Millions of people around the world own pets, with many of these being vegans. However, as people who live their life wanting animals to be free from exploitation, is owning pets vegan? Is it ethical to keep animals in conditions far from their natural habitats, purely for your own enjoyment?
In my eyes, yes. 99% of the time that is. Cats and dogs have been domesticated for thousands of years, and there’s no way now they are going to regain their wild instincts. On the other hand, the selective breeding nature and the way these pets are bred is undeniably cruel.
Breeds such as pugs and Alsatians have undergone multiple physical changes as a result of selective breeding. With desirable features such as flat faces and arched backs causing multiple health issues across their lives.
There’s then the puppy farm industry, where young animals and their mothers are kept in squalor conditions. Buying from these farms only encourages the industry, and supply and demand takes place.
However, there’s an unbelievably easy way to get around this issue, don’t support it! You can own a cat or a dog without it being a pedigree, and without supporting the bastards who mistreat them. There are thousands of loving and deserving pets in shelters all across the world, and are all free to a good home.
There is nothing more kind and loving than taking in a pet who has been dealt a tough hand in life.
Is owning pets vegan if they’re exotic?
Cats and dogs are one thing, but exotic pets are another. Snakes, lizards, birds and other exotic animals have not been domesticated in the same way. They are extremely difficult to look after, and are often confined to small cages or boxes. While cats and dogs are free to roam the house and garden, there’s a reason birds are not let free from their cages.
They are often bought into the UK illegally and like puppy farms, buying from them simply supports their trade. Again, if it is rescued it may be a different story, but keeping these animals as pets is not always ethical.
What about food?
What you feed pets as a vegan is a whole other story, and will be covered in a separate article very soon! In a nutshell however, I would find it hard buying food for pets which supports the industry I try so hard to work against. Whether that means acquiring scrap meat or not feeding them meat entirely, is something yet to be decided.