The Truth About Cats And Dogs

The topic of veganism, animal advocacy/rights and pets is a very tricky one at best, and one that it would seem a majority of people do not want to think about let alone discuss.

Regardless of what people will tell you, we view our pets differently to the way that we view those animals used for food, clothing, entertainment or research.

Whilst we have all seen the posters asking “Why love one, and eat the other?” that is usually accompanied by an image of two separate species of animals, usually a cat/dog and a pig/cow. Though why choose two different species that society has already formed a view on, why not a Bumblebee Platys/Red Tiger Oscar (pet fish) and a Deep Sea Dory/Barramundi (consumed fish)?

Despite both fishes being from the same species, a comparison photo of them wouldn’t elicit as much of an emotional response as it does when using a cat or dog.

This is even more interesting when you consider the findings of a recent Australian Pet Ownership Survey by the Animal Health Alliance that reports that there are over 10 Million fish being kept as pets in this country. Compared to a national population of 23 Million people keeping 4.2 and 3.3 Million dogs and cats respectively as pets.

We as humans disguise what we do, and how these animals are treated by using words that make us feel better about ourselves. For example, we call our pet cat or dog our companion animal, instantly elevating them to a position of superiority over that of say a pet pig/rabbit/ferret.

Then there is the way in which the ownership of this animal was transferred to us. Those who purchase their cat or dog from a pound/shelter will tell you that they have rescued that animal, yet denigrate others by saying that you can’t buy ANY animal from a pet store/breeder.

In both cases, a financial transaction took place to transfer the ownership of that animal from the pound/shelter/pet shop to the individual.

These new owners will quickly tell you that they rescued this animal from certain death at the pound/shelter, thereby giving them some sort of virtual domestic sainthood. Though it does make you wonder what they think happens to those animals that are not sold by pet shops or breeders.

People like Gary Francione will be quick to tell you that we have a moral obligation to rescue those animals that are alive through no fault of their own. This is in contradiction to his campaign and stated position of not having other animals regarded as property.

As advocates for other animals, we need to acknowledge that we use these animals to satisfy a particular need that is within us. That need could be anything from making us feel good about ourselves through to improving our standing amongst those who also care about other animals.

Mainstream organisations do exactly that, just take a look at the promo photos of those on the board of the RSPCA for example. Most of the photos used have a picture of the individual with an animal as if to convey to the viewer that they care so much more about the animals. Gary Francione himself did the exact same thing when he appeared via Skype at the International Animal Rights Conference in Luxembourg this year. At the beginning of his discussion/presentation, he used one of his pets, playing with them in such a way so as to form some sort of sympathetic bond with those viewing, and leading them to believe that he was a ‘real’ ‘animal person’.

Going back to the rescue of the cat/dog from the pound/shelter, the owners will have you believe that this rescue was done in the best interests of the animal. Whilst I am not denying that every sentient being has a desire to live and to stay alive, is this rescue really in the best interests of the animal, or just our own?

Yes, these animals have been rescued from certain death in a few days or weeks time, though what about where they now find themselves? And is it really in the best interests of this animal to be confined for the rest of their natural life under some sort of house arrest?

Whilst under house arrest, these animals will be fed by their captors when THEY decide it is time to eat; exercised when their captors DECIDE it is time to exercise, and at a location that THEY choose; allowed social interaction with other animals when their captors decide it is time to socialise, if at all; and forced to possibly co-habitate with another animal that they may not actually be friends with.

[GARD]Equally as important as the issue of ‘rescuing’ animals in general is what happens to cats once they have been ‘rescued’. Should the cat be kept inside 24/7? Whilst doing this protects other animals that are in the area from being preyed upon by the cat, it does mean that that cats are more under the control of their human captors than a dog or fish may be. Then there is the issue of what to feed the cat. Do you feed them a plant based diet, or if they are an older cat keep them on their diet of animals? If they are fed animals, what makes the life of the cat more important or meaningful than the lives of those animals that will be consumed?

It also needs to be acknowledged that people will only keep a pet whilst it is convenient for them. As soon as it because inconvenient the animal is shipped off somewhere else or sent back to the pound/shelter to be rescued by the next person that wants to purchase that animal to feel good about themselves.

This isn’t taking into consideration that the new prison for the animal may not be suitable for them, and they may escape all the time thereby running the risk of being hit by a vehicle or stolen.

Isn’t it time we honestly took into consideration what will be in the best interests of these animals, death in X days/weeks – then no more suffering or uncertainty, or a lifetime of incarceration with an uncertain future?

34 thoughts on “The Truth About Cats And Dogs”

  1. Hi Cameron

    In the article you say, ‘People like Gary Francione will be quick to tell you that we have a moral obligation to rescue those animals that are alive through no fault of their own. This is in contradiction to his campaign and stated position of not having other animals regarded as property.’

    Gary doesn’t regard the animals he looks after as property. The law regards them as property, but that doesn’t mean people who disagree with the law on this regard them as property. Gary considers them them like refugees, not property.

    Later you say, ‘We as humans disguise what we do, and how these animals are treated by using words that make us feel better about ourselves.’

    This may be the case, but not always the major part. People against the use of animals, for example, may enjoy the company of other animals they look after, but this is different to purely having those animals to improve how they feel about themselves. The animals may make them feel better about themselves, but a key part of having them is to rescue them, to give them a good home. That’s a pretty worthy purpose.

    Reply
    • Hi Rico,
      Thank you for your comment.

      As Gary Francione is a professor of law, he would know better than anyone else, that just because he doesn’t regarding something in the same way that the law does, it doesn’t change the fact that it is.

      For example, as a business owner if I employ staff I will need to pay them at a rate that increases every year, regardless of whether I think they are worth it or not.

      The same applies if I decide to grow marijuana plants at home. I can justify it to myself by saying that I will be using it for food, paper, etc. Yet according to law it is illegal to do this without the appropriate permits, etc.

      If as you say Gary does consider his pets to be refugees, then that makes his treatment of them even more abhorrent.

      Whilst I am not saying that saving the life of any animal isn’t a worthy cause, we need to be honest and acknowledge WHY we are rescuing the animal.

      Also, consider the process that is undertaken by the rescuer when rescuing an animal. Do they walk in to a pound or shelter and pick the first animal they see or do they look for one that suits them better?

      As I asked in the article, what are we rescuing these animals from and subjecting them to in the future? And who defines what a good home is, and compared to what?

      Reply
  2. Of course not regarding animals as property doesn’t change their status under law. But the law has no power to dictate how people should regard them. The law considers the use of animals for food as legitimate. Are you saying that our objection to that has no meaning because the law says it’s ok to eat animals?

    Gary doesn’t have ‘pets’ as such – again, they’re more like refugees. How exactly does considering his dogs like refugees make his treatment of them ‘abhorrent’?

    If people only care for other animals to support their own egos, what about animal sanctuaries run by people who don’t believe in animal use? Who care for injured wildlife, sometimes for extended periods? Maybe at financial and personal cost to themselves?

    Gary Francione has picked animals that are ill and/or going to be killed. Sure, some people may pick an animal they like better. But that still doesn’t mean they use them largely to support themselves. They may, but others don’t.

    There’s a fair chance that people who don’t support animal use are giving animals they take in good homes. Who defines what a good home is? I think these people would have similar views about that: a home where the animal is looked after and cared for.

    Reply
    • Francione calling his pets refugees implies that they sought him out to seek refuge.

      This also elevates him to a more morally superior position than an individual who has merely ‘rescued’ an animal.

      Sanctuaries and wildlife carers are a totally separate thing. What I am talking about here are those animals that are classed as ‘pets’.

      Reply
      • Do you think that animals suffering hardship or threat of death, aren’t seeking refuge? That is, they would rather remain where they are and possibly be killed?

        If human refugees often don’t seek out specific people to to live with, why would you expect other animals who are kept in a pound or shelter to do this? Being confined, they don’t even have the option to do this.

        Again, the dogs that Gary has are not ‘pets.’ These are animals he has given refuge from illness, living in close quarters, and/or death. That doesn’t mean he can’t ‘love’ those animals – his words – or is love also ‘abhorrent’?

        Who said it was hard for him to acknowledge he paid a ransom? While it’s an unusual use of the term – since it’s typically applied to humans held against their will for a financial, political or other end – i don’t see an issue with using money to release animals held in a shelter.

        You say that, ‘In both cases [of a shelter and a pet store], a financial transaction took place to transfer the ownership of that animal from the pound/shelter/pet shop to the individual.’

        I can employ an illegal immigrant as a servant at well below award rates. I can also pay to buy veganic fruit. Do you detect a difference? There are issues in buying from commercial sellers, but can you explain the problem with buying from shelters, given they aren’t profit driven enterprises? Again, would you prefer animals to remain there, and possibly be killed rather than adopted?

        Reply
  3. The term ‘refugee’ doesn’t imply animals seek anyone out. Do refugees that come to Australia seek anyone in particular out? They seek an escape from hardship in their countries. The parallel part of this simile – obviously it’s not literal – is that animals are given protection from hardship, such as an alternative to living on display in close quarters to other animals, having some illness, or being under the threat of death.

    All animals that are rescued by people (given they are cared for) are like refugees. The term ‘refugee’ simply conveys the idea of someone in need, who’d like a good place to live.

    Why are sanctuaries and wildlife carers ‘totally separate’? They look after animals in need. People can do a similar thing if they choose to live with other animals.

    Reply
    • Rico,
      According to Merriam Webster online, the term refugee originated from the French réfugier to take refuge. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/refugee
      Those refugees coming to Australia, seek this country out to take refuge here from what is happening in their homeland. How did the pets that Gary Francione have, seek his property out for refuge?
      As a professor of law, is it not unreasonable for us to expect that he use the correct term things. When it comes to pets, and those that Francione tells every one we should buy from the pound, why is it so hard for him to acknowledge that he paid a ransom* for that animal?

      RANSOM
      a consideration paid or demanded for the release of someone or something from captivity

      Reply
      • Do you think that animals suffering hardship or threat of death, aren’t seeking refuge? That is, they would rather remain where they are and possibly be killed?

        If human refugees often don’t seek out specific people to to live with, why would you expect other animals who are kept in a pound or shelter to do this? Being confined, they don’t even have the option to do this.

        Again, the dogs that Gary has are not ‘pets.’ These are animals he has given refuge from illness, living in close quarters, and/or death. That doesn’t mean he can’t ‘love’ those animals – his words – or is love also ‘abhorrent’?

        Who said it was hard for him to acknowledge he paid a ransom? While it’s an unusual use of the term – since it’s typically applied to humans held against their will for a financial, political or other end – i don’t see an issue with using money to release animals held in a shelter.

        You say that, ‘In both cases [of a shelter and a pet store], a financial transaction took place to transfer the ownership of that animal from the pound/shelter/pet shop to the individual.’

        I can employ an illegal immigrant as a servant at well below award rates. I can also pay to buy veganic fruit. Do you detect a difference? There are issues in buying from commercial sellers, but can you explain the problem with buying from shelters, given they aren’t profit driven enterprises? Again, would you prefer animals to remain there, and possibly be killed rather than adopted?

        Reply
    • Rico,
      It is also worthwhile reading this piece about pets and Francione’s position.
      http://veganideal.mayfirst.org/content/status-pets

      In particular the end quote

      “people spend money on their pets because of the psychological and material gains that come from owning other animals. Pets are not treated as if their lives have value independent of their human owners. Rather, pets are themselves treated as commodities that are then consumed.”

      Reply
  4. The issue we’ve been discussing is whether people who live with animals do so largely for their own benefit.

    Putting aside the merits of Ida’s article, it doesn’t address this.

    She confines her discussion to pets. As i’ve said before, Gary, and many others, don’t own pets. They’re more like refugees. On that point, you still haven’t explained why talking about animals as similar to refugees is ‘even more abhorrent’ than thinking of them as pets.

    Unlike you, Ida doesn’t conflate pets with all animals people take into their homes.

    You say that everyone who lives with animals has them largely to meet their own needs, rather than those of the animals in their care. You seem to think people who live with animals are some monolithic group you can conveniently tag with the label ‘pet owners,’ and then damn them by title.

    This relates to the question i asked you earlier and you didn’t answer – why are sanctuaries and wildlife carers ‘totally separate’ to people who live with animals? Presumably the answer is because sanctuaries and wildlife carers look after the animals that they take in primarily for the benefit of the animals.

    While i don’t doubt this, it’s a little ‘messier’ than that. I also don’t doubt the majority enjoy looking after the animals in their charge to varying degrees. Does that mean they’re ‘abhorrent’? Or do you think they’re all dour faced Protestants, toiling for their place in heaven? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestant_work_ethic

    Similarly, while many people who live with animals may well choose them to benefit themselves, that doesn’t mean that everyone has that motivation. And of those that do, that doesn’t mean this is exclusive to having some level of care for the animals they live with eg people with guide dogs, or elderly people.

    So if people can choose to run sanctuaries to care for animals, and choose to be a wildlife carer, so at least some of them can also choose to care for animals by adopting them.

    Reply
    • Rico,
      Whilst I appreciate your efforts to defend Francione’s behaviour, the fact still remains that the animals he has in his care are still his property, and he has legal ownership of them, despite what he may proclaim.

      If you consider Queensland’s Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008
      s9 Who is an owner of a cat or dog
      (1) Each person as follows is an owner of a cat or dog—
      (a) a person who is—
      (i) the registered owner of the dog; or
      (ii) if a local government makes a local law requiring
      cats to be registered—identified as the owner of the
      cat under the local law;
      (b) a person who owns the cat or dog, in the sense of it
      being the person’s personal property;

      As Francione is a law professor he should know better than anyone else. Assault is still assault, regardless of whether one person says that the other ‘was asking for it’, ‘wanted it’ or not.

      As I have mentioned in the article, those humans that are oppressing other animals that they designate as ‘pets’, will use all sorts of emotive language to disguise what they are doing, and make it acceptable to themselves and others.

      Your continual attempts to justify what someone else is doing by using terms that will elicit a sympathetic emotional response is showing me that this behaviour could be further ingrained that I originally thought.

      Wildlife carers look after those animals to rehabilitate them to be released back into the wild.
      Sanctuaries have those animals there to educate others on the unseen side of animal agriculture. If any animal were to be designated as ‘rescued’, it would be these animals.
      Pet owners reaffirm to others that pet ownership is acceptable, and contribute to an $8 Billion dollar pet care industry.

      Reply
      • As i explained before, i don’t dispute that the law is in force for Gary as for anyone else. He doesn’t claim anything else either, so i’m not sure what you’re getting at when you say, ‘despite what he may claim.’

        As i’ve tried to point out before, there’s a distinction between the law – which no one disputes – and whether a person acts according to that law. You appear to be confusing what’s relevant according to law, and what’s relevant outside the law.

        The law says that other animals can be food or clothing etc. Whether or not you believe this is right or wrong has no bearing on the law. The fact is, using other animals is legal, so following your logic, what you think about it is irrelevant.

        This strictly follows your line of thought: that is, what Gary thinks about property is irrelevant, so likewise, what you think about animal use is irrelevant. The only thing that matters – according to you – is the law.

        The example of sanctuaries further undermine your claims. For a start, not all of them are about farm animals. They may have breeding programs, serve animal foods and so on. For example: http://www.billabongsanctuary.com.au , http://www.australianbutterflies.com

        Then, even if no money is exchanged for animals who came to live on them – which may not always be the case – have you considered what a person *giving* them to someone else suggests? What if i could legitimately give *you* to someone? Can you see that would make you my property to give away?

        Further, payment in law doesn’t have to be with money:
        http://www.australiancontractlaw.com/law/formation-consideration.html

        This doesn’t even consider issues of a sanctuary’s possession and a commonly willing acceptance of responsibility. (I’m not a lawyer, but i believe possession is an important concept in relation to property.)

        If you still dispute these animals are property, then what do you think would happen if you took a few onto a busy street? What do you think the local authorities would have to say? Do you think they’d care about you insisting that the animals aren’t property?

        So where does that leave sanctuaries? According to your scheme, in no different a position than the $8 billion dollar pet industry you talk about.

        Reply
  5. Thanks for raising a very thought provoking topic; I wish there was more open deliberation about it. As a rescuer (or purchaser, whatever) of a number of death row felines I remain conflicted.

    But why are “sanctuaries and wildlife carers… a totally separate thing?” They seem no different to me.

    Reply
    • Hi theveganofaus and thank you for your comment.

      I believe that sanctuaries are different from those who rescue cats and dogs for a number of different reasons. Primarily because when someone visits a sanctuary most of the time they are educated about the way that other animals are used, and at what point in their life they would have outgrown their commercial profitability and been discarded/killed.

      Most visitors know and acknowledge that these animals are property and that their usefulness is based on their commercial value. Also, I am not aware of any sanctuary where the ‘rescued’ animals are left up to their own devices, yet pets are often left at home for hours on end.

      Reply
      • “Most visitors know and acknowledge that these animals are property and that their usefulness is based on their commercial value.” But I’d say most vegans know the same thing about pets too. As for non-vegans – who really cares. Rescue and education need not be convergent. If *any* rescue is legitimate then it must be about the interests of the animals more than the educative value of the pursuit, lest the animals become instrumentally rather than intrinsically valuable.

        It’s a difficult issue. You’ve raised questions that many don’t (or won’t) consider. I hope they do the rounds and tread on some toes.

        Reply
  6. I’ve worked in a pound. Like humans, homeless animals ala pets need another place to live. Simple. Humans have domesticated so it’s up to the staff and volunteers at these shelters to find them new homes. All too often they don’t know how to on sell or have the drive to re home. It’s easier to inject with lethabarb, frees up the cages. Gary in my opinion is helping US shelters in advertising these homeless animals, trying to educate humans into adopting instead of buying from dog and cat breeders or retailers. At the end of the day, do we want more animals killed in pounds etc on top of all the farm animals killed? I’m sure the answer is No. So let’s promote veganism and save nonhuman lives.

    Reply
    • Unfortunately Simone, I do not believe that the answer is as simple as that.

      Yes, we all want to reduce the numbers of animals killed anywhere, though what we do need to consider is the quality of life of that individual.

      It is also worth remembering too, that every person who owns a pet is giving their approval to that industry, and letting others know that this form of animal oppression is acceptable. Which in turn causes more people to go out and buy an animal either from a pound or a petshop, and continues the circle.

      Why is buying from a shelter more acceptable than buying from a pet shop or breeder?

      Reply
  7. i guess acceptable isnt the word id use, maybe a better option. i look at it this way, buying from breeders and pet stores is perpetuating more breeding and why do this and support this when there are pets alive without homes? re home first which in turn lowers the lethal injections given in pounds etc. until breeders are restricted and retailers/online sites are banned from selling livestock this debate will continue. and domesticating animals will continue unfortunately.

    Reply
  8. As i explained before, i don’t dispute that the law is in force for Gary as for anyone else. He doesn’t claim anything else either, so i’m not sure what you’re getting at when you say, ‘despite what he may claim.’

    As i’ve tried to point out before, there’s a distinction between the law – which no one disputes – and whether a person acts according to that law. You appear to be confusing what’s relevant according to law, and what’s relevant outside the law.

    The law says that other animals can be food or clothing etc. Whether or not you believe this is right or wrong has no bearing on the law. The fact is, using other animals is legal, so following your logic, what you think about it is irrelevant.

    This strictly follows your line of thought: that is, what Gary thinks about property is irrelevant, so likewise, what you think about animal use is irrelevant. The only thing that matters – according to you – is the law.

    The example of sanctuaries further undermine your claims. For a start, not all of them are about farm animals. They may have breeding programs, serve animal foods and so on. For example: http://www.billabongsanctuary.com.au , http://www.australianbutterflies.com

    Then, even if no money is exchanged for animals who came to live on them – which may not always be the case – have you considered what a person *giving* them to someone else suggests? What if i could legitimately give *you* to someone? Can you see that would make you my property to give away?

    Further, payment in law doesn’t have to be with money:
    http://www.australiancontractlaw.com/law/formation-consideration.html

    This doesn’t even consider issues of a sanctuary’s possession and a commonly willing acceptance of responsibility. (I’m not a lawyer, but i believe possession is an important concept in relation to property.)

    If you still dispute these animals are property, then what do you think would happen if you took a few onto a busy street? What do you think the local authorities would have to say? Do you think they’d care about you insisting that the animals aren’t property?

    So where does that leave sanctuaries? According to your scheme, in no different a position than the $8 billion dollar pet industry you talk about.

    Reply
    • Rico,
      As I have tried to explain to you, what the law says something is, it is. Regardless of what myself of others may think.

      If i were to grow a hemp plant and I was raided by the police, the law considers parts of this plant to be a drug despite me using it as a food source. The exact same thing applies if I keep an animal at home, the law refers to it as a pet, and my property. The law in Queensland even goes as far as telling me what animals I cannot keep. So, if I were to keep a ferret or a prohibited species of dog, I would be charged with an offence, and the animal confiscated and most probably killed. This would be despite my best and most vigorous claims that these animals are ‘rescues’ or ‘refugees’.

      Yes, the law does allow certain animals to be used for food, clothing and entertainment. As I am opposed to those animals being used for such purposes, I do not participate in those activities. If Francione is indeed opposed to the keeping of any animal as property, why does he participate in said activity?

      I don’t think that I said that money exchanged hands when transferring ownership of an animal from a pound. I think I referred to it as a financial transaction. I used those words because I know that money is not always used. Things can be bartered, exchanged, swapped, etc. Though what they all have in common is they all have a financial value attached to them.

      If you reread the things that I have written Rico, I have not once disputed that animals are property. I believe I even quoted Queensland legislation to show that animals are indeed property. In fact it was you who was doing this, by claiming that Francione doesn’t refer to the animals he keeps as his property.

      Once again, I refer you to something that I raised in the piece. That we as humans attach warm and fuzzy labels to particular things to make us feel better/good about what we have done.

      Reply
      • The law is what it is but it’s largely irrelevant on how we (vegans) see domesticated animals, just like abolitionists in the 1800s would have seen black slaves as something different to what the law described them as.

        I see my feline chattel property as personal companions even though the law doesn’t. I have to accept that for all legal purposes my felines are my “things” but personally they will only ever be morally relevant persons. The law cannot diminish that for me, just as much as the law cannot diminish, say, the genuineness of a same-sex relationship even though the law refuses to acknowledge it commensurately.

        Remember also that a payment of fees is usually involved for adopting human children too. A payment of fees is not synonymous with receiving property; services cost money too.

        But Cameron, I really want to know more about why you think sanctuaries are different from “house-pets?” If domesticated nonhumans do prefer death to “a lifetime of incarceration with an uncertain future” then why not kill them too? Unless you believe that sanctuaries offer a different type of future than people’s homes – and you’ve not stated that – then what else about sanctuaries makes it better *for the animals themselves*? Your biggest justification so far is about the educative value of sanctuaries but this is not in the interests of the animals themselves. I could argue that my felines have greater freedom (with no fences at all) than many sanctuary animals, have more exposure to human service, are fed just as well, will never be paraded on an open day and they have the option to sleep on my bed or out in the yard as they see fit. Why is their ongoing existence less valuable, to themselves, than a sheep’s or a goat’s existence on a sanctuary?

        Reply
        • And herein lies the crux of the problem.
          Those who have pets, whilst they may not see them as such, are not able to really influence others to see these same animals. So by having a pet, regardless of how you define the relationship, is telling others that they can also have pets too.

          At least you have acknowledged that the cats are your chattel property.

          Whilst I do understand that the payment of fees can be for services rendered, this is not the case with purchasing an animal from a pound. Legal ownership of the animal(s) will not take place until the ‘fee’ has been paid.

          I believe that sanctuaries are different because they are not encouraging others to go out and ‘rescue’ pigs, horses, etc. Additionally, there is the added feature of all attendees receiving information on how those animals are used when the animal agricultural system. Something that cannot happen with pets.

          If your cats do have greater freedom, no fences, what about the impact that they are having on the natural biodiversity of your neighbourhood? Are you saying that their life is more important that the lives of the animals that they may kill whilst out and about?

        • True – rescues can blur the whole “pets suck” approach to those that are not in the know. But *if* the rescues have an interest in life then surely that must take precedence over any educative value of not rescuing them? Is not the right to life of the animal greater than the right to education for anyone else?

          The fact that my felines cause ongoing harm to others is definitely a concern; in my previous comment on my post I said that it “kills me.” It’s another built in and inescapable tragedy of domesticated cats. But, again, I cannot deny an extant being’s (the cat’s) right to life while he wants that, much like I cannot kill my fellow non-vegan humans for being intentionally cruel. (As a moral matter – laws aside). All I can do is try to minimise harm to both cat and wildlife. Trading her right for others’ rights is morally complicated and I admit I’m not sure how to do it properly, or even if it *can* be done properly; someone’s always gonna get hurt until we have no pets left.

          Sorry mate, I still cannot see a qualitative, moral difference between sanctuaries and home-bound rescues. Differences? Sure. But morally relevant differences? No. If animals in sanctuaries are better off than dead animals then so should be animals in houses, and the rights of the animals themselves should be the primary qualifier – your own post says as much. It seems we’re at an impasse here but I’m not sure why as we (assumedly?) both consider *individual* rights to be the highest imperative.

        • If you are concerned about the lives that your cats may take whilst they are outside of your home, why not confine them the house itself, or a cat enclosure?

          When posed with this question, most people will say that cats are supposed to roam, which brings us back to the original question. Why is the life of that cat more important than the lives of the animals that they may kill.

          If you do choose to confine the cat to your home, what about the ‘suffering’ that the cat will endure due to said confinement?

          This is why I said we need to consider what is in the best interests of the animal in question.

          Whilst taking the life of another being is not something that should be trivialised, what if it was the only option to end the ‘suffering’? Would that make it acceptable?

          For me, the difference that I see between sanctuaries and the ‘rescued’ pet environment is that most animals in a sanctuary are free to express their natural behaviour, and have substantially more space to roam around in, forage in, etc. Also, more often than not, they are able to mingle with their own kind and other species of animals, or avoid said animals if they desire. (Well this is based on the sanctuary that I am familiar with)

          Dogs that are kept in an urban environment are not able to bark and yap when they want to without being told to be quiet.
          The area they have to run around in is usually a back yard.
          They are fed when the humans say it is time to be fed. Granted this happens with sanctuary animals too, though they are able to fossick during the day.
          These animals (dogs) are usually socialised or exercised when the owners see fit.

        • “This is why I said we need to consider what is in the best interests of the animal in question.”

          And that still remains the unknown. I don’t know. You don’t know. Rico doesn’t know. Simone doesn’t know. Even Francione doesn’t know. All of us take guesses and prefer to err on one side or another but only that animal himself can ever know – and it may be different for each individual animal and at different times of her life.

          Here’s hoping that one day we’ll be technologically (or maybe “spiritually?”) advanced enough to know. Peace out all.

        • BTW: It’s beautiful that vegans can solidly reject the bulk of animal rights infringements while we sort out the nuances. Hats off to you all. It shits me to tears when issues like this can, for some people, somehow capsize the entire notion of rights.

      • Cameron: ‘As I have tried to explain to you, what the law says something is, it is. Regardless of what myself of others may think.’

        And as i’ve said in response a few times now, no one disputes that.

        Cameron: ‘So, if I were to keep a ferret or a prohibited species of dog, I would be charged with an offence, and the animal confiscated and most probably killed. This would be despite my best and most vigorous claims that these animals are ‘rescues’ or ‘refugees’.’

        This example is a non sequitur. No one has suggested that calling animals ‘rescues’ or ‘refugees’ somehow gives them magical immunity from the law.

        Cameron: ‘Yes, the law does allow certain animals to be used for food, clothing and entertainment. As I am opposed to those animals being used for such purposes, I do not participate in those activities. If Francione is indeed opposed to the keeping of any animal as property, why does he participate in said activity?’

        That’s just the thing, he doesn’t keep animals ‘as property.’ Yes, the law regards animals as property, just as animals in sanctuaries are property. But he can act within that law and *not* regard them as property – in other words, as disposable assets.

        Just as the law tells us that eating, wearing and generally using other animals is fine, your choice not to participate in those activities is also legal. Likewise, while the law regards other animals as disposable (within certain parameters), Gary’s choice *not* to regard them as such is also legal.

        In other words, he’s not doing anything he’s opposed to.

        His objection is to the property status of animals in law, *not* taking care of animals that are regarded by the law as property. These are two different things. Otherwise, he’d also criticize sanctuaries in general, which isn’t the case.

        He makes very plain that in current society, animals are *legally* property, but that people don’t need to regard them as such. This is the same thinking that good sanctuaries have.

        Cameron: ‘I don’t think that I said that money exchanged hands when transferring ownership of an animal from a pound. I think I referred to it as a financial transaction. I used those words because I know that money is not always used.’

        You actually used the word ‘purchase.’ A ‘financial’ transaction, however, *does* involve money.

        Cameron: ‘If you reread the things that I have written Rico, I have not once disputed that animals are property. I believe I even quoted Queensland legislation to show that animals are indeed property. In fact it was you who was doing this, by claiming that Francione doesn’t refer to the animals he keeps as his property.’

        Actually, i didn’t say that Gary doesn’t refer to the animals he keeps as his property. I’m guessing he doesn’t, but i don’t know. I said he doesn’t ‘regard’ them as property. He’s as aware as anyone else that legally animals are property.

        What you were doing was taking him to task for having animals as ‘property’, yet are quite content for sanctuaries – well, some of them anyway – to have animals as property as well.

        Reply
  9. Pingback: So what is the truth about cats and dogs?
  10. Australia is home to a range of feral exotic species that are thriving, not just surviving, e.g. brumbies, goats, pigs, cats, foxes, rabbits, camels. If we do rescue abused and neglected farm animals, we must bring them to good health and then let them live their own lives in nature, even in Australian nature – as opposed to continuing to be under the control of humans. Arguments that have been put to me previously are that “we humans must protect former farm/pet animals from the dangers of the wild”. Well, heavens to Betsy – even domesticated chickens can adapt and flourish. We must not protect animals from leading their own lives, free from our interference.

    In doing so we can put an equals sign between the value we ascribe to domestic animals (which are almost exclusively exotic) and the value we ascribe to native animals.

    Reply

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