Pros and cons of using the word “pet”

PETA wants us to stop using the words “pet” and “ownership” in relationship to being the caretaker of a companion animal. In the last sentence I use the alternative versions of the words “pet” and “owner”. They want us to change our habits because the word “pet” is slightly, if not greatly, denigrating of a companion animal which is a much loved sentient being. It implies that the animal is there to entertain and amuse us. We even interact with them by “petting” them; a derivative word that PETA would also like to see consigned to history.

Pros and cons of using the word pet
Pros and cons of using the word pet. These guys in the video decided that PETA are being too extreme and obsessed with language. They think PETA has lost them because of their extreme policies and equating the ill-treatment of animals to the Holocaust. They’re not convinced that the word “pet” should be dropped. Screenshot from the video.

Pros for dropping the word “pet”

The pros for not using the word “pet” would be improvements in animal welfare. The use of language can affect human behaviour. Even though humans created the word it perpetuates the wrong kind of relationship between animal and person. It is a word that originates in the past when animal welfare was not as good as it is today. There is a gradual shift away from people looking down on animals as creatures with secondary rights and a preference to regard them on an equal footing. There has been an improvement in animal rights in general. And in the majority of homes people relate to their companion animals as members of the family. The word “pet” is out of date and past its sell by date. It perpetuates relationship between non-human animal and human which could be improved by dropping the word.

Cons for dropping the word “pet”

The counterargument is that it’s an overreaction. We could simply stop using the word “ownership” and substitute “guardian” or “caretaker” or “caregiver”. In any case, the law supports the idea that people own pets. It’s going too far to change the word and as the guy in the video says PETA are speaking a different language to the general population. They’ve lost the support of the public because of their overly strict and obsessive viewpoint. That is one of cons of the argument that we should drop the word “pet”.

Pronouncing the acronym PETA

PETA are on shaky ground people would argue, if they disagree with them, because in the acronym of the name of their organisation you’ll find the word “pet”. This is why they insist that you pronounce PETA as if you are saying Peter. It’s a bit bizarre but I think that they have found themselves in a position where they are left with an acronym which does not quite fit in with their ethos and objectives.


My personal opinion is that I fully support PETA. My support for them is 100% and unwavering. I agree with everything that they say except for their position regarding feral cats which they’ve got rather muddled in my opinion. They think (or thought) that we should euthanise all feral cats because their lives are too miserable. Although the man in charge of PETA in India has a more conventional viewpoint and says that they should not be euthanised. Many people running TNR programs create dcent worlds and lifestyles for feral cats. These cats are fed and cared for and you cannot say that their lives are miserable. They should be respected and we have a duty to care for them.

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