A lot of people consider themselves to be animal lovers, some even call themselves animal rights advocates. A lot of these people even own pets, but is it possible to own a pet and be a supporter of animal rights?
I am going to say straight off that it is possible to support animal welfare to a certain extent while a person owns pets, however it is impossible to be a true supporter of animal right if one owns pets, particularly if they own pets such as cats, dogs, ferrets, and similar animals that require meat in their diets.
First of all owning any pet is a violation of their rights. Just as it is against the rights of a human to be “owned” it is against the rights of an animal.
Further more cats are carnivores, they need meat in their diets. Ferrets also require meat. Dogs can live on a vegetarian diet but few owners actually put their dogs on vegetarian diets. As such owning any of these pets ensures that livestock animals will suffer and die to feed the pets.
You might wonder how this is any different from wild animals (lions and wolves) making a kill. Livestock animals are not living happy lives, they are often “warehoused” and bred over and over just to produce more animals that will be slaughtered. The slaughter process allows little chance for escape, there is no “survival of the fittest“. If an animal is in line it is going to be killed. The livestock animals suffer for their entire lives (particularly chickens and pigs) and are given no rights at all.
Beef cow, a breeding machine, photo by author
Pet parrots and other pet birds have their rights violated when they are put in cages or have their wings cut. This also is bad for their health as flying is good for their heart.
Hamsters, rabbits, and other small pets are often kept in tiny cages with little or no mental stimulation. Their rights are most certainly being violated.
As such, if a person claims to support animal rights while owning a pet, they are contradicting themselves.