The Ethics of Keeping Pets

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Animals are the under-appreciated co-inhabitants of our planet. I believe that animals should be afforded equal consideration to humans. The only criteria for equal treatment should be the ability to feel pain. As we can demonstrate that all animals with a backbone can feel pain, then all animals with a backbone should be treated with equal consideration to humans. Their needs should be considered and met in the same way a human's would be.

This however does not mean that the natural order should be overlooked. We would not stop a cat from eating a mouse, and as such we should not place restrictions on our use of animals so as it disrupts the natural order. Unfortunately, our ancestors have disrupted the natural order in the past, and have domesticated some varieties of animals. This means that these animals are dependant on human care, we can't simply let them all go to behave as they would in the wild, not only would it upset the natural balance, but these animals do not necessarily know how to behave in the wild. We know that some cats and dogs become feral, but hundreds of others die from disease, road accidents and other avoidable causes. So we are left with no option but to continue to keep domestic animals as we have done for hundreds of years.

Essentially, we keep pets as companions. Sometimes we teach them how to perform tasks. We have a mutually beneficial relationship with our pets. We offer them protection and care in exchange for companionship. It has been shown by many researchers that keeping a pet has many health benefits such as lowered blood pressure, less stress, longer life span and has even been proven to go a long way towards curing clinical depression. There are also benefits for the animals, such as medical care, having food and water provided for them and a longer life expectancy.

The relationship we have with our pets is much like that which a parent has with a child. In fact, other than the fact that we make the definition...
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