“If you don’t love my animals, you don’t love me!” my wife cried.
“It has nothing to do with love,” I countered, “I’m just sick of cleaning up piss, shit or vomit somewhere in the house every single day!”
It was a common argument between my wife and me and it never solved anything. I must admit that the animals - having 3-4 cats at a time plus a dog in a house is stressful - are a part of the reason why we are now divorced. Part of the reason – the primary part being that she is mentally ill and needs some serious therapy. However, I digress.
“Must Love Dogs!”
“Must Love Cats!”
“Must Love Gerbils in Anal Cavity!”
After my inevitable separation from my evil-dwarf wife, I saw many headlines on many profiles on popular dating sites such as the ones listed above. Okay, fine, the last one was my headline. Needless to say, I did not contact any people with such a headline or with any such statement within their profile.
“Well, I just want to be with someone that loves animals. I love animals and I won’t be with someone who doesn’t love them too!”
Oh, really, you love animals do you?
Do you really love animals?
Do you eat meat?
Here is my point. If you fly into a rage every time you hear about someone beating up a dog or torturing a cat or get upset by the conditions that zoo and circus animals are kept in, but you still eat meat, you do not love animals. You love pets. You obviously don’t give a shit about the billions of animals that are slaughtered for our food every year, but if one of your cute, furry, cuddly-wuddly critters breaks a toe-nail and you completely lose your shit, then you are nothing but part of the herd of pet lovers.
Yes, I paint with a wide brush and it is not to promote a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle; I believe that actions should be suited to words spoken. Maybe you have not thought about loving animals and carnivorous habits in those terms before and if I made you think, then I applaud your openness to knowledge. If you are just upset or offended, I do not care; grow up, life is tough.
Also, let me point out that I truly believe that some people are amazing pet “owners”. Some people and their “pets” simply belong together. Some. I believe that most people are terrible pet owners – myself included – and should not have pets.
In our modern society it seems that pets are almost becoming equivalent to children. In 2007, Canadians spent 4.5billion dollars on their pets. 4.5 billion dollars. Picture Dr. Evil saying that and you have some idea as to the enormity of the figure.
Four point five billion dollars!
That is an absolutely appalling amount of money to spend on something that contributes nothing to the world.
Four point five billion dollars! In 2007! In the few minutes I took to look up the numbers, those were what I came across first. 2007 was the height of the Canadian economic “boom” just before the so-called “recession” hit (fodder for another blog post), so the numbers likely took a shallow dive and by now have tipped the 5 billion dollar scale.
As I said, it is an appalling amount of money to spend on things that contribute nothing to society or the world.
It also says something about our societal mentality. Personally, I think it says we are completely insane.
I think the four point five billion dollar question is: why are we so compelled to enslave other living creatures?
Pet ownership is simply enslavement. We enslave other creatures to do our bidding. We want them to listen to us, obey our commands, do stupid tricks for us, wear stupid outfits, lead our blind and infirm around. We collar them, leash them, tie them to ropes in the yard, and lock them in cages. We yell at them and push them away when they annoy us. We use them to amuse us, to do work for us, to carry us around. Hell, horse “training” is called breaking; we break the animal’s will, we take away its freedom and its ability to resist us. In the case of dogs and cats, they have been bred to be domestic, but they are still capable of becoming wild again, they still have ingrained natural tendencies, but they are no longer a natural animal.
And when it is all said and done, when they are too old or too difficult to deal with or when there are too many of them, we kill them.
“What? We don’t kill them! We end their suffering!”
Right. End their suffering? Really? Then why have you not pulled the plug on old granny’s life support yet?
Of course, there are “rescue” shelters by the dozen now and the Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (which, in Red Deer, is a hop, skip and a jump away from a pig slaughter house; oh, the irony) and vets and other organizations that deal with the unpleasant aspects of our pet obsession. You have to face the fact that a lot of the responsibility of pet-ownership is unpleasant: cleaning, brushing, walking, cleaning up piss, shit and vomit, repairing damage caused by pets, etcetera and look at how many of those few chores listed that we are willing to pay someone else to do for us!
Why are we so compelled to enslave other living creatures?
Why do we believe we have the right? Why do we believe that we are entitled to treat other living creatures in the manners that we do?
I believe that I have an answer, but let us explore some other issues before I target the primary culprit.
…to be continued…