If you’re pet owner, how do you define your animals? As a possession or a family member? The animal rights movement wants people to consider any living being as more than a piece of property. Unfortunately, current law considers animals hold no more value than a chair.
So what’s in a word? Well, when it comes to animal welfare issues — apparently a lot!
IDA (In Defense of Animals) is trying to promote the paradigm shift from “pet owner” to “pet guardian.” It’s a simple idea, really. And actually, not all that new.
Words affect thoughts and attitudes. By changing the term “pet owner” to “pet guardian”, you are making the statement that your pet is a living, breathing, sentient creature who is worth more to you than an easily replaced object.
IDA wants you to take the Guardian Pledge. Will you commit to refer to yourself and others as animal guardians, rather than owners?
Why not go beyond that and get your local government officials to make the change from pet owner to pet guardian? Contact IDA for their assistance at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Governments already making the change include:
- Beverly Hills, CA
- San Jose, CA
- Imperial Beach, CA
- Santa Clara County, CA
- Albany, CA
- Sebastopol, CA
- Marin County, CA
- San Francisco, CA
- West Hollywood, CA
- Berkeley, CA
- Bloomington, IN
- St. Louis, MO
- Wanaque, NJ
- Woodstock, NY
- Amherst, MA
- Menomonee Falls, WI
- Sherwood, AR
- Boulder, CO
- Windsor, Ontario Canada
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) offers writing and speaking tips for the classroom on their Teachkind.org website. One of them is “Never refer to an animal with an inanimate pronoun (it; which; that).”
PETA takes language a step further by advising the substitution of “pet” with “animal companion.”
Think about it. Don’t you kind of feel differently already?
Flickr: Nicki Varkevisser