Many people who eat meat and use other animal products love their companion animals and even consider them to be a part of the family. That the vast majority of their contact with animals is actually through eating them is a fact that remains invisible to them. Even so, there are many issues involved with the way we treat companion animals that reflect anything but love.
Rather than adopting, people who prefer specific breeds of companion animals often buy from breeders or pet stores, which perpetuates the overpopulation of companion animal species on our streets and in our shelters. Breeders often keep their breeding animals in filthy, cruel conditions. The nightmare of puppy mills is one example, where a mother dog, who lives out her life confined in a small wire cage, is bred over and over only to have her children taken away from her.
Shelters are the better option for those who care about the well being of companion animals and wish to have an animal in their home. Nevertheless, many shelters, due to overpopulation, are intensely crowded, and animals may be killed to make room. This is why spaying and neutering the animals in your care and supporting trap, neuter, return programs is so important.
Breeding affects animals in other negative ways, such as harmful in-breeding to obtain so-called desirable traits that can result in substantial health problems, as well as unfair prejudice against certain breeds or types. Dogs known as pit bulls are one example. While there is no reliable evidence to suggest that they are inherently more aggressive toward humans than any other kind of dog, this idea is prevalent in our society and damaging to the animals.
Unfortunately, many people who say that their companion animals are a part of their family do not treat their animals as family members – countless dogs are left chained up in yards for days on end, while other animals are “trained” by cruel methods such as electric collars and some spend most of their days confined in small crates waiting for their people to come home. The dropping off of animals that are no longer wanted at shelters or even on the streets is frequent. The person dumping the animal may console themselves with the illusion that the animal will find a new home, but this is too seldom the case.
- Why Should We Care?
- Animal Testing
- Companion Animals
- What to Do?