1000 Flowers for the Planet - #206 Discourage Unusual Pets
What is an unusual pet? The answer could be anything from a lizard to a lion. Some think of ‘unusual’ as something that would normally be wild, others may think it is a creature that is ‘rare’ (in other words, endangered). Personally, when I see the way people treat animals I think we should ban pet ownership all together. Why do people think it’s okay to dress up an animal in clothing, put large birds in small cages, keep tropical creatures in cool climate zones, ‘train’ animals to do unnatural things or take on human emotional responses. Animals are not humans. They don’t understand jokes or sarcasm, and they don’t care about the latest fashion trends. They do require a life wherein they live with their own kind, are able to exhibit natural behaviour in an environment that suits their needs, and procreate in a natural way.
People like to keep unusual pets because it makes them feel different. It’s more about being able to identify oneself as “tough because I own a leopard”, or “cool because I own a giant python”, or “affluent because I own a macaw”. It’s more about the feeling it provides the owner than the owner feeling they are giving this creature a better life. The best life for the animal is in its own environment with its own kind. One website I came across had a very strong opinion in favour of humans keeping unusual pets, with a firm belief that to suggest humans should not keep unusual pets was “infringing on the freedom of choice and lifestyle pursuits of others.” This is a perfect example of the issue being all about the human and not at all about the animal.
Before deciding to ‘own’ a creature of any kind, think carefully. Think about whether this act is for yourself or because you believe you are giving that creature the best possible life it can have. If, like me, you conclude that most creatures are better off in their natural environment with their own species, then discourage unusual pets.