Animals can be our friends:
They fit into the definitions of being friends: We share genuine bonds. We care for, trust and help each other. We don’t treat each other as tools.
There is a shared bond between animals and us – we share weal and woes – celebrating joy and going through difficulties as one. Furthermore, “A dog is a man’s best friend.”
We care and look out for each other – Trained animals for handicapped individuals assist their masters, whereas their masters will provide them with love and care. Both help each other, like friends do.
There is mutual trust regardless of circumstances.
We do not take animals as tools since they are our friends – we see arguments for vegetarianism on the unacceptability of eating animals, our friends.
Animals may not be our friends:
This is because human control over animals is extensive (like when their pets eat, exercise, etc.) It will then become guardianship instead of friendship. Therefore, we are labeled as “pets” and “owner” and not “friends”.
Humans also treat animals as tools for mutual benefits. Some animals are taken as sources of food and materials, some for experimental purposes. For instance, many people eat meat of the animals and use their outer coverings. This is not the way we treat our friends.
There are limits to our friendship with animals. We may not be able to communicate with them as they do not speak in the same way human beings do. This might affect the relationship between humans and animals.
Thus, there might not be virtue friendship between HUMANS and animals.