I've been wondering about what current practices might be considered barbaric in the future, and if owning pets might be one of them.

 

First of all, I despise the thought of 'ownership' of an animal. They are literally treated as property. And stemming from that, it seems like a pet can almost be a prisoner, even if treated in the most kind manner in any other way. Pets being cooped up inside the house, or chained up outside. I realize this is partially for their own protection, so they don't get run over by a car or attacked by other animals, but there still often seems to be an element of control "dressed up" as protection, as another person I know put it.

 

Most pets cannot survive on their own anyway, so some will say that people have a responsibility to look after them. But the only reason this is so is because people have bred them to be that way in the first place. The very same breeding that made them amenable to living closely with humans is what lost them their ability to survive independently. Is it ethical to keep it as a self-perpetuating tradition?

 

I am aware that many pets are content to stay with people, they always return home if they are able to roam free, and have very close attachments to people. I see nothing wrong with this. But I feel uneasy with other varieties of pets that are not so content, even if there is no mistreatment. A house is just a large cage for them. I can never come to any conclusion on this matter though, it seems so grey and fuzzy.

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i agree to some extent, but on the other hand, the most common species of pet have no natural habitat besides captivity. that's a tough one.

 

honestly, i have similar concerns about keeping a human in captivity...

Again, that is only because humans bred them that way.

 

Not that I'm advocating letting them all free, but what I'm getting at is if the breeding of certain animals for captivity is ethical. For the sake of argument, let's assume it is. If we agree that their guided breeding should not have happened in the first place, what are the ethics of continuing to carry it on? Letting them loose is not an option however, because so many would be killed, and the the ones that survive would cause ecological damage.

 

Some breeds I think should simply be phased out. Some dog breeds cannot even give birth without a C-section, because their heads are too big. This seems like plain and simple irresponsible breeding.

yeah, some breeds are walking crimes of genetics, and it's probably cruel to allow them to live.

 

but as i've said before, natural does not mean good. as long as the animal is able to live a life it is comfortable with, i don't see a problem.

I agree with that, and I think I already said something to that effect in my first post. Urgh, it's hard to articulate my thoughts on the conflicting issues though.

I am not a big fan of pets that have to live their whole lives in cages, exotic pets taken from the wild, and other such situations where an animal doesn't have a good life and people think more about owning this cool-looking animal than how it actually feels.

 

Some animals, though, have gotten to the point of evolving along with humans and having a symbiotic relationship. Cats and dogs with caring owners usually do have healthier and happier lives than they would on the streets, where they can get hit by cars, fight with other animals, get diseases, and have lots of unhealthy babies, which leads to an overpopulation of miserable animals many of which die. Allowing pets to be outside whenever they feel like also has environmental consequences. Being totally against "ownership" of cats and dogs for the principle of their alleged enslavement seems kind of like political views that put principle ahead of quality of life. Animals are also different from people in that they don't understand abstract principles.

 

 

it would also depend on the animal. even in terms of caged animals, a ferret is an animal that requires physical activity, while birds tend to need social and mental activity more than physical.
Dogs have been with man since before recorded history, as such humans and dogs have evolved to live alongside each other (cats have been with people for alittle over 2000 years I think, and from what I see they still seem to be more independent then dogs) Dogs are happy living with people, and vice versa...but I would not contribute any other creature to this partnership; tigers, furrets, chinchillas have had their own evolution more towards the wild and should not be kept as 'pets' (I think cats shouldn't be kept as well but this is all my opinion)
i don't know if it's quite that simple. if you read your plato, captivity is somewhat in the mind of the beholder. there is certainly no thought of escape in my cat, she think she's undergoing torture if her food is slightly too dry. but the only difference between a cat raised in captivity and a tiger raised in captivity is size.
Yeah, that has to do with the animal not thinking in abstracts. And being "owned" by an adoring owner who gives food, affection, toys, treats, etc is one of the times where lack of abstract thinking is beneficial (undergoing painful medical procedures is a time when it's detrimental!)
suffering, however, while subjective to some degree, is not abstract at all, so maybe the issue is happiness and well-being, rather than liberty. there simply is no "principle of the thing" to most if not all other forms of terrestrial life.

Cats have also been associated with humans since the days of ancient Egypt and I think they have become entwined with humans (I don't know of any strains of the species that have evolved completely free of humans). They are more independent but they still do bond with humans. There have been "studies" about how cats know how to manipulate their owners to get what they want--which doesn't come as a shock to most people with cats. Cats can also be very affectionate and loving, and a bundle of nerves when their people go away for a long time. Not just because of food, but for boredom and fear of abandonment. I think it's more of a matter of cats bonding with humans in a way that is different from dogs, because they are a different and less socially structured species.

and like i say, the big cats behave the same as the little ones when living with humans. the difference is size. a little cat has a mood swing and takes a swipe at you, you get a scratch. your pet tiger does the same, you lose your face.

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