Can Vegans Have Pets?

Can Vegans Have Pets?

(The short answer is yes, vegans can have pets.)

Have you heard this one?

“Animal rights extremists want to end all animal use! If they succeed, you will not be able to keep a pet.”

Or how about this one:

“If you’re a vegan, you can’t have a dog.”

Some people feel threatened by veganism and try to find loopholes. They look for anything. They’re the same people who point to recycled rubber shoes and say, “You’re not a vegan because you’re wearing leather!” and then walk away before you can explain that it’s NOT leather. They’re ridiculous and wrong.

Even vegans who are opposed to pet ownership don’t want to take family pets away from loving homes. Vegans do not want to put animals in bad situations or remove animals from good situations. We just want to save lives and protect animals.

And even if some vegans are hypocrites (who say they’re against all animal use, yet buy pets from pet stores) that says nothing about whether or not omnivores should adopt a plant-based diet. It’s unrelated.

It’s better to try to be as vegan as you can be than to eat animals. It’s better to be an imperfect vegan than to be an omnivore who looks for loopholes in veganism. Your choices are:

  • Do less harm by eating a plant-based diet, or
  • Do more harm by eating meat.

It really is just that simple.

As Matt Ball at Vegan Outreach wrote:

[T]he issue for thoughtful, compassionate people isn’t, “Is this vegan?” Rather, the important question is: “Which choice leads to less suffering?” Our guide shouldn’t be an endless list of ingredients, but rather doing our absolute best to stop cruelty to animals.

But let’s answer the question, Should vegans have pets?

It’s up to each individual, but my opinion is this: If you rescue animals, great. That’s not doing harm, that’s doing good. But if you buy a “pet” from a breeder or pet store, that’s doing harm. That’s creating a market for breeders, including puppy mills. Moreover, that’s formalizing the animal’s status as property, not as family member or companion. Buying animals, dead or alive, is not vegan.

Pets = companion animals = nonhuman family members. For simplicity, I’ve used the common word, “pet,” to refer to all animals kept as human companions.

46 Responses to Can Vegans Have Pets?

  1. I agree with you that rescuing animals from shelters and other such institutions is a wonderful thing, and that breeders are cruel. The thing that has always bothered me about my companion animals is feeding them. I have a cat that I feed meat to, even though I don’t eat meat myself. Although there are companies that produce vegan cat food, I haven’t seen a lot of literature that indicates that cats can live a healthy vegan lifestyle, although dogs are able to. (If there is information saying otherwise, please direct me to it).

    ~ Recent blog post: Beware of Deer at Dusk ~

  2. They’re the same people who point to recycled rubber shoes and say, “You’re not a vegan because you’re wearing leather!” and then walk away before you can explain that it’s NOT leather. They’re ridiculous and wrong.

    This reminds me of an episode of Life I’ve been meaning to write about. The case (it’s a cop drama) involved the murder of a cancer researcher/vivisector; the main suspects were the members of a SHAC-like anti-vivisection group (mainly because their group name was spray painted all over the crime scene). When the cops went to interview the group, they noted the leader’s shoes, which appeared to be leather. (To paraphrase, “If you’re vegan, why are you wearing leather shoes?”) Turns out, the shoes were made from “Bob,” the group’s founder, who had passed away and willed his body to the group.

    And it only got better from there (SPOILER ALERT: the animal rights advocates didn’t do it!). So many shows play into the whole green scare meme, I was more than a little psyched that one of my favorites cleverly skewered it.

    Sorry for the total threadjack, says the vegan with six companion animals ;)

    ~ Recent blog post: Witches and leopards and piggies, oh my! ~

  3. I’ve encountered the argument that vegan’s want to rid the world of pets several times. Usually it’s backed up by a quote, taken out of context, made by someone like Wayne Pacelle or Ingrid Newkirk. From what I’ve seen, it seems to be an organized attempt to discredit compassion for animals (though I haven’t looked to closely into it). I interpret this stuff as very desperate attempts to confuse the issue.

  4. “Buying animals dead or alive is not vegan”
    I really like that statement and agree with it wholeheartedly. However, I have similar issues as karmalily and that my problem lies with feeding my 4 rescue cats. Yes I buy meat cat food, no I’m not happy with it but I have made the choice to have pets and this is something I either have to learn to accept or get rid of my cats. The second choice isn’t even an option so I just have to learn to live with it.
    Does it make me a hypocrite?
    Probably if someone really wants to pick bones, pun intended. But out of all the choices I have made in life – feeding my beloved cats meat is really low down on the priority scale right now!

    ~ Recent blog post: Vegan MoFo Day 31: MoFo youyou ~

  5. Buying animals, dead or alive, is not vegan. ABSOLUTELY agree.

    I often wonder what a vegan future would look like if we were to attempt to keep all the omnivore (pet) animals alive… Or the “wild” ones who could not be released into their habitat for whatever reason. The best senario I can figure is that the (other) animals who died a natural death would be used(?) But would that be “enough”? A good solution to this problem has always eluded me – I suppose vegans (animal lovers) could donate their bodies… But would that be “enough” (?). Someone help me out here – I just don’t know how this part would work.

  6. For the two people above who feed their cats meat, don’t feel bad. Humans evolved as plant eaters, and if I have a right to eat the food that my body needs, then so do cats, who are obligate carnivores. I personally think that feeding carnivores a vegan diet is harmful, and slowly killing your companion animal in order not to kill factory farmed animals doesn’t make sense.

    It’s an imperfect world, and we are oftentimes forced to make a “less bad” decision instead of a good one. Feeding cats meat is a less bad decision in my opinion. It’s not perfect. Perfect, after all, would be not having domesticated animals in the first place. Perfect would be humans not needing pets because we live in an abundant world full of plants and animals that we interact with daily while we forage. What we have now are concrete jungles, and the wild places have diminishing numbers of animals because we’re afraid of them getting too close, so we kill anything that steps even one inch into human territory.

  7. We have cats, too, and we feed them meat. (We feed the dogs vegetarian or vegan dog food. Dogs are not carnivores the way cats are – dogs can eat as herbivores.) I am hoping vatmeat will become a reality so I can feed the cats testtube meat instead of dead pigs, dead chickens, dead fishes, or dead cows.

  8. I have a cat that I feed meat to, and I have a dog who is now mostly vegan! That took a while because he was so picky and he has skin issues so I had to be careful with switching his food. I say he is “mostly vegan” because when he’s with my sisters or my parents I know they feed him meat, but when he’s at my house (95% of the time) he eats vegan now. It took a while to find the right food, but I’m glad I could switch him over. As for my cat – I agree with everyone above….what else can we do? I don’t want to harm her or kill her, so I do feed her meat, but in the grand scheme of things I’d say I’m doing pretty well. Oh, and both were rescues – I wouldn’t have it any other way!

    ~ Recent blog post: My Little Halloween Monkey! ~

  9. I would think that it’s a matter of perspective as to what constitutes “buying”. That is, if you pay someone for a dog it does not imply that you see it as property, but simply that they will not be willing to part with it unless you give them money. If you believe you can give that dog a better life (than with someone else who does see it as buying) and live with eachother just fine, then why not part with this money which in my opinion is simply a representation of your hard work? My point is, even vegans (wait, especially vegans) can be a victim to this point of view. Simply spending money to “buy” a pet does not mean you see said pet as property.

    On another note I’m thrilled to see that its possible to get vegan dog food. Awesome.

  10. Personally, I am not anti-vegan, but I am against pushing vegan diet on obviously non-vegan creatures. Examples being vegan cat food, etc. From personal observations, I saw that ALL my cats hunted a wide variety of small critters for food. The only time they ate vegs was a bit of grass so they could poop better. That was their nature so I let them run free. Animals are awesome and already equipped with instinct to live. Don’t try to fix what isn’t broken.

  11. Hi, I grew up in a milk cows farm, we also had pigs, hens, some sheep, and we used to eat our homegrown vegetables and the meat of our animals. Very soon I became a vegatarian as I couldn’t stand kill for my own profit an animal I had been friends with (and I had this irrational feeling that putting inside my body something that was dead couldn’t be healthful), but I dind’t see wrong on eating eggs, or cheese or wearing wool sweaters, as I felt that our animals were being treated right. Later I’ve discovered the vegan philosophy, and I’ve begun to question whether I was right assuming my parents’ farm animals are happy. I sort of feel like that 19th century plantation owner who says it’s right to have black slaves as he treates them well. The animals we keep are slaves to us. So I made a google search to see what vegans think about having pets and came up with your blog, I think you have explained it well, and in the end is everyones’ choice. We have set the world in a way that makes almost impossible being vegan, where would those cows go without the farms? What would the farmers do? Where would the dogs, and cats go, as nowadays those species doesn’t really exist in the wild? We made the decision for them, but we did it so long ago that I don’t know if this can be changed.

  12. As a recent vegetarian trying to be vegan, I have a dog as a pet. I feed my large breed dog a non vegan diet, he is almost twelve years old and I don’t want to cause any major disreuptions in his life…he is happy and healthy. In the future if I rescue a dog, I will start him/her on a vegan diet.

  13. Vegans having meat-eating pets is hypocritical, plain and simple.

    You are causing tons of animals to die with no chance to escape to feed your pet. You are supporting factory and fur farming, as many pet foods are made from the animals from these places.

    Is your dog better than hundreds of cows, chickens and pigs just because you have an emotional attachment to it?

    Would you have gotten a dog/cat/ferret if you had to personally slaughter its meals?

    You may have rescued one dog/cat/ferret, but you’ve condemned other animals to death.

  14. Rawr,

    Food animals are killed for the primary purpose of feeding humans, not feeding pets. The major problem is human use. If more people see the vegan view and stop eating animals, cultured meat will develop, which removes the whole moral dilemma.

  15. I have three dogs, two of them adopted, and taken from a precarious situation in the street in the rain, cold, bring the poor that unfortunately some people do not feel or see the suffering of animals in extreme situations, and I I feel very loving animals, especially “dogs,” and we are a family at home all vegan, trying to use all the products we need every day, without being tested on animals or use leather in shoes, no clothes, I do not understand why some people desdicen what is obviously a Vegan can have a domestic animal, when they are most in need. Never buy animals, even my dogs are Vegans also eat their vegetables, and I think vegan. What’s wrong with that ?…. just a matter for them to justify their actions, simply. You can live Vegan, indeed is the best choice and the best animal welfare Nohumanos.

  16. I agree it would be wonderful to have a world where animals are not treated as property and not bred for property. It would be an interesting world ( and a bit sad…) when all of our loved pet’s, being no longer bred, were to disappear. To a certain extent, I think most of us have a love and respect for animals because we have grown up with them. Would we then become distanced and vague regarding animals in the wild ( since there would be no other….), when we cannot see, touch, hear or interact with them beyond national geographic videos? What an interesting world it would be…..

  17. Colleen,
    Your logic is faulty. Animals will not “disappear” if humans stop breeding them. They can and will reproduce on their own.

  18. Which animals? Of course those in the wild will….it’s the way of life……but in general breeding animals in captivity is frowned upon by most vegan circles. Rescue’s yes…. but breeding for profit is discouraged. I meant only to imply that without structured breeding in captivity there will be no more pet’s. Where would they come from? I suppose accidental breeding….. but what I meant to imply was purely hypothetical. A “what if…”

  19. Cats and dogs won’t be purebred, but they will exist.
    Cats and dogs tend to enjoy the company of humans. They won’t live exactly as they do now, as property of humans, but they will likely share living space with humans.

  20. ive got 2 dogs, not bought. they are both vegans, one from the early days till now (about 2 years), and second from october 2008 (ive ‘found’ him). they are ok. i never buy meat. and i dont see a reason to seek for meat in garbage and give it to my dogs. they dont need it. look well, run well, bark well – they are healthy :D
    im vegan too of course.

    I think the same – vegans should not buy animals. Im still thinking about having dog if you are blind. It is specially trained dog, breeded, and selled to help people. it is still exploatation. but… how many dogs are breeded just to make profit of the “owner”? how many animals die just for meat?

    And what about buying race horse after his “career”? Some vegans and animal rights activists buy them. I support this action. It is better to pay for his life, than leave to sell him for meat. Nobody will stole this horse. Im not only in virtual reality…

    regards from Poland
    r

  21. To whoever wished to know how to have a vegan cat, here is info. I had a cat for a year that I raised vegan. He was a kitten and thrived on it. Changing an already meat eating cat is difficult. Cats are obligate carnivores. they require taurine which is usually found only in meat. Go here: http://www.vegancats.com
    They sell supplements to put in your cats food made from seaweed. They also have a book called ‘ Obligate Carnivore” It will answer all your questions.

  22. Dear Coleen:

    I think you may be right, and your friend Eccentric Vegan may be off target: I´ve read that pets or domestic animals that are freed become “feral” animals, “feral” comingo from the latin word “fera” which means “wild beast”; or as in “fiery” or “feracious”. The domestic animals turned into feral animals may contribute to the extinction of indigenous species. At worst, they may cause what some scientists have called “genetic pollution” and create stranghe hybrids. The australian “dingos” are feral dogs but they have been in existence for over 3,000 years,so is hard to tell what would happen if we let our pets go into the wild nowadays. Certainly it is a controversial issue among vegans themselves as you can see in the comments on this blog.

  23. No one is suggesting that “we let our pets go into the wild.”

    But the reality is, the world could survive without cat and dog breeders. Life would go on and everything would be OK.

  24. There is nothing wrong with providing an animal a loving and comfortable place to live. The problem stems from people capitalizing on this industry by means of puppy mills and other inhumane business activities.

    Just like with food, people can vote with the choices they make. Don’t spend money on the designer dog; Instead, adopt a dog in need of a home.

    Just as important, understand that you are making a HUGE decision by taking in an animal. Understand what it will cost and how it will change your lifestyle.
    .-= Blender Benefits´s last blog ..Nov 30, Braun Blenders – High style blenders at an unbeatable value! =-.

  25. Wow, this is an interesting topic. If we look at Mother Nature, we see that she made carnivores, omnivores and herbivores. Without human hands and heads interfering, a dog will indeed work in the wild to procure some meat – its teeth are designed for this – nature MADE it that way. A cat is a total carnivore. It’s body is MADE that way, by nature. I think it’s great to reduce animal consumption – both to end suffering and pollution – but you cannot pretend to be greater than Mother Nature. Best is, if you are strict vegan – get a herbivore pet. Goat, rabbits, etc – there’s LOTS of these animals that have been abused and NEED to be placed in HOMES. IF you have a cat, try to get food (meat) that was slaughtered as humanely as possible. Sorry to say this, but a GOOD marksman hunter who has respect for animals will often have extra, wild-raised meat. Many people with native American blood still consider hunting a spiritual endeavor and respect and pray for the meat they take. This is better than factory-farmed sickly animals made into pet food. All in all, life on this planet sometimes does suck! Think of your immune system – it’s constantly killing things that want to live too (bacteria, parasites, germs…). I hope I didn’t offend anyone, but rather, pose some alternatives. First, let’s try to support the most humane sources of meat possible. I agree with the comment above: Don’t torture YOUR pet just to save the life/lives of other animals. It’s a conundrum…

  26. I agree that this is a dilemma. I was particularly confronted with the dilemma when a friend asked me point-blanc “If you’re vegan, what do you feed your cats?” Of course, the question wasn’t meant thoughtfully, but was a challenge intended to poke a hole in the concept of veganism as a whole. But it is something I’ve thought about myself. The animal flesh in our pets’ food is usually the waste from factory farming and slaughter and isn’t in any way “natural” for them to eat. I know cats would scavenge if they couldn’t find live prey or didn’t get pre-packaged pet food from their human every day. But the pet food industry is not just an off-shoot of human food industries but feeds directly into it. By purchasing pre-packaged cat food to feed our friends, we are supporting the human food industries we despise.

    The original definition of veganism which I found on wikipedia states that vegans avoid the consumption of animal products AS FAR AS POSSIBLE OR PRACTICAL. I wish I had understood this definition when confronted by my friend. I see how that can be an easy out for a dilemma like that of pre-packaged pet food, but I’m willing to stick with it until I find a better alternative. I really like the idea of finding an herbivore pet as an alternative, or feeding an adopted kitten a vegan diet from the start. But then again, I prefer to adopt older cats because I believe they’re less likely to be adopted than kittens (in other words, if I leave the sweet kitten I see at the SPCA, opting instead for the middle-aged cat, odds are the kitten will be adopted by someone else). I think what we need to ask ourselves as people concerned about the lives, well-being, and mental welfare of non-human as well as human animals is what someone wrote above: what choice will cause the least possible suffering? We are fallible beings, not flawless angels. And inevitably any actions we take can have some negative consequences somewhere.

    Another comment on the whole “pet” phenomenon is that I believe many non-human “pet” animals are the companions of humans by choice. The so-called domestication of cats and dogs has really been a cooperative evolution between them and humans. Indeed smaller wild cats and dogs found their way to human communities because that is where their prey (mice, rats, and other “varmin”) went, to feed off of human scraps. It has been a mutual relationship, the cats and dogs taking care of those unwanted (usually human-viewed) thieves, and what a perk it is that we have grown in many cases to love each other. It is unfortunate that pets have become a human-owned commodity. It is also terrible that, like spouses and children, pets provide targets for abuse by many humans. But for most of us participating in this discussion, I’m willing to bet that our cat and dog friends wouldn’t leave the homes they share with us even if the door was held wide open for them.

    That leads me to another dilemma thought, however, which is the question of whether or not to neuter your companion. Both “yes” and “no” could be vegan answers. The “yes,” as Bob Barker would enthusiastically tell you, implies the decreased births of millions of animals who would inevitably be abused or relegated to life on the streets. The “no,” however, bugs me at times. This is not an operation your friend can consent to. And it is an operation (when performed on humans) that is quite a lot more than frowned-upon among humans. As with the pet food, I will continue to neuter my pets until I can think of an alternative that would cause less suffering and/or have the opportunity to NOT neuter them (it is often a requirement to do so when adopting a pet). But what do others think on this matter?

    Thanks for this very thought-provoking discussion. Peace.

  27. … I really like the point you make that
    “pet food industry is not just an off-shoot of human food industries but feeds directly into it. By purchasing pre-packaged cat food to feed our friends, we are supporting the human food industries we despise.”

    Yes, you are so right.

    Gosh, I could rant on and on about just this! Yeah, if you look all around, almost 99% of the food available is seriously MESSED UP. If it’s not soaked in pesticides and genetic “goofing around with,” – as is with almost every vegetable – well, then it’s been tortured, genetically messed with, and sickly – doused in antibiotics and fed dirty and sickly food – as is all animal product food out there. What kind of awful philosophy have we all allowed to infiltrate our food chain – our very base for survival? Not only that, but the water we drink has now been found to be contaminated with pharmaceutical waste products that won’t break down in the eco-system. So we ingest everyone’s Viagra, steroids, blood pressure meds, anti-depression meds, ADHD meds, and statins that we don’t need or want. It’s like eating and drinking food that’s contaminated with radioactive pollution – the half-life of this stuff just won’t break down.

    And never mind the corn fetish our country feasts upon… Not only have we so messed up the corn crops that now almost ALL corn has been contaminated with genetically engineered crap (thanks, Monsanto…), but there is high fructose corn syrup in EVERYTHING. And I mean, EVERYTHING… And then people wonder why we’re all getting fat no matter what we do, and we wonder why all the kids nowadays are so hyper, overweight and sickly… Does ANYONE on this planet ever read the INGREDIENTS anymore? Does anyone ever contact companies/gov’t depts and corporations and politely but persistently request better quality food anymore? Am I the only person that does these things, I sometimes wonder??? Does anyone even care??? Really, if we would just clean up our food supply and stop treating living things (animals AND vegetables) like garbage that’s only good for turning some profit – well then maybe we could get the health of our country improved (and therefore greatly lower healthcare costs – hello?).

    What’s worse, is the entire APATHY from our great society… They don’t even care. It’s like the whole population is just sitting there with their mouths agape, waiting for anyone to pass by and throw some sickly, artificially “prettified” food in there for them to wolf down. People nowadays really don’t care what crap they shove down their gullets – from a health or ethical perspective. Why doesn’t anyone even care?

    Now that I’m all worked up over nothing, I better go off in the corner and meditate! :-)

  28. to me it is ridiculous to question if vegans can have pets when we are they ultimate pet lovers, we try our best not to harm them in anyway.
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  29. why is harming or creating a market for harmed animals in order to feed your pet or family member/companion ok and vegan?

  30. So wait, feeding a carnivorous animal meat is hypocritical? I justify feeding my cats meat cat food in the way that I know I can live a happy, healthy life not eating animal products, but cats cannot be completely healthy if you cut all meat out of their diet. Whether I feed them or the shelter feeds them, the cats would be eating meat. I’m a vegetarian, but my cats are not, because by nature they do not have that choice. I’m sure if I started feeding them “vegan” cat food, they’d go out and hunt birds and mice instead, or just get sick from malnutrition. Meat is natural to a cat’s diet. Just as meat is to a lion’s or shark’s diet. I hate animal suffering, and how humans have exploited the industries, but realistically, animals feed on other animals in the wild.

  31. I am not anti-vegan, but veganprimate is wrong! All studies have shown that humans come from omnivorous cultures, which is why we have incisors and molars. The Olmec is considered the earliest civilization, and they ate a varied diet. Sorry to nit pick, but had to point it out.

    I agree that keeping meat-eating pets is a little hypocritical, particularly if you have a few – that’s often more animal product that many meat-eating folk eat. Also agree that it is not natural to keep carnivorous animals on a vegan diet as their gut is not designed to process just vegetable matter, and they really do need meat to stay healthy (I don’t believe this to be true of people, despite the earlier statement).

    My mother and I are both vegetarian and she has 7 cats. One thing she has done to cut down on her meat buying is she does a 50/50 cat food meat/cooked rice mix. The cats love it and it has no ill effect on their health. Just an idea if you have animal companions, don’t wanna feed them vegan food, but want to cut down on animal consumption. I have rabbits. I don’t have to touch meat.

  32. We share our home with 2 cats and a greyhound. They are NOT property- they are family members! I DO NOT “own” them in any way. I do, however love and care for them. If anything, the cats “OWN” us- and they know it!! Think about it. We feed them, provide veterinary care, give them love and affection and clean their litter box. We like to joke and say that we are Ben and Charlie’s “human slaves”. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

  33. I guess this dilemma has what forced me to rethink my ways and to ultimately decide in favor of not having any cats. I’d try feeding them vegan food anyway….with several choices that are available at http://www.vegancats.com. Basically, where I live precludes this possibility, plus the cost is quite higher than buying cheap and crappy standard kibble fare. Actually, many places still have yet to produce these revolutionary vegan pet foods that are available in select countries. I might also mention that I bet these foods are healthier than non-vegan pet kibble foods

    I just cannot morally embrace the idea of helping fund animal agribusiness in any way, shape, or form. I don’t believe that a cat or a dog has any more inherent right to have comfort and love than a cow, pig, horse, chicken, sheep, goat, etc… So, I cannot rectify this dilemma in a satisfactory way for peace of mind as I contemplate buying any animal products, even for companion animals. Yes, AA does largely exist for human comsumption of its meat products…but if you are still buying from them, it’s blood money….It’s additional money we are putting into the most cruel and inhumane corporate business in the world which is not only astronomically cruel, but contributes to environmental degradation and unhealthy living all-around, not to mention what it does to wildlife and even to native peoples. I know we are not all perfect, even though we are vegans who do so much good for animals in general, but we grasp that we all can do so much more if we really try our utmost. I can only put my energies into what I believe in and fight for animal rights… I try not to be too judgemental and hard on my fellow vegans, and I hope to get the same treatment. We can point out irregularities and voice our opinions respectfully, though. It has been interesting to read the comments.

  34. I think chickenhead makes a good point about spaying/neutering. I make a point to have my animal companions spayed/neutered because there simply aren’t enough loving homes for all the animals that need them. On the other hand, an animal cannot give consent for the operation. Any opinions?

    Also, the idea of not buying from breeders is a bit of a paradox. Purchasing pets from breeders encourages inhumane or questionable breeding practices, no doubt about it. But the animals that they already bred need good homes, too. Just because they were born under the wrong circumstances, that doesn’t mean they should die that way as well, as an example to humans. The only viable solution is for inhumane breeders to grow a conscience. call me when that happens.

  35. On spaying / neutering… I love animals, and the companionship of a good dog or cat is something many of us have enjoyed in our lives. But our lives are not completed by our pets, nor do we complete theirs. There are roles only members of our own, and their own, species can fill. I for one think surgical sterilization of animals is sometimes a good and responsible thing, but I see spaying and neutering as utterly barbaric.

    People don’t get spayed and neutered for contraceptive purposes. Women have tubal ligations, they don’t have their ovaries removed. A man may choose to have a vasectomy, he doesn’t get castrated! That’s what spaying and neutering means. It is the barbaric, total mutilation of an animal to prevent breeding by the most cruel and extreme measure possible, short of simply killing the animal. I’ve spoken with vets who say that pets will be “happier” that way! I guess those vets must have run out to thier doctors to have their balls chopped off so they could be happy, too!

    Some argue that they don’t like the idea of their animals having sexual urges, they find it unseemly or it offends their sense of morality. This hateful intolerance of an animal’s true, honest nature is disgusting. As a man, I would rather be killed and eaten by my non-human enemy than to be castrated and forced to live a life of utterly submissive servitude licking the hand that force feeds me a stinking dead squirrel or whatever a member of that cruel species dictates. Honestly, just because it’s legal to cruelly castrate a dog or cat to force your sexual morality or control over it, and to forcibly constrain its food consumption to an unnatural state, that doesnt’ make it right. Yet it’s legal and very commonly done, just as it is common to force feed pigs in feed lots, constrained knee deep in their own excrement and then kill them and eat them.

    Let’s say I can get it that a proper vegan wouldn’t sheer their sheep to produce wool clothing, eat the unfertilized egg of a chicken to sustain themselves, or consume the milk of a cow because it exploits the animal even though no physical harm is done… So why would any vegan find it acceptable to cruelly mutilate a pet animal for convenience, for “morality”, or to change an animals innate drives, behaviors or moods? Indeed, with effort you may find a vet who will provide a tubal ligation or vasectomy for your pet, but most vets will think you’re a crazy nut for caring about the animal’s “rights or feelings”. The same vet probably just artificially inseminated a sow in a farrowing cage, a cage just big enough to stand up and lay down in, but not to turn around or to resist having a a loaded dildo shoved into her so she can give birth to another generation of piglets, never leaving that tiny cage. It’s commonly done, so it must be right, right?

    I am not a vegan, but I do care deeply for animals. I find it ridiculous that any vegan would go so far as to so completely mutilate a pet and destroy its nature to force it to conform to an unnatural life. If you hate the animal that much, why have it as a pet?

  36. After searching for over a year for a rescue of the same species, I bought my first parrot from a breeder. I regret making that decision, but I would never give her up now. (I’m actually vegan because of my birds, but that’s another story). My second (unexpected) bird was a rescue. Because of all the unwanted/abused animals already in existence, I would only ever adopt a rescue animal. I do feel that they should not be “pets” and in an ideal world they would be in their native environments – but they are making do with me :)

  37. here’s my 2c on the matter.

    to be vegan is to STRIVE to avoid the use of animal products, directly or indirectly. just because a vegan takes a taxi that has leather seats is he a hypocrite? sure why not. but who cares? just like any ol religion or creed or belief or political association, veganism is not being on or off, it’s a set of goals that we STRIVE to fulfill.

    only an idiot starts splitting hairs when it comes to the taxi scenario above. but still I agree, yes I’m a hypocrite, but every morning I wake up to strive for the goals I value.

    people who dislike vegans or any belief system of any sort like to point out flaws and shortcomings and then claim that because of that “you’re not a X”. go fly a kite, my friend.

    anyway, back on track: I don’t think vegans should have carnivorous pets, adopted or bought, because there is a huge pet food industry that uses animal products behind that little cutie. even if you rescue fluffy from the pound, you are increasing demand for more pets, and therefore more pet food products.

    it’s just one degree of separation from saying “I might aswell eat this burger, the cow is already dead”

  38. I disagree with you saying that if an animal is paid for, then it is property, although I wuold agree with you about mistreated animals from breeders or puppy mills.; I think buying an animal from a respectable and respectful-of-their-animals pet store can be okay. I have two guinea pigs from a pet store who I consider part of our family. I never say I own them, and I do not view them as property, I simply care for them. However, I think that getting a pet from a rescue centre is almost certainly a better thing to do if you can, as it helps the animals more. My only disagreement is with the implication that people who pay for their pets view them as property rather than companions.

  39. If I may put in my own grain of salt, please allow me to rectify a few misconceptions :

    1) Domestication is not a finality that happened 10 000 years ago or so. Animals are being domesticated every day with the very same techniques that were used from the very beginning. It is an ongoing process. If you stopped controlling them for a while, your nicely civilized and subdued pets would revert back to some of their less-welcome natural habits before you knew it. This is not to say, however, that they could survive on their own. Some rare ones do, but because they are so denatured, most cannot. So it would be absurd to set them free on principle. Also, this would cause insurmountable environmental problems for our own species. However, if collectively we chose to stop buying into it, domestication would cease to exist. It’s a simple question of supply and demand. And this is true for all catgories of animal use including pets.

    2) Pets are not truly pampered as most people presuppose according to their own anthropocentric criteria. The world doesn’t begin and stop at one’s doorstep. Some pets are better treated than others, whatever that means, but unless you look at the big picture and take into account the issue as a whole you are blind to the true nature of this very subtle form of exploitation. Here are a few of these aspects taken from a very thick file: the making of pets (factory farms are just one aspect), the legal and illegal trade of exotic and more familiar pet species (counless species are subjected to ferocious trade), genetic diseases due to intensive breeding (this represents millions of dollars of veterinary care), food related diseases (most of pet diseases are from iadequate diet), anatomical deformities (countless breeds are disfigured for esthetic reasons), psychologial effects of captivity (animal psychology right now is the most sucessful branch of the pet industry), the physical conditions of captivity, surgical mutilations (declawing, spaying, tail docking, ear triming, anal gland removal and their complications), medical anthropomorphism (the animal medical care fallacy viewed from the animal’s cognitive perspective is a form of abuse), vaccination mania, effects of domestication in general on health and longevity, the disease of euthanasia, etc.

    3) Sometimes it’s cruel to be kind. We use various shows of affection to cover up the fact that we are actually using pets just for fun, to make our lives less dull and fastidious and to create wealth and jobs. But this is another con job.

    4) Categorization of the issues. Also, I think it’s a mistake to categorize the animal condition. It’s much more efficient, energy-wise, to treat the problem as a whole. While you are busy defending Chinese dogs or chickens, you are not dealing with what you yourself are innocently doing in your own backyard. For me, the pet link is the strongest of the chain. It is where our efforts should be concentrated to blow this whole thing apart, but it is where we put the least amount of effort, I suppose because it looks so innocent on the surface. If activists actually acknowledged this, the whole chain of exploitation would crumble in no time. But the large majority of animal protectors and their leaders have pets and refuse to make the link between our use of pets and our use of other animals. Most of these protection outfits actually get their funding from pet owners who are under the impression that enslaving a pet for one’s comfort and pleasure is rather virtuous. Those held responsible for the pitiful animal condition are mostly far from home, at farms and laboratories and in foreign countries. There’s a lot of bad faith involved. Like the saying goes, no mask is more dangerous than the one of virtue.

    5) Nature cannot be used as a moral justification for our behavior. We find everything in nature, from stealing to infanticide. In other words, if we looked to the natural world to answer our ethical quandaries, any behavior could be justified.

    6) Adoption from a shelter is certainly a more conscientious way of exploiting a pet, but unless we also deal with the core issues, it just feeds the problem viciously. Puppy mills and lack of sterilization are not the root causes of the surplus pet problem. And we are all accessories to the fact the very instant we get a pet, no matter where we get it and how we treat it. Animals are certainly paying the toll. Millions of unwanted pets are destroyed each year by the mushrooming business of pounds and recycling outfits in disguise, euphemistically called “animal shelters” or “humane societies.” And millions of others are cruelly exploited under the auspices of kindness.
    For every animal saved, countless others are handed a death sentence, or worse. Every animal on a leash, or lavishly displayed on the PETA website or on the cover of one of Ingrid Newkirk’s many books on pets for instance, is a publicity board which implicitly states: “The exploitation of others (nature, people, and animals) for our sole pleasure and comfort is morally right, natural, legitimate, and irrevocable.”
    Is it really the case though?
    And if not, when will we change?
    How many animals must we adopt, how many more studies, forums, laws, reforms, protests, and campaigns must we orchestrate before we realize that what we are doing to pets is not better than what we are doing to laboratory animals, farm animals, zoo animals and the like?
    To paraphrase Patrick West, author of Conspicuous Compassio11, a book I strongly recommend to any would-be animal lover, if you do genuinely care about animals, don’t just adopt an animal, become a vegetarian, wear an empathy ribbon, or give money to a pound or PETA. If you want to stop animal abuse, leave your ego at home, get to know yourself a little better, ask yourself why you really need an animal, and more important, consider your motives for helping them, and the real consequences of your words and actions. Most of all, next time you profess that you care about animals, try to look at the facts behind the good intentions. More often than not, the only animal you really care about… is yourself.

    I could go on for pages…

    Former longtime veterinarian

    Charles Danten

  40. I was just wondering if its vegan to own a snake?, since a snake only eats meat nothing else and rats/ mice are bred to feed the snake can be bought dead or alive that contributes to animal abuse raising mice/ rats for slaughter. Just wondering.

    I’m a strict vegetarian attempting to do a vegan life style but i adopt a lot of homeless pets cats, dogs, birds, and reptiles. and all but the birds eat meat and even the birds need eggs in there diet. so i don’t think i can ever consider my self a vegan as i buy foods and products for my animals that are animal based though i do not consume any of it.

  41. I am a vegan who does not own pet.
    why do we need to own pets?
    If you own one is it hypocritical to feed it other animals. You would save more animals by killing your pet. Think about it, you saved one animal and then you feed it dead animals for it’s entire life,

    Cats kill over a billion birds a year, if you own a cat you must keep it in doors. If a cat is not sleeping it is hunting.

    And all you dog loving vegans out there with neurotic dogs that bark all day when you are gone.
    for the little pleasure you get from your dog, your are disturbing everyone’s piece and quite.
    To few people who are actually in charge of their dog, not the other way around, thank you

  42. Animals are not propety, fashion accessory, or kid’s toys. I’m sure many people share this idea. I like to think of myself as guardian of animals when they are in my house. I feed them, protect them, and padding them. I provide them with enough space to go around.

  43. I think we all just need to make our own boundaries.

    I have an amazing cat. He is a good friend and I care about him deeply. I raised him from 10 weeks old. He seems to have a good, stress-free domestic life. I go out of my way to buy him the food that is right for his physiology (an obligate carnivore), not the supermarket crap filled with gluten. (He’s majorly gluten-intolerant). I keep him indoors, and walk him outside with a leash so that he doesn’t get lost or cause environmental damage.

    As an individual, I really don’t think my cat gives two hoots about possible ‘violations of his rights’. He just wants what everyone else does: a warm place to sleep, some nutritious food, some entertainment and safety. Anything else is getting a little anthropomorphic and therefore, is probably disrespectful in a way. I feel it’s better to respect animals for who they are.

    Further, he is a being with his own needs, not a lifestyle accessory. I find it offputting to think that because I’m veg*n, that I should force my feline cohabitor to be as well, just so I can say “Look at me, I’m a pure vegan! Even my pet is vegan! How cute!” Like some sort of Vegan Barbie. (Only $39.95, Tempeh included!)

    Respect for animals, to me, is all about respecting their limits and boundaries. Think about it — if I had a human friend who was unable to communicate or feed himself in any way, I wouldn’t take that as an opportunity to push my beliefs on him. It’s just not right in my eyes.

    I love having animals around. Unfortunately, I don’t live in the wilderness or a rural area. While domestication sucks, our existing domestic animals are often lovely creatures to know and share our lives with. Why discriminate against them? They just want to be treated kindly and respectfully. As long as we’re doing that, I really can’t see a problem.

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