Is it immoral to keep pets?

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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 ;-)

I mean this in the nicest way possible.

Dogs, cats and other pets are too stupid to know that they're pets.

Also, my dog seems very happy with her life.

Better food than in the wild, better healthcare than in the wild, better beds than in the wild.

The wild seems kind of lame :D

You haven't really given any reason for us to believe the creatures are superintelligent, you've just put a human in the place of a dog.

A human is not a dog, a human is more intelligent than a dog, and humans being more intelligent than dogs matters.

Daystar Clarion:
I mean this in the nicest way possible.

Dogs, cats and other pets are too stupid to know that they're pets.

Also, my dog seems very happy with her life.

Better food than in the wild, better healthcare than in the wild, better beds than in the wild.

The wild seems kind of lame :D

And the thread is already over.

Dogs don't think the way we do, they don't reason the same. All of my dogs think we're all a big pack, and they obey us because to them, we're higher up in the chain of command. And they don't resent us, they all fucking love us. So, yeah, not the same situation.

Daystar Clarion:
I mean this in the nicest way possible.

Dogs, cats and other pets are too stupid to know that they're pets.

Also, my dog seems very happy with her life.

Better food than in the wild, better healthcare than in the wild, better beds than in the wild.

The wild seems kind of lame :D

/thread.

Animals are different from Humans. Their lives are often improved by them becoming a pet (assuming they have responsible, loving owners) whereas Humans are supposedly intelligent creatures who can think for and look after themselves; to take that away from us would make us prisoners.

Daystar Clarion:
I mean this in the nicest way possible.

Dogs, cats and other pets are too stupid to know that they're pets.

Also, my dog seems very happy with her life.

Better food than in the wild, better healthcare than in the wild, better beds than in the wild.

The wild seems kind of lame :D

Pretty much this. Two of my four dogs I took from the streets, They were beaten, hungry and were scared shitless. Now they're healthy, well fed and safe.
What would you prefer? Slowly die of hunger in the streets or worse. Or be put in a safe home?

Pet animals are far, far too stupid to know this :P If you adopt them when they're young, they forget their family. And if you don't adopt them when they're young, then they've probably been abandoned and are happy to be in a family.

I love my dogs, and they don't mind just sitting in a bed for hours. Greyhounds are the laziest animals ever.

Animals really, really like being pets. They love being it. Domestic animals =/= humans.

That's a bit overdramatic, don't you think?

I've had pets all my life, and I'm pretty sure if they were secretly despairing and suicidal from the `capture` we would have noticed. All my pets have been happy and loved- `crocodile tears` my arse. (Also, I do not hit animals)

My animals were always members of the family.

I seriously doubt they would be happier in the wild where the chances of surviving to adulthood are low and they would struggle for food and probably die painfully.

Phasmal:
That's a bit overdramatic, don't you think?

I've had pets all my life, and I'm pretty sure if they were secretly despairing and suicidal from the `capture` we would have noticed. All my pets have been happy and loved- `crocodile tears` my arse. (Also, I do not hit animals)

My animals were always members of the family.

I seriously doubt they would be happier in the wild where the chances of surviving to adulthood are low and they would struggle for food and probably die painfully.

Reminds me of this picture :D

image

Dogs knew exactly what they were getting into.

Hmm, i suppose you kind of have a point. I'm sure many cats would rather live in their natural way rather than be declawed and neutered. I know i'll get people saying "oh but they're well fed and safe and loved etc" but is that really worth it? Humans have evolved to live a life of indoor safety and pre-packaged food, why should we enforce that on animals?

GeneralTwinkle:

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.

Ask my cat, he's allowed to come and go almost as he pleases (we do try to make him spend the night inside due to certain local wildlife), but when he shoulders my bedroom door open, jumps on me, crawls up my chest, buries his head under my beard and starts purring before I've even touched him, I'm pretty sure it's because he wants to. When he's not in that mood he finds somewhere that other people aren't to perch.

In reference to body language, I'm pretty sure cuddling and purring are not presentations of anger, though purring doubles as a stress marker (female cats often purr when birthing, for example).

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:

image

Does this cat look sad to you?

JoJo:

GeneralTwinkle:

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.

Have you had a pet?

You can easily tell what they like/dislike, when they're happy/sad etc...

For example, it's obvious when they're eager for something - They start being very exited and jumping around.

When chimps smile angrily the rest of their body language shows they're pissed.
Dogs especially, are very emotive. The reaction of getting treats is the same as me coming home, or patting and playing with them. If you've had a pet, and you had trouble telling if it was happy or not, I'm not sure you should have one.

Schadrach:
Ask my cat, he's allowed to come and go almost as he pleases (we do try to make him spend the night inside due to certain local wildlife), but when he shoulders my bedroom door open, jumps on me, crawls up my chest, buries his head under my beard and starts purring before I've even touched him, I'm pretty sure it's because he wants to. When he's not in that mood he finds somewhere that other people aren't to perch.

In reference to body language, I'm pretty sure cuddling and purring are not presentations of anger, though purring doubles as a stress marker (female cats often purr when birthing, for example).

Maybe it's just an extreme case of Stockholm syndrome?

My God...that's it! All animals just have extreme cases of Stockholm syndrome!

PETS OF THE WORLD! The humans are not your friends! Throw off the lease of oppression and pee on their carpet to show your dissatisfaction! Wait...they can't understand this text, can they?

The humans won't let them learn! You guys are basically the monarchs keeping the serfs down and not allowing them learn so that they can know how badly their treated! It's just a vicious cycle of oppression!

GeneralTwinkle:

JoJo:

GeneralTwinkle:

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.

Have you had a pet?

You can easily tell what they like/dislike, when they're happy/sad etc...

When chimps smile angrily the rest of their body language shows they're pissed.
Dogs especially, are very emotive. The reaction of getting treats is the same as me coming home, or patting and playing with them. If you've had a pet, and you had trouble telling if it was happy or not, I'm not sure you should have one.

I had goldfish when I was a little kid and as far as I can recall they had just two body language signals: alive and dead ;-)

But I have friends and grandparents with dogs and cats and I've seen the owners often ascribe emotions or thoughts that are clearly too complex for that sort of animal onto their pet, so I suspect that often what an owner reads as "happy" is actually "give me more food / water / toys" etc or something different entirely. Stockholm syndrome is a thing too, aside from the joking quip by Tippy above me, perhaps your pets don't realise how happy they'd be in the wild with their own species?

Hero in a half shell:

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

image

Does this cat look sad to you?

He doesn't look particularly happy to me. While the face suggests smiling, cats don't do that. He looks like he was caught at one end of a meow, with the partially open mouth. He's not angry, since the posture and the ears don't suggest it, so he's probably trying to ask for something. He definitely expects the camera holder (or someone behind them) to respond.

This goes back to the whole body language thing -- while animal body language =/= human body language, they aren't that hard to understand if you are paying attention to their more expressive parts.

Secret world leader (shhh):
Hmm, i suppose you kind of have a point. I'm sure many cats would rather live in their natural way rather than be declawed and neutered. I know i'll get people saying "oh but they're well fed and safe and loved etc" but is that really worth it? Humans have evolved to live a life of indoor safety and pre-packaged food, why should we enforce that on animals?

I'm pretty sure cats don't like being declawed either, which is why I didn't have that done to my cat.

But neutered, have you ever seen a female cat in heat? It is not even a remotely pleasurable experience for them.

JoJo:

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.

Maybe by not looking at individual characteristics and read into their overall behavior. A chimp may smile when angry, but I'm pretty sure they're probably doing other things as well that makes their anger very apparent.

If it shows no remorse or distress after being taken away from its parents, then there's no problem. Dogs and cats aren't like us, they wouldn't miss their parents and this way they get food, water and shelter without even trying. Where's the immorality in that?

Psykoma:

JoJo:

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.

Maybe by not looking at individual characteristics and read into their overall behavior. A chimp may smile when angry, but I'm pretty sure they're probably doing other things as well that makes their anger very apparent.

Anger isn't the only negative emotion. It's not surprising that pets often don't appear to show dislike towards their owners when they're conditioned strongly via rewards and discipline to react in a way their owners desire. What's interesting is the similarity between many of the arguments on this thread and the arguments made by slave owners several centuries before: "they aren't like us", "they have a better life as a...", "they couldn't survive on their own".

JoJo:

GeneralTwinkle:

JoJo:

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.

Have you had a pet?

You can easily tell what they like/dislike, when they're happy/sad etc...

When chimps smile angrily the rest of their body language shows they're pissed.
Dogs especially, are very emotive. The reaction of getting treats is the same as me coming home, or patting and playing with them. If you've had a pet, and you had trouble telling if it was happy or not, I'm not sure you should have one.

I had goldfish when I was a little kid and as far as I can recall they had just two body language signals: alive and dead ;-)

But I have friends and grandparents with dogs and cats and I've seen the owners often ascribe emotions or thoughts that are clearly too complex for that sort of animal onto their pet, so I suspect that often what an owner reads as "happy" is actually "give me more food / water / toys" etc or something different entirely. Stockholm syndrome is a thing too, aside from the joking quip by Tippy above me, perhaps your pets don't realise how happy they'd be in the wild with their own species?

Well, considering we rescued one from the wild who had practically died, I really doubt it.
And dogs are actually more intelligent then you think.
You really have to have a pet to see what we're talking about

JoJo:
Stockholm syndrome is a thing too, aside from the joking quip by Tippy above me, perhaps your pets don't realise how happy they'd be in the wild with their own species?

"Animals are not complex enough for the emotions their owners ascribe to them"... start talking about Stockholm Syndrome. A complex, human psychological disorder. *confused*

Also, our pets' species do not exist in the wild. They are the result of thousands of years of selective breeding/evolution and are designed to live almost symbiotically with humans. So not only would they never be able to live "in the wild with their own species" but they'd also most likely not survive beyond the first week or so, if that.

Going back to the original post, I'd say your analogy is flawed because a pet, unlike the human child, is not living in a "natural" (non-domesticated, though as I've pointed out, domesticity is actually the closest thing to "natural" for these species) state prior to its "abduction." They're taken away from their mother once they are no longer reliant on her, just as happens with wild species. Most animals have no concept of family, especially not carnivores like dogs and cats. The young are driven away from/leave their mothers as soon as possible.

As for the "scolding/hitting when you break seemingly arbitrary rules" part, first of all the vast majority of good pet owners do not hit their animals, and secondly, how do you think children are raised? A toddler will run out into traffic and is scolded when it does so. Thus it learns to accept the rule of not running out into the road. The child is too young to understand the possible consequences of its actions, and so the rule seems "arbitrary" to them.

The "crocodile tears" part is just insulting to anyone who's ever owned and loved a pet. As others have said, creatures like dogs, cats and horses very much become "part of the family" and are often mourned as such. Hell, when my sister's guinea pig died a few years ago the whole family was cut up about it for weeks. We still get teary eyed when someone mentions him (seriously, he was one hell of a guinea pig). With all due respect, I don't think you quite know what you're talking about.

Well, morality doesn't really exist, what with everything being dust in the wind.

So, no. Keeping pets isn't immoral.

GeneralTwinkle:

JoJo:

GeneralTwinkle:

Have you had a pet?

You can easily tell what they like/dislike, when they're happy/sad etc...

When chimps smile angrily the rest of their body language shows they're pissed.
Dogs especially, are very emotive. The reaction of getting treats is the same as me coming home, or patting and playing with them. If you've had a pet, and you had trouble telling if it was happy or not, I'm not sure you should have one.

I had goldfish when I was a little kid and as far as I can recall they had just two body language signals: alive and dead ;-)

But I have friends and grandparents with dogs and cats and I've seen the owners often ascribe emotions or thoughts that are clearly too complex for that sort of animal onto their pet, so I suspect that often what an owner reads as "happy" is actually "give me more food / water / toys" etc or something different entirely. Stockholm syndrome is a thing too, aside from the joking quip by Tippy above me, perhaps your pets don't realise how happy they'd be in the wild with their own species?

Well, considering we rescued one from the wild who had practically died, I really doubt it.
And dogs are actually more intelligent then you think.
You really have to have a pet to see what we're talking about

Dogs aren't that intelligent at-all, they're dumber than pigs by most measures, and I'm not just talking about dogs either in this thread, but all pets. Pet owners tend to give way too much human emotion to animals which only "care" about their owners because they provide food. It's just an extension really of how ducks in parks will swim up to those who feed them bread, and now we humans use that to our advantage.

I'd also think that two years so far studying biology at university would be more of a qualification to speak about animals than simply owning one individual animal, not currently owning a pet also allows me to take an objective viewpoint without letting emotions or justifications get in the way.

JoJo:

Psykoma:

JoJo:

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.

Maybe by not looking at individual characteristics and read into their overall behavior. A chimp may smile when angry, but I'm pretty sure they're probably doing other things as well that makes their anger very apparent.

Anger isn't the only negative emotion. It's not surprising that pets often don't appear to show dislike towards their owners when they're conditioned strongly via rewards and discipline to react in a way their owners desire. What's interesting is the similarity between many of the arguments on this thread and the arguments made by slave owners several centuries before: "they aren't like us", "they have a better life as a...", "they couldn't survive on their own".

Yeah...i'm pretty sure more than a few people won't appreciate you comparing pet-owning to the slave trade...just sayin'.

JoJo:

I'd also think that two years so far studying biology at university would be more of a qualification to speak about animals than simply owning one individual animal, not currently owning a pet also allows me to take an objective viewpoint without letting emotions or justifications get in the way.

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.

JoJo:

Anger isn't the only negative emotion. It's not surprising that pets often don't appear to show dislike towards their owners when they're conditioned strongly via rewards and discipline to react in a way their owners desire. What's interesting is the similarity between many of the arguments on this thread and the arguments made by slave owners several centuries before: "they aren't like us", "they have a better life as a...", "they couldn't survive on their own".

Wow. The difference between slaves and pets is that slaves were human beings. To say that they aren't like us was quite simply false. In the case of a pet it is entirely true that they are not like us because they are an entirely different species that lacks the higher thought processes we have.
The two situations are completely different.
What we were saying wasn't true for slaves because they are exactly the same as us, they possess the same critical thinking and emotional abilities that we do. Animals do not. An animal won't have a better life in the wild than in captivity because, apart from spacial issues, everything is worse. Shelter is temporary, unheated and improvised, often not waterproof. Food is whatever they can scavenge, it may be diseased or there may be none at all, accidents from the environment like falls, cuts, wounds from other animals go untreated, predators are a constant danger, if they get a disease they have no treatment for it. Their life will be short, hard and full of peril.

As I said earlier, an owl can be expected to live 4 times as long in captivity than in the wild because its living standard is so much better.
The only drawback to living in captivity is one of space. and animals don't need as much open space as you would think. The only reason they need so much in the wild is because they have to hunt for food, so they need an area large enough to contain enough food for them, but as pets they get their food handed to them, so that space isn't necessary. If you ever go to a farm you will probably see dogs, cats, chickens etc. wondering about the farmyard. Funny thing is, despite being open to the entire countryside they never really leave the actual small yard because they have no reason to, their food is handed to them, they have room enough for a bit of a run, it's all they need.

Sorry to say but I don't think you understand cats and dogs like you say you do. You say my cat only shows me effection when she wants food but I think her actions speak otherwise when I wake up after a nap and her belly is full with a full dish of food and immediately gets excited and shows me affection and meows happily every time I come in the door from work.

She eats like a queen, fed kibble with only the highest reviews that keep her strong and healthy and every other meal gets premium meow mix wet food and literally bounces for joy after eating it which includes meals of all types of fish / chicken / liver she would never otherwise eat.

We seem to have some kind of otherworldly connection where we know what each other is feeling. I know when she wants attention, just as she does me. She has never had cause to be afraid or angry and does not even know how to. She loves everybody.

I think she's very happy the way she is, where the alternative would be a constant fight for survival and constant rape from stray male cats where her and her constant litter of kittens would starve to death. I read your points, and I never punish her and she has total freedom. You don't have a pet, I'm afraid you just don't understand.

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.

For things like dogs which have been domesticated over thousands of years, I'd say that it's fine, as they enjoy it, and the same with cats, pigs, rabbits, et cetera. If you're keeping something like a tiger, then you probably can't provide an adequate home for it, and it would in all probability enjoy the wild more, so then it becomes immoral.

Secret world leader (shhh):

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:

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:
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.

JoJo:

GeneralTwinkle:

JoJo:

I had goldfish when I was a little kid and as far as I can recall they had just two body language signals: alive and dead ;-)

But I have friends and grandparents with dogs and cats and I've seen the owners often ascribe emotions or thoughts that are clearly too complex for that sort of animal onto their pet, so I suspect that often what an owner reads as "happy" is actually "give me more food / water / toys" etc or something different entirely. Stockholm syndrome is a thing too, aside from the joking quip by Tippy above me, perhaps your pets don't realise how happy they'd be in the wild with their own species?

Well, considering we rescued one from the wild who had practically died, I really doubt it.
And dogs are actually more intelligent then you think.
You really have to have a pet to see what we're talking about

Dogs aren't that intelligent at-all, they're dumber than pigs by most measures, and I'm not just talking about dogs either in this thread, but all pets. Pet owners tend to give way too much human emotion to animals which only "care" about their owners because they provide food. It's just an extension really of how ducks in parks will swim up to those who feed them bread, and now we humans use that to our advantage.

I'd also think that two years so far studying biology at university would be more of a qualification to speak about animals than simply owning one individual animal, not currently owning a pet also allows me to take an objective viewpoint without letting emotions or justifications get in the way.

You say they are very dumb and have simple desires and emotions, then say they have stockholm syndrome?

Yeah....

You can tell when a pet like a cat or a dog is happy or sad, just like you could tell if a mute person is happy or sad.

And what about the people who have cats that go loose all the time? That have no restrictions? I know a couple that have a cat - they don't feed it, it goes out hunting. It has a bed, but often sleeps outside. It only comes back because it likes the people. We house sat for them for a while, and at first the cat just wouldn't come back, because we weren't its family, but after a while it got more used to us, and started warming up and returning.

Also, I have to point out, animal biology and animal psychology are very different things.

EDIT: This is one of those things where you need to have a pet to get it. Like saying a psychiatrist that has never actually talked to someone would be better at diagnosing someone they've never talked to than someone who has. Bit of a weird analogy, but still kind of applicable.

GeneralTwinkle:

You say they are very dumb and have simple desires and emotions, then say they have stockholm syndrome?

Yeah....

I made this point earlier on in the thread. Strangely enough, OP has yet to respond to it (or any of my other points. I'm starting to feel left out :P )

Also, I have to point out, animal biology and animal psychology are very different things.

Seconded. You can be the best biologist in the world, but saying you study "biology" could mean anything from single cell organisms up. And yeah, psychology =/= biology in most cases. If the OP does have any particular experience in animal psychology I'd be genuinely interested to hear about it though.

EDIT: also OP, if I recall correctly from the veganism thread, you're a meat eater. Do you actually hold these beliefs, or is this meant to a purely theoretical discussion about ethics?

Secret world leader (shhh):
Hmm, i suppose you kind of have a point. I'm sure many cats would rather live in their natural way rather than be declawed and neutered. I know i'll get people saying "oh but they're well fed and safe and loved etc" but is that really worth it? Humans have evolved to live a life of indoor safety and pre-packaged food, why should we enforce that on animals?

My cat was saved from the pound so I'm sure he loves his new life better than his old. Also, a lot of cats DO live with their claws and reproductive parts still intact. My cat has all of his claws and it doesn't bother me when he tears up some of the furniture. He get's to go outside when he wants during the day so he gets his exercise and out-door time. I do buy him cat food, but also feed him table scraps too when it's something he likes.

I think the issue is if the animal wants to be with you. If an animal is being abused or neglected and want's to get away that's something different. But most pet owners love their animals and wouldn't do anything to harm them. I'm one of the owners that sees my cat as family. He will jump up on the table and eat with me, sleep on my bed from time to time, and catch any pesky insects inside :D

JoJo:
Dogs aren't that intelligent at-all, they're dumber than pigs by most measures, and I'm not just talking about dogs either in this thread, but all pets. Pet owners tend to give way too much human emotion to animals which only "care" about their owners because they provide food. It's just an extension really of how ducks in parks will swim up to those who feed them bread, and now we humans use that to our advantage.

Yeah, no. You're basically saying that animals are too dumb to experience love. Not true at all, man. Pet owners (and in fact, I'm not a fan of that term since it implies, well, ownership instead of guardianship) treat pets like they're part of the family. (Good ones, anyway, but I'm not going to get into that right now). Pets don't simply like us because we give them food. They love us because we in turn give them love; food, shelter, play, etc. We take care of them, we love them, and they love us. There's a reason for that phrase "Dog is a man's best friend."

If you're still skeptical, have you ever seen the videos of dogs welcoming back soldiers from deployment? They're not excited because they just want their food, they're excited because their family is back and they missed them. You can clearly see the love these dogs have for their "parents" in these videos. Here:
http://welcomehomeblog.com/?s=dog

I'm not even going to touch on your other points right now, because I think others are doing a fine job of it.

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