Is it ethical to own pets

Pet-keeping is fundamentally unfair, as it involves manipulating animals’ bodies and behaviors. For centuries, the bodies of companion animals (especially dogs, horses, and rabbits) have been shaped according to human tastes and fashions. This can cause great physical harm to these animals.

Breeds that are prone to genetic defects, such as those with painful and often fatal symptoms, include certain species. Highly prized features, such as large or small stature or pushed-in nostrils, can cause discomfort in breathing and birthing.

Even animals that are not bred for specific purposes can be subjected to bodily manipulations that impede their safety and comfort. These include constricting clothing, painful neck leashes, docked ears and tails, and declawing, which involves the severance of the first toe of every cat. The daily movement of pets is also restricted. They are sometimes caged or crated, and they are kept inside at all times.

Making the case against animals Shutterstock

Pets symbolically reinforce the idea that vulnerable groups are owned and controlled by more powerful and privileged groups. This has consequences for vulnerable groups of people. As an example, sexism can be maintained in part by treating women as pets (e.g., “kitten,” ‘bunny’) and by confining their physical existence to the home so that they will please and serve patriarchs.

Social workers also recognize that there is a strong link between the abuse of pets and the abuse of women and children at home. It is in line with oppressive culture to believe that manipulating the minds and bodies of vulnerable groups to serve the interests of more powerful groups is acceptable.

Cannot consent

Companion animals’ lives are controlled almost entirely by humans through domestication and forced dependence. The animals can be killed at any time for trivial reasons such as behavioral “problems,” belonging to a stereotyped species, or not being able to pay for veterinary care.

The concept of ” Total Institution” was introduced by the sociologist Erving Gofman in the middle 20th century. In this system, residents are isolated from the wider society and under a single authority within a closed social space. Artificial barriers are removed between social spheres, and a socialization process is carried out to ensure inmates conform.

For example, sociologists often look at prisons, mental asylums, and physical spaces. Pet-keeping is a dispersed institution. It is because animals that are not human beings are forced to be under the authority of humans, restrained, and resocialised. Under such circumstances, true consent is impossible. The animals are trained to take part, and those that are not able to adhere to the social rules are punished, sometimes fatally.

It is not meant to imply that other species, such as dogs and cats, cannot feel love and joy. It is important to recognize that the complacency of pets is often manufactured by humans through “corrections” of behavior and the manipulation of the domestication process itself.

What would the world be like without pets?

Nathan Winograd is one of those companion animal advocates. He is the director of the No Kill Advocacy Center in the US. Winograd argues that stopping pets would be a violation of the nonhuman animals’ right to exist. Winograd is convinced that the killing of companion animals, even healthy ones, can be reduced by restructuring the sheltering industry. He does not believe that pet ownership should be banned, given the capacity of humans to adapt and show compassion.

Adopting a pet at a rescue center can give an animal a second chance. Shutterstock

Winograd’s position in favor of pets reflects disapproval towards some animal rights groups, who often support “euthanasia policies” to reduce pet populations. If a no-kill society is achieved, then many ethical violations would still exist, including non-consensual confinement and forced dependency. Winograd suggests that a higher level of legal protection could be performed to improve the standard of living for domestic animals.

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