This book is incredible.
I only wonder just how much impact I let it have on my life.
This non-fiction book is vitally important and comes at a time when these issues really do matter.
So. Some words of introduction:
Virtually any comment or review will be met by a simultaneous barrage of those in absolute agreement and those who vehemently disagree.
I view this as the ‘shit and opulence’ philosophy. This thinking has become pervasive and is a significant cognitive distortion practised by those who inhabit any social media comments section or who critique others work. The world appears to have moved to the point where everyone is a critic and most of those people expect that their voice will be heard and who do not take any other viewpoint as ‘valid’. The Internet has fed this black-and-White thinking and we are now at the point where if you do not score 9 or 10/10 on net-promoter-score scales then that is counted as a ‘negative’. Nuance has been lost in a black and white world. It’s either ‘shit’ or ‘brilliant’.
The reason for my diatribe is this: it is almost impossible for ethically complex topics to be explored and debated when black-and-white thinking is the prevailing environment.
So. With that in mind, I ask you to ‘leave it at the door’
Owning pets is an ethically complex issue. It is not a right, nor is it essential.
This book explores those issues and right from the start it digs into some serious stuff. There is a very interesting exploration of the reasons why people choose to keep a pet and why they choose not to keep a pet. Rather curiously it appears that desire to keep a pet is rather selfish on behalf of the person wishing to keep a pet but a decision not to keep a pet is largely based on reasons which are based on thought for the animal.
I do not have pets. This is a conscious decision based on the fact that I could not offer a pet a suitably enriching life (pet centred). I would like a pet but I also see the tide of despair which is left behind by much pet-ownership and I no longer wish to be a part of that.
I will continue to work to the very best of my ability to make the lives of those pets with which I interact, the very best they can be. However, should I allow owners to fail to take action just because their budget does not allow it? Every day I face challenge in this regard. It is tough to convince pet owners to do the best for their pets health and nowhere is this more obvious in the commoditisation of pet health.
This book is US centred but that is only because the author is based in the US. Much of what is written is universal.
There is a particularly challenging chapter on animal-human sexual relations and if nothing else convinced you that the pet-industry is somewhat immoral then this should help. Zoophilia is nasty and I’m not about to find out just how bad. It may well be that it is the human side of this which is at fault but without a normalising pet industry, this wouldn’t exist. Having seen suspect non-accidental sexual injury in animals, I can attest to the suffering involved.
Want another fact? There are more pet tigers in the state of Texas than there are in the wild. Let that sink in and tell me that pet keeping is just fine and dandy.
Please also tell me that it is fine to keep your pet rabbit in a hutch in the back corner of the yard and let it sit in its own urine to the point where the skin is so damaged that flies lay their eggs. Those eggs become maggots and the rest is history. It may be an ’emergency’ when you finally notice but neglect is neglect. Are you really any better than someone who has sex with animals? The suffering can be just as bad.
Should we keep pets? Is it ok ? Probably. However I think it is something which requires a lot more discussion and exploration. Start with this book.