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How We May Be Doing Our Pets More Harm Than Good

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by Michael John Scott

Esther Woolfson was at a street corner waiting for the light to turn when she noticed that the young dog being walked by the man next to her was wheezing. It might have been a pug or French bulldog, “but he’s one of those that now form a widespread, snuffling, breathless band of canine respiratory distress,” she writes in the Guardian.

The sight prompts a question she raises in an article that might not sit well with pet owners:

“What made this man and others seek out and pay for creatures who may live shortened, suffering lives?”

To be clear, she’s not just speaking about these breeds or even about dogs alone. Woolfson runs through a laundry list of afflictions suffered by all kinds of dogs and cats in the name of selective breeding.

If you’re thinking, ‘well my dog or cat isn’t a special breed so this doesn’t apply to me,’ that’s not Woolfson’s point. She raises questions about the whole concept of pet ownership, and the “casual cruelties” humans inflict on animals that have become wholly dependent on us for their survival. Take spaying or neutering.

Lots of pet owners choose that as the right, even moral, thing to do, “but while it may be convenient for owners, there may be future health consequences for the animal, such as obesity, cancers or joint disease,” writes Woolfson. Not to mention that it’s a “denial of the natural right of another being.”

Read the full piece at the Guardian, or a longer version at Granta.

Edited via Newser.

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Posted by on August 12, 2020. Filed under CRITTER TALK. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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One Response to How We May Be Doing Our Pets More Harm Than Good

  1. Glenn Geist Reply

    August 15, 2020 at 9:01 am

    In the wild, there are no natural rights. That’s an entirely human concept. Life is and has been nasty, brutish and short and has been for over three billion years. Animals live in constant fear, hunger, pain and disease. Few if any die of old age. Wolves developed a symbiotic relationship with us for mutual protection and hunting but it developed into more. In return for herding and guarding sheep, they no longer have to worry about food and shelter. Working dogs don’t think they’re working, doing what they love. A mutual affection between species may seem offensive to some, but I think this romantic idea that animals deserve “freedom” is projection and vanity spiced with ignorance.

    Of course breeding animals that have to suffer because we like ‘cuteness’ is a different thing. Another form of human vanity. But neutering animals is hardly cruelty since we do it to prevent suffering and again, the idea that a dog thinks he missing out for not having urges he can’t fulfill is simply stupid. Neutered dogs live longer and healthier. Mine are happy creatures, enjoying life and affection and comfort. If PETA objects, perhaps we should turn them out naked in the wilderness to see how long it takes before they stop talking about freedom.

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