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Recently, I read an article about how the term “pet” is insulting to animals.  To which I say “rly??” or perhaps “srsly??”  (I would say “really” or “seriously” but it doesn’t seem to give the same sense of bewildered exasperation over the stupidity of this all [yes, stupid]).

I currently have two dogs.  They are pets.  They are indeed animals that provide a degree of close friendship but that doesn’t change the fact that they are pets.

pet

noun \ˈpet\

: a domesticated animal kept for pleasure rather than utility

My two dogs are domesticated animals that I keep around pleasure rather than utility.  It’s not to say that they aren’t helpful in keeping unwanted solicitors away from the door and keeping annoying wildlife (yes, wildlife) to a minimum in the yard…except for mockingbirds.  They don’t do a thing about mockingbirds (shakes fist).  But anyway, they’re housed and fed and attended to because I like having them around and the other stuff(s?) are just bonuses.  It’s terribly entertaining to observe them going through their normal routines.

So, could someone explain to me how calling them “pets” is derogatory?  There’s nothing in the definition to suggest that the term is derogatory.  I’ve never had any indication from my dogs that they find the term derogatory.  They’ve never tried biting me when I called them pets.  They don’t give me the silent treatment when I call them pets.  They don’t bark incessantly when I call them pets.  They don’t walk off in a huff when I call them pets.  Actually…I’ve never had any indication from any domesticated animal that was kept for pleasure rather than utility that they found the term derogatory.  So where did that even come from?  Apparently not from the animals.

Maybe…don’t you think…just a little…that these academics are overthinking it?  That they’re trying to force their way of thought upon the animals (and just about everyone else)?  If the pets don’t care that they’re being called pets, why should they?

“We shall not be able to think clearly unless we discipline ourselves to use less than partial adjectives in our exploration of animals and our moral relations with them,” they say.

Yeah…so, I don’t see how calling my dog a pet hinders me in treating them morally.  You don’t beat your pets senseless, you don’t expect more from them than what they are capable of (i.e. if you left a plate of food on the counter within reach of your dog and the dog overturns the plate and eats all the food, that’s your fault dummy, not the dog’s…what you expect self-restraint from a dog?), you take care of their needs.  That’s moral.  That’s also my responsibility as a pet owner (yes, owner).  So, I would say calling my dog a pet even helps me treat my dogs morally as it calls to mind the responsibilities I have with keeping them around.  I dunno.  My thinking seems pretty clear in how I should be treating my pets.

I’m sure PETA will pick up this story and run with it.  PETA…well, I won’t go into detail about what I think of PETA.  Suffice it to say that I believe them to be fanatically doing a lot of nothing to support the cause they say they support.  In any case, my dogs are still my pets.  I’ll continue treating them as if they were my pets.  And by the way, have you ever considered that “companion” is already a euphemism for something else?  Now that’s just gross, calling them “companion animals.”

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2 Comments

  1. Can I be a human carer to my companion plant? Or is plant derogatory?

    • Well, I think in your case “carer” would be the derogatory term. Why would a plant, or photosynthetic multi-cellular eukaryotic organism to be politically correct, need someone to care for it? They are largely self-sufficient as it is and what sheer brazenness of a human to believe that they are somehow caring for the photosynthetic multi-cellular eukaryotic organism…


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