Those people who want to have pets or companion animals will be able to choose between two ways to get them: buy or adopt. Although at first it may seem that the impact of doing so in one way or another is irrelevant, the reality is that the pet business involves a series of elements that implies suffering and, in many cases, the sacrifice of animals.
What is a pet and what does it entail
First of all, it must be taken into account that many people and companies approach the relationship with pets in the same way that a relationship can be established between a car, a house or a mobile phone, to give a few examples. In other words, it is a customer-product relationship. In this vision, the pet becomes a mere “product”, whose sole purpose and objective is to satisfy the “need” of the consumer.
However, it is clear that a pet cannot be at the same level as a commercial product , since it is a living being that, among other things, has a capacity for suffering identical to that of any other, including humans. Consequently, falling into objectification (turning pets into “things”) is an ethical error that we must avoid, which also leads to animal abuse on many occasions .
On the contrary, the correct way to establish a relationship with a pet is that of person-animal, in which the person has the responsibility of taking care of the pet , since it is a living being, and not a product that serves to satisfy the wishes of that particular person. That is, having a pet is a responsibility, not a whim or desire. In fact, it must be taken into account that nobody forces someone to have a pet, which implies that it is a free act and that it is chosen voluntarily, so that the only person responsible for this situation in which the person-relationship is created is animal is the person itself.
In this way, having a pet is an act of love and dedication that a person establishes freely and voluntarily towards a living being of another species, and that must involve the effort and “sacrifice” of the person in favor of the welfare of the animal, and not the other way around, since the person is the party that establishes this relationship. Likewise, any other way of understanding the relationship between person-pet will be an erroneous understanding, which necessarily entails the reification of the animal , and which does not have any possible ethical justification.
Once the importance of the person-pet relationship has been properly understood, it is also important to understand where pets come from. In the case of dogs and cats, which are the most common pets, their place of origin will always be from animal farms or animal shelters (which are usually found on the street or roads or are taken there directly by the owners). In the event that we ourselves are the ones who find the animal in the street, it will be necessary to take into account that it will be a fortuitous situation, so it cannot be said that there has been a will to buy or adopt the animal, so the correct thing to do is to say that the only two options for “acquiring” an animal is to do so through a kennel or shelter.
The hatcheries are those that supply animals to the stores, in the same way that any industry supplies its “product” to the distribution store. This implies that the product has to be adapted to the needs of the company so that it can have economic benefits, which is logically the main objective of any company. The problem, in this case, the “product” of these companies are living beings that can suffer.
Although there are different types of farms, legal and more controlled and concerned about the welfare of the animal or those that, even though they are legal, only see them as merchandise and produce at an industrial level or even those that are illegal, all of them ” produce “animals forcing reproductionof mothers artificially. Let’s not forget that, like any “product”, it must be replaced at the distribution points. Furthermore, the conditions in which these animals live until they reach families make them truly miserable living beings. Generally, they are confined and crowded in very small spaces, the young are separated from their mothers before they can fend for themselves and, furthermore, those young that do not meet market standards will be directly euthanized or abandoned because they will not turn out. easy to sell in store. Finally, after the animals have passed through the store, in the event that they have not been sold, they will be returned to the kennel, where most will be euthanized, since the pets that are sold,
Thus, the dire conditions in which animals live in breeders and shops for sale are the cause of great problems, both in health and sociability. On the other hand, shelters or animal protection associations are a different topic, as we will see below.
Unlike what happens with the cattery and pet store industry, the structure of animal shelters is not designed with the aim of being economically profitable, but rather to provide a solution to the problem of homeless animals . In this way, these are places in which the animals are offered in order to find a home, it is tried that they are in the best possible conditions (which entails economic costs that are often difficult to achieve) and, in addition As a result, the vision is promoted that an animal is a living being that has value in itself, not as a “product” that can be bought and thrown away when it is no longer wanted.
In this way, if when it comes to getting an animal, we adopt it from a shelter instead of buying it from a hatchery, we will have the certainty that we are helping an animal in need , at the same time that we will not be collaborating with an industry that exploits and objectifies animals with the sole motivation of obtaining benefits.
In addition, in protective associations or shelters , a home is sought for dogs, cats and other animals no matter how old they are, whether they are of race or mongrel, are somewhat sick or totally healthy, and so on. It is true that in order to take one of these needy animals home we will have to pay, but the price is minimal and it is the one that covers the veterinary expenses of the specific animal and is not for financial gain.
Another way to help foster this respectful human-animal point of view is to help shelters by volunteering or making donations, whether financial, materials or services.