts like the boss, day in day out.

Despite my best efforts to cajole him outside of the house so he can get some fresh air, he doesn’t like it very much. Not at all.

Nowadays, even pet ownership is coming under attack from so-called “animal liberationists.” For any of you who may think pet ownership is wrong, I suggest you sleep on a park bench for just one night. Maybe the attraction of life in “the wild” might be recontextualised for you.

Needless to say, my much-beloved feline won’t be joining you on that park bench. He clearly doesn’t want to go back to his former life. Every time he is locked outside of the house he starts banging on the front window asking to be let back in.

If you are an animal rights activist, you probably argue that animals must be free. For some, just using the word “pet” is disrespectful to animals, as it suggests that they are our playthings rather than companions.

Anyone who has owned a pet knows the reality, pets often dictate the agenda in the household. Being a pet is not slavery, it’s the furthest thing from it. Living in a loving home, every need catered to and no need ever to experience the harsh realities of the outside. For them that domestic bliss is far more attractive than the harsh alternative.

This makes me think of zoos, a kind of halfway between domestic and wild (and again cruel if you listen to PETA.) Is it okay for animals to be kept and bred in captivity?

realfacesofanimalrights, the freedom correspondent, animals, pets, animal rights, animal welfare

Animals in zoos are unquestionably safer than if they were in the wild. Again they live in environments catered to them, with healthcare, shelter and usually a community of similar animals around them. Not only do zoos preserve endangered species with specific breeding programs and veterinary care, but they also encourage the public to get closer to the animals, increasing both awareness and education.

Many zoos provide a lot of space for the animals to roam free. How is that torture and abuse?

All this talk of cruelty shows an ignorance of the wild. In the wild an animal attacks another and kills it savagely. With zero consequences. Just think, if that situation occurred in a zoo or in someones backyard for that matter it would be seen as evidence of their cruelty.

The same applies to farmed animals. Again maligned by the PETAs of this world, people working within animal agriculture are experts in animal care. They devote their lives to learning about and caring for their livestock, whatever the end purpose might be. Surely such experts know more about animal welfare than any amateur animal rights activists.

Personally, I tend to think that in the real world animals are more exposed to abandonment, cruelty and neglect out in the wild than in a professional setting or in a loving home.

I love my cat. And I hope it’s mutual. I would be a little devastated if I knew that my cat only pretends to love me back in order to get affection and food.

But even if he did, I don’t think that would change much. It’s my duty to protect it and many (including I suspect my cat) who choose to spend time closely with animals would agree with me on that.

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