The question is it okay for vegans to have pets is a complicated one, it’s something that is hotly debated between not only vegans and meat eaters but within the vegan community itself.
I personally am very conflicted by aspects of it. I have both a cat and a dog, although they came into our home before I was vegan.
I don’t have the answer but these are my thoughts on the subject as far as I can make sense of them.
I feel that there are too many cats and dogs, (I’ll concentrate on cats and dogs because it’s too broad a subject for me to talk about it as a whole). Breeding cats and dogs for the purpose of making money is wrong in my eyes, animals shouldn’t be a commodity for making money. In puppy farms for example puppies are often not well cared for, and the extent to which they have been inbred to create dogs that look a certain way, to meet kennel club standards, for example, is wrong.
I am against having dogs for the purpose of showing them because of inbreeding, which I will talk about and because shows such as crufts serve the purpose of not only exploiting dogs for entertainment, but also using dogs to make money, these shows are ticketed and televised. This is just my opinion.
Most inbred dogs suffer discomfort, pain and even premature death. This cannot be right, and while demand continues, supply will continue. Ideally I’d like to see the demand decrease.
However, animal shelters are overrun with cats and dogs that have been rescued from abusive situations, cannot be homed because there are just too many, have been abandoned or simply not wanted anymore.
These animals already exist and deserve a life of love and happiness. There are of course people who provide loving homes, and these animals should be homed.
You could argue that as veganism has compassion at its very core, vegans should provide loving homes for them. I think this is my stance.
However we then come to the debate over what to feed these animals.
Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they need meat to thrive, there are people who suggest a cat can survive on a plant based diet but until there’s conclusive evidence of that, that a cat can absolutely survive and indeed thrive on a plant based diet I feel it’s right to feed them meat.
Dogs can apparently thrive on a plant based diet but then there’s the question of whether they should be fed a plant based diet rather than their natural diet just to be in line with their human companions beliefs.
I feed meat to my animals which doesn’t particularly sit well with me because I’m against meat farming, it’s fair to say I’m conflicted. And arguably hypocritical, as I say, I don’t have the answer.
Would I ever take in another cat or dog? I don’t know, perhaps a dog, but only after first consulting a vet on whether the dog would in fact thrive (it’s not enough for it to survive, it would have to be as healthy as possible) on a plant based diet, but then I feel that I should play a part in helping to reduce the number of animals in shelters by homing one, either a cat or dog. Again I’m hugely conflicted.
I’m interested to know what other people feel about these issues. Let me know your houghts on them.
I’m very much here for discussion because this is something so many people feel so differently about, but not vitriol, such comments will be deleted.