“Free Buddy”: Is it Hypocritical for Animal Advocates to Own Pets?

Tyson-Lord J. Gray

DogAnimal cruelty on factory farms, in zoos, and in amusement parks are all leading concerns by animal advocates and many have gone as far as to compare these industries to the human institution of slavery. Animal advocates who endorse such arguments often fight for the protection of these animals and make large donations to Friends of Animals, Mercy for Animals, and PETA supporting improvements in animal welfare. Yet, rarely does their concern extend to household pets.

However, many of these organizations are not only opposed to the inhumane treatment of animals, but to pet ownership as well. Each year approximately 7.6 million animals enter shelters, and of those 2.7 million are euthanized. Consequently, animal rights activists are vehemently against the breeding of animals for domestication and prefer that individuals adopt animals from pounds and animal shelters as oppose to purchasing them from pet stores or breeders.

Animal advocates who purchase pets from these businesses therefore, are merely cherry picking forms of animal cruelty in which they are opposed to while being complicit in others. While it is perhaps easy to argue that keeping a whale that can swim up to 100 miles a day in a concrete tank to perform tricks is cruel; who is to say that it is not equally as cruel to confine domesticated animals to small apartments in the city or relegated to a fenced-in backyard in the suburbs?

For these reasons, most animal rights activists oppose all forms of animal ownership and only recommend adopting a pet when it is to lessen the suffering of an animal that is already in the world. In these instances, they regard themselves as animal stewards as opposed to pet owners. It would appear then that if animal advocates are genuinely concerned with animal cruelty, they would not only reject the obvious cruelty to animals in factory farms and via vivisection, but that they would seek to abolish all forms of animal ownership. For if the institution of slavery has taught us anything, it is that there is an intrinsic contradiction in owning another living being.

5 Responses

  1. […] Source: “Free Buddy”: Is it Hypocritical for Animal Advocates to Own Pets? […]

  2. Reblogged this on Tyson-Lord J. Gray and commented:
    Check out my article on Animalblawg regarding pet ownership.

  3. What? The righteous person considers the life of the non human animals. They will consider the parts that can make life. They like sex as much as us if not more. They should not be altered after they have breed them. That is not considering them at all.

  4. This is an incredibly specious and nonsensical argument and what one would expect from a member of Peta , an organization that could write the book on contradiction and hypocrisy; the issue is not simply about the confinement of domesticated animals as pets or the right to own any animal as a pet, but how we deal with the human-created problem of overpopulation of so-called domestic animals; and, unfortunately, for better or worse, adopting into our homes has become one of the few alternatives left to us…unless. of course, you subscribe to the PETA philosophy of a “good death” which means the mass killing of savable and healthy animals; true animal advocates are indeed uncomfortable with the term “ownership” and most certainly see companion animals as family members rather than the owning of fellow beings; the fact is domesticated animals depend on human caretakers, even if not of their own choosing, and there are no utopian solutions to be offered from a world that is just catching up to the fact that all animals have intrinsic value.

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