Is it immoral to keep pets?

unoleian

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Most cats and dogs (especially dogs) are too domesticated to have any chance of survival without human intervention (I think cats are, by nature, much better equipped overall), especially if they aren't working dogs and are bred with undesirable survival characteristics (but desirable appearance characteristics), like pugs and bulldogs. Which, I think that kind of breeding is immoral, but that's not in the scope of this conversation. (But, if you must know, it has to do with purposefully giving an animal a significantly lower quality of life through forced genetic mutations, just so we can enjoy their snuffles and caved-in snouts, among other things.)

Abusing pets or fulfilling only their most basic needs (if that) is certainly immoral. One should NEVER take on a pet unless they're willing to go the distance with that creature. I cry silently inside every time I see a dog chained to a tree for the better part of its existence. That's not a life. And, judging by the plaintive barks of the dog, it's pretty clear it's fully aware of that, too.
 

BNguyen

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JoJo said:
GeneralTwinkle said:
Animals really, really like being pets. They love being it. Domestic animals =/= humans.
Not to pick on you in particular but I was anticipating this point coming up and I have to ask: how do you know they like being a pet? It's not like they can tell you in words and as a university biology student I can tell you that body language isn't universal across species, for examples chimps "smile" when they're angry.
that's pretty much their way of saying
"you're about to get fucked up"

I saw a program telling of chimp group aggressive behavior towards members that interupt the communal flow of life - they pretty much gang up on one and beat it to death
 

Cyfu

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JoJo said:
Picture the scene. You're just a human kid minding your own business when suddenly without warning, super-intelligent aliens take you away from your mother and into a strange new place run by other aliens. You can't understand more than a word or two of their language and most of it's simply unlearnable by human ears for various reasons, yet they scold or hit you whenever you do something against their arbitrary rules which to you make no sense. You are fed either scraps from the table, or second rate food they buy specially. You have to pretend to be eager and be a "good human" when your masters return if you want to ever get any treats. If you're unfortunate, they may live in an environment which you can't survive in and so the rest of your life will be confined to one small tank.

When they go out, you are left alone or in the car or tied up outside, or if you're lucky you might get to come along with a rope tied around your neck so you can't escape from your "family". If the aliens keep more than one human of different genders, then there's a good chance that they'll have you castrated to prevent the inevitable, or perhaps worse maybe use you as a breeder and then take your kids away before they're grown. The aliens have far longer a lifespan than humans and so when you get old and too expensive to keep, they have you euthanatised, cry a few crocodile tears and then forget about you when they go buy a new pet human. That is your life.
.

This may sound like a horror story but in fact it's the grim reality of the millions of animals kept by us humans as "pets". I often see discussions about the morality of eating animals, or farming them for fur, but rarely this question comes up so I ask you Escapists today, is it really morally okay to keep animals as pets or do animals deserve the right to be free?

Edit: I'll be away from the Escapist for a while for the time of writing, so I won't be able to reply to any more quotes on this thread from 10pm UK time onwards, just a head's up. Feel free to keep discussing the thread matter though ;-)
It's not immoral, because if you know a little bit about how the wolf society then you would know that how they are treated by us are many times better than they would have been treated in the wild.
seriously, ONE small thing that the higher ranked wolves find wrong and you'll be bitten. no matter how small and insignificant it seems.
 

Sejs Cube

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1. Animals do not have the same emotional or cognitive range as humans do. On the whole they cannot think in the abstract beyond a very limited context. The alien example is not comparable. It's flawed on many, many levels.

2. Do not overly romanticize life in the wild. "Oh boy, it sure must be better than being domesticated because freedom!". Freedom in the broad, non-immediate sense isn't something most animals can even grasp. More than that, living in the wild is not a pleasant experience. You are constantly exposed to the elements. For practically any kind of animal that humans keep as pets, you are in constant threat of danger. The drive for food is your overwhelming, almost solitary, concern because being able to eat it neither easy nor is it guaranteed. Your average pet-type animal living in the wild would live out every single day cold, starving, and afraid for its life.

3. Social grouping. Animals do not have some sort of secret pre-domestic ideal life that they long for any time their human keepers are not around. Animals are not that socially complex. If you own a dog, you know how your dog sees you? As a dog. You're part of its social group, you fill the role of caretaker and provider, obviously you are also a dog. You're basically its parent. It's much the same across pretty much any other species. Animals aren't that complicated. If you put lion cubs with a golden retriever that's had puppies, she will automatically assume those lions are baby dogs and go into her mother-routine behaviors. If you dress up piglets in little tiger stripe blankets and put them with a tigress who's had cubs, she will automatically assume they're baby tigers and care for them accordingly. If you behave like an animal's parent, providing food, shelter, and security, it assumes that's what you are. Social groups aren't abstract things for animals, they're quite simple and they're quite real.


Animal cruelty is intolerable and monstrous.

Keeping animals as pets is not cruelty, nor is it immoral.
 

Sagacious Zhu

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Immoral to feed and provide care for animals? No

OP's example doesn't hold much water. Dogs and cats aren't intelligent in the same way people are intelligent. They are capable of thought and reason to an extent but aren't self aware; they don't worry about much more than their surroundings. Dogs get along well with humans because it satisfies a pack instinct and cats are just happy to get a free meal.

Also, it is my experience that you can't really "keep" cats so much as you can persuade them to stick around with food and shelter.
 

Trippy Turtle

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It would only really be bad if you get owners that hit mistreat you. Hell, if I get nice owners thats always been a rather nice 'what if' of mine.
 

bullet_sandw1ch

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Hero in a half shell said:
We had a guy in at our school with birds of prey, he had an owl there and one of the things that really struck me was when he said in captivity an owls natural lifespan is about 2 years, before their dangerous, crappy lifestyle kills them. In captivity it's about 8 years. That's four times as long. Now I know that dogs and cats are different, and the extra lifespan won't be as much, but kept as pets the animals will survive longer than they would have in the wild, and they have a much higher standard of living.

Better food at regular guaranteed intervals, Shelter, safety, companionship, healthcare, kept clean, flea free, dewormed. All these are huge benefits for a pet. The only compromise they have to make is less freedom, a smaller area to excercise in, and (maybe) a lack of their own species to interact with.

It's a very fair trade-off, especially since most pets are born into domesticated families, and wouldn't survive in the wild anymore anyway.

EDIT: As far as how the animals feel about it look at this cat:




Does this cat look sad to you?
no, but it does look adorable!!!!
 

Vault101

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Sep 26, 2010
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no....its not imoral too have pets...PETS are bred to be our companions, if you treat them well its a great deal for everyone

now wild animals on the other hand is a different thing, they arnt used to domestication

fuck what PETA says,
 

Paradoxrifts

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If you're going to post an open binary question to an entire internet form, which the overwhelming majority of responses will be answers that you personally don't agree with, then I'm afraid to tell you that it just comes across as outright cowardliness not to include a poll.
 

Ariyura

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My cat lives better than I do. He came malnourished and hurt from a shelter and it broke my heart. His fur was falling out and you couldn't touch his head straight on so I pamper him.

Expensive food, heated bed, run of the house. I love him to death and I am not sure what kind of life he had before I got him but I won't let him go back to it.
 

Gitty101

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teqrevisited said:
If my cats didn't want to live here anymore they know where the doors are. As it is they keep coming back. They'd be able to survive out there, too. They've got birds, mice, rats etc all of which they are capable of catching.
Pretty much what the Ninja I'm quoting said. I have two cats, lovely animals with complete freedom. If they wanted to leave they wouldn't keep coming back.

As for the OP, you talk about animals experiencing things such as Stockholm Syndrome, advanced psychological conditions and then attribute their psychology to a lesser extent then a Human's. Not particularly good since you used a human for your main example. It's contradictions like these that are debasing your argument.
 

Potato Dragon

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JoJo said:
Secret world leader (shhh) said:
Yeah...i'm pretty sure more than a few people won't appreciate you comparing pet-owning to the slave trade...just sayin'.
Well, if they don't like it then that shows I've hit a tender nerve yes? ;-)
By that logic if say you make the analogy "people who keep pets endorse rape" if people disagree then that means pets are wrong. It just doesn't hold up.

OT: The same could be said of children, taken from an early age to some people they don't know then expected to be good, and befor you bring up speech i don't think a 2 year old can clearly convey their innermost feelings. There is also the problem that humans just like chimps are social animals, this makes them different to cats dogs and other domesticated animals because without a social group they will become depressed and this often leads to death (mostly through malnutrition).

In summery some animals are fine to take as pets others are no. This depends on the animal not us.
 

LetalisK

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Mortai Gravesend said:
...

Maybe you haven't noticed but humans kind of have a society that they can easily survive in without needing to worry about struggling to survive. We're social animals that need others that we can communicate with. Our needs are different from a dogs and will not be met by those aliens. Autonomy is important to us, whether it is naturally so or it is because we've been raised to value it already. It is not so important to animals, or at least it sure doesn't appear to be. It's absurd to put us in a similar situation when we're rather dissimilar from those animals.
Well, I wouldn't go THAT far. Give someone an unlimited supply of Big Macs, a perpetually high-end computer with high-speed internet, and a bucket to shit in, I'm sure there are some who would be fine with the occasional scratch behind the ear. <.<
 

Superlative

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JoJo said:
Secret world leader (shhh) said:
Yeah...i'm pretty sure more than a few people won't appreciate you comparing pet-owning to the slave trade...just sayin'.
Well, if they don't like it then that shows I've hit a tender nerve yes? ;-)

Phasmal said:
So, what exactly would you have pet owners do?
Release domesticated animals to suffer and die in the wild?

It's just not really a valid conversation to have right now. As already stated, domestication having already taken place kind of kneecaps any survivablity these animals might have.

Also, another note on the whole `abduction` thing... one of our cats was given to us pregnant and when she had her kittens she rejected them. In the wild they would have died. So I'm pretty sure the kittens were probably happier that we kept them.
To be honest this is more of a hypothetical discussion than a manifesto or actual proposal, if measures were taken to reduce or ban pet owning then likely what to be done would vary by species. Feral cats and dogs exist in many countries though, and more recently pets such as parrots or rabbits have barely changed from their ancestors so I reckon they'd have a good chance of reintergrating into the gene pool.

Zeckt said:
You don't have a pet, I'm afraid you just don't understand.
I'd argue I understand better than most pet owners, since my judgement isn't clouded by bias or justifications of my own past actions to do with the subject.
As many of you are well aware, Mr. Trolol has passed away recently. how do you mourn a man named trolol, by trolling of course.

I salute you, Jojo, for your most excellent, and appropriate act of mourning.