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Pets

JoyfulGirlJoyfulGirl Veteran
edited August 2013 in General Banter
Since there was a discussion on what to feed pets, I want to discuss what your thoughts on having pets are? Is it ethical to own another being in a sense? I want a cat, but I think that the cat might feel like it is owning me more than me owning him/her? :D

Comments

  • howhow Veteran
    I too am conflicted about the topic of pets. Despite having trained in monasteries where pet ownership by monks was encouraged as an aid to training, I prefer allowing animals to be what they are without humanizing them in a pet/ownership relationship.

    But....
    I do have a cat that I rescued from being put down.
    So I guess I have a no pets policy for myself when it doesn't compromise my precepts.
  • FairyFellerFairyFeller Veteran
    edited July 2013
    I don't own my pets but co-exist with them, I do have a responsibility for their feed, healthcare, welfare and to provide them with love and a safe life. It is the responsibility I take on after rescuing them from animal shelters. At the same time as I like to provide a home to as many animals as I can financially afford it is also important to me to make sure that I don't take on too many so that I can't interact and give them as much love and attention as they need. The eldest furry member of the household is my the 20 year old tabby I've shared my life with since the minute he was born and I had to break his amniotic sack because his mother wouldn't/couldn't.

    I try to feed them a healthy diet of what they would eat in the natural environment and try to source it ethically.

    I also make sure that we don't impact on the local environment by always cleaning up when I excercise with the dog and the cats don't catch the local birds or small mammals. Although the cats did look a bit timid the other day when there was a sparrow hawk flying through the garden trying catch its dinner.
    JoyfulGirl
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran
    Our pets are always part of our family. We don't talk down to them or act towards them as owners who control their lives as much as we look at them as partners, same as our kids. That's not the same as not properly training them of course though.

    I know people who treat their pets better than their kids. I know people who treat their pets like something to kick around. I know people who treat their pets like actual babies and will readily admit to dressing them and treating them like babies because they miss having children. Oy oy oy. Treat them like an animal and respect them for who they are, quirks and all.

    We have a boxer who is just nut-tastic, lol. She's a joy and she's hilarious and she has more personality than some people I know.
    Even our beardie has a lot of personality, they are pretty unique as far as reptiles go. You can leash them and walk with them and such, they are easily handleable and low stress.
    The ferrets are pretty crazy, too. Love having them. They amaze me constantly with their brightness and how different they are yet they love each other just the same. They are a lot of fun to watch.
    Our tortoise just kind of is. He eats loads of our garden veggies (he's half our compost, lol) and then in the winter he pretty much hibernates.
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    Since there was a discussion on what to feed pets, I want to discuss what your thoughts on having pets are? Is it ethical to own another being in a sense? I want a cat, but I think that the cat might feel like it is owning me more than me owning him/her? :D

    Completely ethical if you adopt it from a shelter. Purchasing it from a breeder, pet store, etc and supporting the pet trade, that treats animals like warehouse property...and often not very nicely...not ethical!

    :)

    CinorjerLinc
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Seeker has spoken!
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    I have a pet ego. I try and keep it well clipped.
    Isn't dharma a cat?
    http://www.mahabodhi.net/dcat/

    You and a cat will both be happier. Rescue cat sounds an affordable pedigree . . .
    :clap:
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran
    edited July 2013
    We got our dog from a breeder, because having small children we were after a specific and known personality trait and parental history. We wanted a certain kind of dog and didn't want to take the chance with a mixed breed. If we ever get another dog, it'll be a service dog for our youngest when he is a bit older (if it is needed). But the family we got our dog from is not a warehouse breeder or anything. They have 2 dogs that are part of their family and they only bred them twice before spaying the female. We are still in touch with the family on a regular basis and they have become friends. We adopted her, we didn't buy her and that is the way both of us went into that situation. Not all "breeders" are some how bad people or put their dogs in bad situations. Puppy mills are not the only types of breeders.
    MaryAnne
  • I never thought of my cat Issa as a "pet" but more like my roommate and my friend. My neighbor (who takes care of many stray cats in the area) gave him to me back in 2009. I will always treasure the three years I spent with him.

    Back when I worked night shift, he would wait at the window every morning knowing I would arrive (he never went to that window except during those mornings). Before zazen I would look for him in my apartment and bow to him first.
    karastilobsterTheEccentric
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    vinlyn said:

    Seeker has spoken!

    I agree with him.
    I think most probably would.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    federica said:

    vinlyn said:

    Seeker has spoken!

    I agree with him.
    I think most probably would.

    And I tend, in general, to agree with him, just not so black and white about it. I've rarely seen ethical realities that are so stark.
    riverflowMaryAnne
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    edited July 2013
    vinlyn said:

    Seeker has spoken!

    Even level 9 vegans have no ethical problems adopting pets! Heck, even members of the Animal Liberation Front, the group that steals animals from science labs, have no problem adopting pets. :lol:
    federica said:

    vinlyn said:

    Seeker has spoken!

    I agree with him.
    I think most probably would.
    After seeing stuff like this. Most caring people would I think...

    Pedigree Dogs Exposed (BBC Documentary)

    Hour long documentary on the genetic cruelty that is purebreed dog breeding. Puppy mills aren't the only thing that is cruel and inhumane about dog breeding.
    Three separate health reports were commissioned as a result of the programme. Reports by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare and Sir Patrick Bateson (funded by the KC and Dogs Trust) concluded that current breeding practices are detrimental to the welfare of pedigree dogs
    That is putting it nicely!
    We are in effect breeding them to death.
    Much more accurate...Puppy mills aren't the only thing that is cruel and inhumane about dog breeding.

    federicariverflow
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    My problem with your comment, Seeker, is that you are lumping all pet stores into one category, and every once in a while there are exceptional pet stores that treat animals very humanely.

    Additionally, from where are the most dogs and cats euthanized in the United States? Animal shelters.
    riverflowMaryAnne
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    vinlyn said:

    My problem with your comment, Seeker, is that you are lumping all pet stores into one category, and every once in a while there are exceptional pet stores that treat animals very humanely.

    If you can trace and personally inspect every step of the process and every facility they were in, from it's birth to the pet store, then I might agree with you, maybe.
    Additionally, from where are the most dogs and cats euthanized in the United States? Animal shelters.
    Exactly! Which is one of the reasons why pet stores, regardless of how the animals are treated, are unethical. They contribute to pet overpopulation even more, just so they can make some money. That's pretty selfish. They are one of the main causes of pet overpopulation. Places like pet stores and breeders selling animals is one of the main reasons why the shelters are overcrowded to begin with. The shelters are trying to clean up the mess, the mess that was made by the pet trade to begin with.

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    seeker242 said:

    vinlyn said:

    My problem with your comment, Seeker, is that you are lumping all pet stores into one category, and every once in a while there are exceptional pet stores that treat animals very humanely.

    If you can trace and personally inspect every step of the process and every facility they were in, from it's birth to the pet store, then I might agree with you, maybe.
    Additionally, from where are the most dogs and cats euthanized in the United States? Animal shelters.
    Exactly! Which is one of the reasons why pet stores, regardless of how the animals are treated, are unethical. They contribute to pet overpopulation even more, just so they can make some money. That's pretty selfish. They are one of the main causes of pet overpopulation. Places like pet stores and breeders selling animals is one of the main reasons why the shelters are overcrowded to begin with. The shelters are trying to clean up the mess, the mess that was made by the pet trade to begin with.



    If you can trace and personally inspect every step of the process in all pet stores that you are condemning, then I might agree with you, maybe.

    Mass condemnations of groups of people are unethical.
    riverflow
  • vinlyn said:


    Additionally, from where are the most dogs and cats euthanized in the United States? Animal shelters.

    As devil's advocate, keep in mind why... humans and their stupidity. People get a dog, a cat, or even a small animal (can't forget the little ones), then they tire of them. Where to go? To a shelter. The local county SPCA (SPCAs are no-kill shelters) had at one point over 700 cats up for adoption. These shelters rely solely on donations and benefactors. There are no public funds.

    There are so many animals that could be adopted from shelters, but people want pedigree and designer animals. Anecdotally, it seems shelter animals make the best pets... they seem to know they're wanted. We humans are to blame from start to finish for the plight of these animals.
    riverflow
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    vinlyn said:





    If you can trace and personally inspect every step of the process in all pet stores that you are condemning, then I might agree with you, maybe.

    Mass condemnations of groups of people are unethical.

    Perhaps this is where we differ. You see it as a condemnation of a group of people whereas I see it as a condemnation of a group of actions. I personally think there is a big difference between the two! :)

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    vinlyn said:


    Additionally, from where are the most dogs and cats euthanized in the United States? Animal shelters.

    As devil's advocate, keep in mind why... humans and their stupidity. People get a dog, a cat, or even a small animal (can't forget the little ones), then they tire of them. Where to go? To a shelter. The local county SPCA (SPCAs are no-kill shelters) had at one point over 700 cats up for adoption. These shelters rely solely on donations and benefactors. There are no public funds.

    There are so many animals that could be adopted from shelters, but people want pedigree and designer animals. Anecdotally, it seems shelter animals make the best pets... they seem to know they're wanted. We humans are to blame from start to finish for the plight of these animals.
    Mostly I can agree with your post.

    I'm a bird owner, and unfortunately, birds from shelters are often not ideal. There's a huge bird rescue center here in Colorado...literally thousands of birds. A place I would love to volunteer in, but it's too far a drive. They are in my will for a big chunk of $.

    riverflow
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    seeker242 said:

    vinlyn said:





    If you can trace and personally inspect every step of the process in all pet stores that you are condemning, then I might agree with you, maybe.

    Mass condemnations of groups of people are unethical.

    Perhaps this is where we differ. You see it as a condemnation of a group of people whereas I see it as a condemnation of a group of actions. I personally think there is a big difference between the two! :)

    You misunderstand my complaint. Again, you are lumping everyone in a certain profession into one group of people who all mistreat animals. That's stereotyping, too.

    riverflow
  • vinlyn said:



    If you can trace and personally inspect every step of the process in all pet stores that you are condemning, then I might agree with you, maybe.

    Mass condemnations of groups of people are unethical.

    Reputable breeders are few and far between. Much of the work of the HSUS http://www.humanesociety.org/ and ASPCA is getting puppy mills shut down. The majority of pet store dogs come from puppy mills. http://www.aspca.org/fight-cruelty/puppy-mills/puppy-mill-faq
    How Many Puppy Mills Exist in the U.S.?

    At any given point in time, there are typically between 2,000 and 3,000 USDA-licensed breeders (commonly referred to as puppy mills) operating in the United States. However, this number does not take into consideration the number of breeders not required to be licensed by the USDA or the number of breeders operating illegally without a license. Because so many of these breeders are operating without oversight, it's impossible to accurately track them or to know how many there truly are. The ASPCA estimates that there could be as many as 10,000 puppy mills in the United States.

    How Many Dogs Does an Average Puppy Mill Have?

    The number of dogs in a puppy mill can vary significantly. Some puppy mills are relatively small, with only 10 breeding dogs. Other breeders run massive operations with more than 1,000 breeding dogs! Because not all puppy mills are licensed and inspected, it's impossible to know the true average.

    A Local Pet Store Says Its Dogs Aren't from a Mill. Is That True?

    There is no legal definition of "puppy mill." Many pet store owners will tell you they get all their puppies from "licensed USDA breeders" or "local breeders." In fact, in order to sell puppies to pet stores, a breeder must be licensed by the USDA! Pet stores often use this licensing to provide a false sense of security to customers, when what it really means is that they do, in fact, get their puppies from puppy mills.

    The fact is, responsible breeders would never sell a puppy through a pet store because they want to screen potential buyers to ensure that the puppies are going to good homes.

    The Store's Dogs Have Papers. Does That Mean They're from Responsible Breeders?

    No. Being registered or having papers means nothing more than the puppy's parents both had papers. Many registered dogs are sold in puppy mills. Don't be fooled by "papers." Many, many pedigreed dogs come from puppy mills! The only way you can be sure that a puppy came from a reputable source is to see where he or she came from yourself.

    How Can I Tell If an Online Puppy Seller Is a Mill?

    Many puppies sold online come from puppy mills. The only way you can be sure that a puppy came from a reputable source is to see where he or she came from yourself! Responsible breeders would never sell to someone they haven't met because they want to screen potential buyers to ensure the puppies are going to good homes. Learn more about why you should never buy a puppy online.
  • vinlyn said:



    Mostly I can agree with your post.

    I'm a bird owner, and unfortunately, birds from shelters are often not ideal. There's a huge bird rescue center here in Colorado...literally thousands of birds. A place I would love to volunteer in, but it's too far a drive. They are in my will for a big chunk of $.

    Yes, birds are a particular problem and almost completely forgotten, and the problem unknown. You know this, I'm sure, others may not. A 40 year old person gets an African Grey. Of course it has to be a baby. Who will take the bird when the owner dies at age 80 or can't take care of the bird when he or she is 70, and the bird itself will live to be 70-80 years old? Or how about cockatoos... beautiful birds. But needy, clingy and without constant companionship of their people they develop psychological and behavioral problems. So off to the shelter they go. Rinse, repeat 3 or 4 times. Think of foster children being shipped from home to home for behavioral problems. Now add to this that a bird has the intelligence of a 5 year old human, but the emotions of a 2-3 year old. Recipe for disaster. Does the bird deserve this? Of course not.
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    edited July 2013
    vinlyn said:



    You misunderstand my complaint. Again, you are lumping everyone in a certain profession into one group of people who all mistreat animals. That's stereotyping, too.

    Sorry, I think you misunderstand where I'm coming from. It has nothing to do with how the animal is treated. Just the act of breeding an animal when there are literally millions of homeless ones already, is inherently unethical regardless of how the animal is treated. How the animal is treated is irrelevant. Just the act of making new animals, when there are already millions too many, is what is considered unethical. It's not about "everyone in a certain profession" it's about the profession itself.

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    seeker242 said:

    vinlyn said:



    You misunderstand my complaint. Again, you are lumping everyone in a certain profession into one group of people who all mistreat animals. That's stereotyping, too.

    Sorry, I think you misunderstand where I'm coming from. It has nothing to do with how the animal is treated. Just the act of breeding an animal when there are literally millions of homeless ones already, is inherently unethical regardless of how the animal is treated. How the animal is treated is irrelevant. Just the act of making new animals, when there are already millions too many, is what is considered unethical. It's not about "everyone in a certain profession" it's about the profession itself.

    I got news for you, puppy mills or not, the dogs and cats will keep breeding. If you doubt that, walk down any soi in Bangkok.

    If want to condemn everyone in a particular profession, go ahead. I won't be a part of that. I'll chose to look at each individual in a profession and see how ethical they are. To prejudge everyone in a group is to be prejudiced.

    MaryAnne
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    vinlyn said:



    I got news for you, puppy mills or not, the dogs and cats will keep breeding. If you doubt that, walk down any soi in Bangkok.

    If want to condemn everyone in a particular profession, go ahead. I won't be a part of that. I'll chose to look at each individual in a profession and see how ethical they are. To prejudge everyone in a group is to be prejudiced.

    No I don't doubt that. I'm just saying it's irresponsible and unethical because it is. Am I prejudiced against people who contribute to millions of homeless animals sitting in cages. Yes, that is correct! I am! The industry itself is an irresponsible, unethical industry.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    Can we quit with the ethics of puppy farms and shelters and stick to addressing the specifics of the OP's post?

    Thanks.
    lobsterTheEccentric
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    get a cat already!
    riverflowJoyfulGirl
  • When I was in the bardo...I met cat and he, "Mr. Tuna" agreed to instruct me in the dharma of the hear and Meow.
    riverflowlobsterJoyfulGirl
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    I would never own a pet which as 10 flick-knives and can splay them at will.

    I think "Wolverine" is all wrong.
    He ain't a wolf; he's a feral cat with attitude.
    And you really don't want to mess with an animal that will happily lie on your face, or ambush you as you come out of the bathroom.

    In bare feet.
    riverflow
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran
    Just a question for @seeker 242
    So, if all private breeders, puppy mills, and others, responsible or not, suddenly ALL had their animals fixed and no other animals were bred no matter what....do you think the situation would change? Do you think all of a sudden all the unwanted pets at the shelters would suddenly be adopted because no one had another option? I don't think it would. For example we might have simply chosen not to take an animal at all rather than get one where we didn't know the history of it's parents and owners and where it spent it's previous time. So it's not as if, if we didn't have the dog we had now, a dog would have been rescued instead. We probably just would not have gotten one because we would have not had the time to drive to the very spread out and limited shelters in our area, mostly with older dogs with unknown or abusive histories. I think rescues are terrific but again, when do we put the responsibility in the hands of the people who mistreat their animals, who get pets and don't care for them, or give them up when they move or can't train them/don't want to train them/abuse them/can't afford them?
    Many, if not most, people I know who have pets, have rescue pets. From hamsters and bunnies to ferrets, cats, and dogs. But the numbers just keep going up and up. Are people who breed 10 puppies over 4 years really to blame over the people who treat their pets like garbage, and then 6 months later go get yet another pet they can't take care of and surrender that one, too? Our neighbors couldn't feed their cats anymore, so let them out to live in a shed. Instead of getting help right away with getting them fixed, they did nothing (they could have had it done for free) and now we have upwards of 25 wild cats who have to survive winters of -40F, live just off a highway, are pray for eagles and owls, and so on. Yet, they were just approved to adopt another cat, even though their daughter called the shelter and told them not to give her parents another cat.

    I understand what you are saying, honestly. But I'm not so sure it would solve the problem, either. Irresponsible pet owners will be irresponsible pet ownersr.

    Also, can I just say, that some shelters have ridiculous requirements? I am completely in favor for references and other such things to assure as best as possible the animal will have a good, forever home. But some of them border on impossible to adopt from. When we moved, our kids were 12, 6 and 1 at the time. We actually tried to get a boxer from a rescue, and were denied in our application because we have too many children. They thought the dog wouldn't be cared for. My friend has been denied by 3 shelters because she has too many cats. She has 3 cats. And she provides them an AMAZING home and life and health care. Far far better than they will ever get in a shelter, but because she has 3 cats, she is not allowed to have more per several shelters. Thsi shelter, at the time, had 320 cats and kittens up for adoption. So these animals missed out on excellent homes. It works both ways. We searched for 7 months for a shelter dog before we went with a "breeder."
    vinlynMaryAnneJoyfulGirl
  • I am a certified crazy cat lady with a young crazy-cat-lady-in-training for a daughter. It's in our genes. We don't go as far as to say they are our kids, but I have a 17 yo and a 1- and 2- yo in the house, plus a gaggle of barn kitties. I didn't really want to have all the outside cats but it all started with one sweet little stray who found her way here, and the rest as they say is history. We also have the mutt dog Larry (also a stray who found his way here) and my 6 laying hens, who are really more like pets too. Love those feathered ladies! They always bring a smile to my face. :) Such is the country life, I guess...
    riverflowTheEccentric
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited August 2013
    wrong thread
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    karasti said:

    Just a question for @seeker 242
    So, if all private breeders, puppy mills, and others, responsible or not, suddenly ALL had their animals fixed and no other animals were bred no matter what....do you think the situation would change?

    Yes, but not overnight. 20 years from now I would bet things would have changed if that were to happen.
    Do you think all of a sudden all the unwanted pets at the shelters would suddenly be adopted because no one had another option?
    No, but what will the situation be 20 years from now? I think it would be safe to assume it would be different.
    Are people who breed 10 puppies over 4 years really to blame over the people who treat their pets like garbage, and then 6 months later go get yet another pet they can't take care of and surrender that one, too?
    They are both to blame, so to speak.
    I understand what you are saying, honestly. But I'm not so sure it would solve the problem, either. Irresponsible pet owners will be irresponsible pet owners.
    Yes irresponsible pet owners are certainly part of the problem. My county just instituted changes in their animal licensing fees. $50 for a non-spayed/non-neutered animal. $15 if it's fixed. That's a good start but certainly not enough to fix the problem. Pet overpopulation is a widespread problem that doesn't have any big quick fixes. What can fix the problem is an accumulation of the effects over time of all the little different fixes put together. Producing more animals is counterproductive to that end.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran
    But your county is one of how many? Our county has no licensing, it's up to individual towns. Ours is $5 for nonspayed, $10 for spayed. No one checks if you license them or not, and there aren't even any fines if you don't. It's basically a suggestion. 50% of the dogs in our down roam without owners or leashes, and we have at least 20 feral cats that live across the street but roam all over and crap in our veggie garden.

    The dog father of our doggie daughter was recently found to have lymphoma. So, there's one less dog you have to worry about.
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    karasti said:

    But your county is one of how many?

    It doesn't matter. That is almost like saying it's a waste of time to try to feed homeless people in your own town because you're not solving the problem of starvation. There are millions starving in Africa. Well, that really doesn't matter when it comes to what should or should not be done.
  • DandelionDandelion London Veteran
    I will have cats for as long as I can, life circumstances allowing that mean I can afford the time and cost to give a cat a good life. My two definitely have me under their paws! Having a animal can teach you a lot about unconditional love, that's a good thing as far as I'm concerned.
    poulet
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran
    Yes, I know that. But it's also like saying by feeding one child you are saving a whole country which isn't the case, either. Every small step counts, for sure. I'm not saying it doesn't. But for every county that does it right, there are 100 others that don't have regulations they enforce at all.
  • I have thought about this a bit, and I dont think it is unnatural for a human to want pets. We are animals too wanting to be with ler animals. In a sense we can help the pet get food, shelter and comfort, and the pet can teacher us love and caring.
  • I don't own my dog. I am her surrogate mother, caretaker, and friend. We are companions. We enrich each-others' lives.
    MaryAnneJoyfulGirlpoulet
  • My dog is my best friend and my cat teaches me respect for independence. :)
  • Dogs and domestic cats are human creations. They did not, and would not, exist in nature. We owe it to them to take care of the things we've created. There are many other examples of animals (and plants) created by human tinkering.
  • misterCopemisterCope PA, USA Veteran
    @Mountains, that's not entirely true. The domestication of dogs and cats (especially cats) was rather organic.

    Humans (and I mean early humans) stored food. Stored food attracted pests, pests attracted small carnivores. These humans said, "Hey, they're eating the things that are eating our things. Let's not chase them off." Eventually, this changed into the numerous different levels of domestication of dogs and cats that exists today.

    Humans and pets often have a symbiotic relationship similar to clownfish and sea anemone, or cows and the gut fauna in their stomachs, or sharks and the fish that clean them. That is to say, mutually beneficial situations do, in fact, exist in nature.

    However, I understand what you are saying. Deliberately domesticating animals like turkeys for the sole purpose of eating them, or the (attempted) domestication of tigers for entertainment, or the selective and detrimental inbreeding of dogs and cats to create/maintain breeds are a completely different story. Things like that wouldn't exist in nature and are our responsibility.

    With respect _/\_
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