This question is asked A LOT inside and outside the vegan community. Frankly, most people swing mostly to one side on whether vegans can own pets or not.
I’ll give you my views on pets (SPOILER ALERT: I’m a dog lover through and through. I love cuddling with cats too. And people. Cuddling in general really). I think my opinion is a little different from common vegan views, but I’ll tell you how it differs.
Before we get into that, let’s touch on how vegans view animals as entertainment. This plays a pretty big role in views on pet ownership.
Animals as entertainment (e.g. zoos, circuses)
To start off, using animals as entertainment is a big no no in veganism.
Honestly, when I found this out I was actually devastated. I understand not killing or testing on animals, but not going to the zoo? That was my absolute FAVORITE thing to do in new cities because I love animals.
Going to Hong Kong and seeing the dolphins and panda bears, or riding the elephants and camels in India are still some of my favorite memories. Even that time I let a giraffe eat out of my hand. The tongue was so black.
Yeah, so I’m sad. On top of that, I’m planning on going to San Diego for a bit. The thought of not going to one of the best zoos and aquariums is really, really hard.
But I understand it. If I really, really love animals then I won’t want them confined to cages all of their lives and going to those places supports that. Me looking at them every so often while they live trapped isn’t worth it.
What about the great memories, though?
Sure, I might have great memories, but the animals mostly don’t. This is going to sound really bad, but I kind of think of it like molestors or people in slavery. Yes the people who are doing the abusing benefit from it, but the abused don’t.
According to PETA (people for the ethical treatment of animals), horseback riding isn’t right because “[it’s] made solely by one individual with little benefit to and no input from the other. (…) horses deserve to live their lives as nature intended.”
I sort of see zoos and the like as another form of modern day slavery. It’s so sad when I think about their feelings.
How does this relate to whether or not vegan can own pets?
Okay, so we get it. Using animals for our benefit is cruel and so is limiting, neglecting, and not letting them in their natural habitat. This makes sense.
Vegans definitely don’t believe in breeders because of all the commoditizing, cruelty, forced reproduction, and harsh conditions breeders put animals in.
Giving pets away casually, letting them live outdoors on heavy chains, or keeping them locked up is off limits too. It just doesn’t make sense for vegans to own pets in that case. They are treated as animal entertainment. Like we talked about before.
But there’s hope at the end of this dark, sad tunnel.
What about pets who own their humans?
There are certainly some animals that hilariously own humans. It is so funny to go back home to my parents and see my dogs back home Bane and Ricky. They RUN my parent’s house. It’s not a even a question who is in charge from the moment you walk into the door.
The difference between entertainment animals and how vegans view owning pets is that vegans think of pets as companions. Pets aren’t something they own.
It’s kind of hard to say how much happiness we give animals. Generally though, the consensus is as long as we are treating them as a companion, not just a cute thing to own, it’s totally okay to have a pet.
This goes back to my love for dogs. They love to cuddle with me too, so it’s mutually beneficial-not just me gaining something. I literally only dog sit because I love it and even charge super low rates-I like it that much. I plan on adopting a pup soon too, they will be my little baby.
I’m providing happiness, love and joy for them, and they for me.
On the other hand (and this is where I might differ from some other vegans), fish, birds, and other animals like that aren’t vegan friendly. We’re taking them out of their natural habitats to confine them to cages and it only benefits us.
It’s basically like having a zoo in the house and using them as entertainment. To me, it’s sad.
Alright, so some pets are great to have but what about feeding your pet? Will the baby eat meat?
What about pet food?
Basically, the food you feed your pet it can be tricky and a lot of people disagree on this. The thing is, you need to factor in whatever you feed your little one into your animal consumption footprint.
The bright side of this is pets can totally be vegan and thrive. One of the dogs I used to sit was a vegan Bichon pup. She was one of the sweetest dogs I ever got to cuddle with!
There are resources online for vegan pets and I’ve included a great video at the bottom to start you off. I found it on YouTube and the speaker seems to be on par with what I’ve learned about vegan pets.
Yassss vegans can have pet companions
To wrap it up, I definitely think having some pet companions are vegan, while others fall into the entertainment category. Some are mutually beneficial, whereas others are just for us.
And, since I’ve dog sat a vegan pup, I believe pets can be vegan too, just like us.
Oh and if you want more…
- Want to know more about what exactly this crazy vegan thing is? Read What Is A Vegan? It’ll tell you what vegans don’t or do
- Interested in pets going vegan? Watch this 11 minute video to show you where to start
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