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Is it cruel to keep pets?

  1. Apr 15, 2013 #1
    Most dogs would be running across continents and looking after their own litters, not running around gardens and fields looking after their plastic toys. Don't you think it's cruel to confine animals to such small living environments?

    We're essentially kidnapping them (and often castrating/spaying them) and abusing their natural instinct to seek security in the creature that feeds them, which should (in nature) be their mother or the pack.

    How would we feel if an alien race came down, killed all of the humans they deemed threatening, took the weak ones and bred them for their own needs, then much later using their existences as emotional crutches and denying them the freedom to choose outside of an environment they can't comprehend?
     
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  3. Apr 15, 2013 #2

    Astronuc

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    I recommend that one compare the lives of feral dogs and cats with those of domestic ones. One will likely find that pets have a much better quality of life, e.g., less disease and greater longevity than their feral counterparts.

    We've domesticated cats and dogs over a long period - thousands of years.

    Some time ago, there was an outbreak of distemper in lions in a certain part of Africa. It turned out that the lions caught it from hyenas, who got if from eating infected dogs from nearby villages. Sick dogs are an easy meal for hyenas. The other part of the story involves ticks with Babesia.

    I found our youngest cat as a kitten (~7-8 weeks) under the front porch. She was weighed less than 1 kg (~2 lbs) and loaded with ticks and fleas, and had we not found her, she probably would not have survived.
     
  4. Apr 15, 2013 #3

    cobalt124

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    It's not cruel to keep dogs as long as they are fed and exercised properly. Cats just use you anyway, if the grubs better at the neighbours they will go live there. I believe keeping caged animals is cruel. I've done it, but not out of my own choice.
     
  5. Apr 15, 2013 #4

    russ_watters

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    My parents keep indoor/outdoor cats. They are free to leave and not come back. They rarely do.
     
  6. Apr 15, 2013 #5

    Danger

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    Some, for sure, but not all. I adopted Lucy when she was 3, and she's now 16. Two of my hospitalizations (2 years ago and again last November) were for 3 weeks. She lacked nothing, as my neighbour fed and watered her every day. When I returned, she stuck to me like a burr for at least a week and a half, purring and licking like crazy, until she was fairly sure that I was staying. Ever since, she comes and sits with me, or sleeps with me if I'm in bed, at least every couple of hours. She even sits on the ledge beside the toilet when I'm in there. She used to spend a fair bit of time with me, but not to that extent by any means. That's genuine affection.
     
  7. Apr 15, 2013 #6
    I think as far as cats and dogs and horses go, the damage has been done, and there's no going back. Hogs seem to have no problem going feral and thriving, but the others, not.

    I suppose the only thing to be done is to do our best to prevent people from domesticating yet more wild species.

    edit: especially zoobies
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2013
  8. Apr 15, 2013 #7

    turbo

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    We rescued Duke from a shelter, and he is the Velcro Dog. He is sad when my wife leaves and sad when I leave. He had spent about 5 months in doggy-prison, and he had apparently been beaten and abused because he shies away from any guy (except me) holding a stick, a hammer, etc. He has a better life now.

    BTW, dogs have been companion animals and hunting partners for thousands of years. Want to go for a walk in the woods? Duke is right there. We don't hunt, but he loves to get out and follow his nose. I have a neighbor with 2 spaniels and they are tied up outside about 24/7. That is cruelty, IMO.
     
  9. Apr 15, 2013 #8

    cobalt124

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    Yes I may have misrepresented the cat in question, we got him as a rescue cat and he nearly died. He was terrified and hid under a cupboard. I coaxed him out with some food, laid on my back on the floor, picked him up and laid him on my stomach. He laid down and started purring and trusted me from that day. If I ever lay down he comes and lays on my stomach, dogs permitting. However, whenever the neighbours are home, he still clears off there, as the food is better apparently.
     
  10. Apr 15, 2013 #9

    WannabeNewton

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    I think this is a very important point. As cruel as the practice is, it has been going on for so long that you really can't do much about it at this point. If there really is such a thing as karma then your (the OP's) alien analogy would be a befitting fate for humans.
     
  11. Apr 15, 2013 #10

    Monique

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    I think most of the industry that creates the animals to be held as pets is cruel, yes. They mostly do it for the money and don't care much about the wellbeing. Having domesticated pets is not cruel, why would it be.
     
  12. Apr 15, 2013 #11
    I think caging a bird is cruel.
     
  13. Apr 15, 2013 #12

    WannabeNewton

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    Those animal zoos / petting zoos always break my heart to go through. The fact that they are legal just makes my blood boil.
     
  14. Apr 15, 2013 #13

    Danger

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    That's not in your best interest; animals can sense boiling blood and take it as an invitation to eat you.
    Monique, I agree entirely. While a large number of us are making sure that as many pets as possible are spayed or neutered to minimize the excess population, there are mercenary bastards running puppy mills or pit-bull breeding shops in order to turn a profit.
     
  15. Apr 15, 2013 #14

    lisab

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    I've been told by bird owners that having a bird would suit me. But I can't do it, for this exact reason. They aren't domesticated animals, I don't want to cage them.
     
  16. Apr 15, 2013 #15

    turbo

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    I had a blue-crowned conure that loved me. She was never caged, and I built her a complex perch. Keep the wing-feather tips trimmed, and she was very happy as a climber. It helped that I included some small food-dishes on the perch. She would go nuts for chili peppers.
     
  17. Apr 18, 2013 #16

    Danger

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    Should I mention Roger, Evo's red-eared racing turtle? She probably wore down the bottom of his shell revving him up for a match.
     
  18. Apr 18, 2013 #17

    Chronos

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    My fat boy came from the animal shelter after being liberated from a puppy mill. He appears grateful.
     
  19. Apr 18, 2013 #18

    BobG

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    Actually, they'd either be living in an urban environment, at least partially off of humans, much like the foxes in my city do, or they'd be roaming the prairie just outside the city, much like the coyotes here do.

    Having a pet that becomes a member of the family isn't cruel. Who is in their "pack" isn't a huge issue for dogs, which are extremely sociable. The important thing is that they actually belong.

    I would agree the way people collect pets as puppies or kittens and then discard them once the fun's wore off is cruel.

    I got my dog from a shelter when she was 2 years old. Seems hard to understand how they could have discarded her after that much time (but, this being a military town, it's not totally inexplicable). Seven years later, I'd say both of us benefited and she hasn't had a bad life at all.
     
  20. Apr 18, 2013 #19
    Does that mean, the bird will not be able to fly again? That sounds cruel to me.
     
  21. Apr 19, 2013 #20

    Danger

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    No. Wing clipping is similar to getting a haircut or trimming your nails. It messes up their aerodynamics, not their physical health. If the feathers are allowed to grow out, the critter can fly again. It also won't get cold, or sink in the bathtub, or whatever a naked bird might do; flight feathers are not the same as overall plumage.
     
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