Saturday Morning Coffee

International Affairs Specialist by day, Blogger Enthusiast by night. This is a sneak peek into my world that should be enjoyed with ample time and a good and very strong cup of java.

Pet Controversy

Throughout my early childhood years, I remember vividly wanting a pet, a dog in particular. I suppose I met the usual resistance from my family, thinking that it’s a lot of work, a lot of responsibility and also, knowing how kids can be, could have been an impulse prompted by the neighbor’s new cat or best friends’ new guinea pig. But…it wasn’t and my family finally gave in to getting our little dog (which I sometimes write about here) and it was a good decision. She’s still little and cuddly, but she’s old and treated like a queen – maybe better than a queen :S She is a part of our family and has given us a lot of laughs.

I think it’s great that animals have integrated nicely into our domesticated lifestyles, so much so that we go to great lengths to make sure they’re safe; rescuing a dog  on an iceflow; or in the middle of  flood waters. We’ve also created blogs and reported on pet safety and health. It’s just a testament to how far we would go for the furry members of the family. And so, when cases of abuse or mishandling of animals is recorded, we are right to be outraged and upset, just as we would for people.

Are Animals People?” by an Ethics Professor, Margaret Somerville, breeches the subject and tries to name the relationships that humans hold with animals and what our behavior should be toward animals and what the law enforces.  It’s a complicated subject; how do we differentiate those that we have as pets and those that we consume for dinner? Sommerville claims that there is a responsibility to protect (sounds like familiar political jargon used in international circles?), but not to equate animals with humans – I assume she means domesticated animals. Slippery slope, indeed and it opens many doors. Protect = do not abuse, provide loving home, teach behavior, provide medical  attention, put down when necessary.  We do the same for our loved ones, don’t we? All but the latter, which some may argue is what we should be doing.

When you think about it, we really do go to tremendous lengths for our pets, be it a dog, cat, hamster, potbelly pig or bird and when we see them abused, homeless or hungry, our hearts reach out to them, much in the same way we do for humans. I know that animals are not the same as people; their knowledge, capabilities etc. but knowing my own dog’s (aka *baby*) role in our family, it’s hard to say she isn’t a part of us.

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This entry was posted on 02/02/2010 by in Ethics, Journalism, law, policy, Politics, wildlife.

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