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Strange question - Vegans and pets

Okay. If you're a vegan, you aren't supposed to exploit animals, right? I'm not a vegan... not even vegetarian. I'm not sworn off meat, I just avoid it. But that's neither here nor there.

Here's my question: Is having a "companion animal" exploitation? I have cats. They provide me with moody, fickle affection. In return, I provide them with food, shelter, medical care, catnip, petting, brushing, flea control, toys, hugs, and soft, comfy places to sleep all day. I think I am the exploited animal, here.

But what if I was a vegan? Could I still have cats in my house? They ARE carnivores, after all. How far are you allowed to put your own convictions on another creature? One of my neighbors when I was a kid was a vegan, (which was considered insane back in the mid-70's) and he VERY reluctantly permitted his wife and children to consume eggs, milk, and cheese. The children were beautiful and vibrantly healthy, but his DOGS on the other hand, were scrawny, listless, and going bald, because he would not allow any form of meat product in his house, including dog food. I have no IDEA what he was feeding those poor critters, but they were in extremely poor health, ironically in the name of animal welfare.

Any ideas, here?
I think the argument here is that you shouldn't force your opinions upon other people. You should allow people to discover their opinions, and should be supportive to them either if their opinions do not correspond with yours. It's like what happened with Hitler Evil or Very Mad . He tried to force his ideals upon others, and we all know what happened there. Wink

Regarding your problem (for want of a better word) with your cats, you should give them meaty food, even though you may be against it, because otherwise you are not allowing them to live their own life; rather the life you want them to lead.
Very much agreed with the first reply there. I've been a vegetarian for about 7-8 years now, but it was my choice. Ideally, those that are intelligent enough to make the decision to live without meat (healthily) would make it, but I cannot force it upon anyone, nor would I want to. I made the choice I made for me and my conscience... but I won't make that choice for my pets either, especially since it really wouldn't be healthy for them.
On the subject of the OP's post, I would not consider keeping my cat or dog to be wrong. Granted, they live with my parents in NY since I moved away, but seeing how so many other people treat their pets, I think the pampered life they live as part of the family (Hell, they have their *own* couches) is far better than the life they could have had tied outside to a dog house 365 days a year. They really aren't pets... they *are* the family. I don't think it's an exploitation or abusive at all. I think it's love. Smile

Animal euthanasia and criminal charges
A dead cat and her two dead kittens left in the dumpster by PETA employees.
A dead cat and her two dead kittens left in the dumpster by PETA employees.

PETA was criticized in 2005 when police discovered that at least 80 animals had been euthanized and left in area dumpsters over the course of a month. Two PETA employees approached a dumpster in a van registered to PETA and left behind 18 dead animals. Thirteen more were found inside the van. The animals had been euthanized by the PETA employees immediately after taking them from shelters in Northampton and Bertie counties.[85] In a 2005 column in the San Francisco Chronicle, PETA’s director of the Domestic Animals Issues stated that PETA began euthanizing animals in some rural North Carolina shelters via painless injection after it found that the shelters were killing unwanted animals with rifles and dilapidated gas chambers, both of which they claim are inhumane ways to kill animals.[86] Officials from both counties said they were under the impression that the animals would be euthanized only if a home could not be found for them, and after being fully evaluated by a veterinarian. Both counties suspended their agreements with PETA after the incident.[87]

Among the bodies in the dumpster were a cat and two of her kittens, given to PETA by veterinarian Patrick Proctor of Ahoskie Animal Hospital. According to Proctor, the two kittens were very adoptable, and he said the PETA employees claimed they would have no trouble finding homes for them.[88][89][90] In an interview with CNN, Ingrid Newkirk said that Proctor — who himself carries out euthanasia on behalf of PETA — was not present when the kittens were removed and was therefore not in a position to know what PETA's employees had said. Newkirk added that it was unlikely the employees said they could find homes for the animals, given that the veterinarian's assistant handed the animals to PETA precisely because she knew homes could not be found. "If the veterinarian couldn't find homes for a few kittens and a cat, which is surprising, if they have clients coming in, then that's why they called us, because they know we don't have a magic wand either," Newkirk told CNN. [89]

PETA condemned the dumping as against their policy, and suspended one of the employees involved for 90 days. Police charged the two employees with 31 felony counts of animal cruelty and eight misdemeanor counts of illegal disposal of dead animals. [91] In October, these charges were dropped, and replaced with 42 combined counts of animal cruelty, and 3 counts of "obtaining property under false pretense". [92][93] In the trial, which began on January 22, 2007, [94] both workers were acquitted of all charges, including animal cruelty charges, except a misdemeanor count for improper disposing of the euthanized animals. [7]

In May 2007, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) started investigations of how PETA handles euthanasia drugs.[95] According to the DEA, PETA could face fines or sanctions against its license if it finds any wrongdoing, while gross mishandling of drugs could lead to criminal charges.

Oh the hypocracy.
Well, i have been a vegitarean sence i was about 8. I just never required the taste or the thought of eating flesh off bone, but that is besides the point. I'm going to by a kitten soon, not all vegan and vegitareans are that uptight. i don't believe in animal abuse, neglection, so on and so forth. but cats and dogs or domesticated animals, they have been for 15,000 years.

hell, i don't think it is right to throw a domesticated animal out on the streets to fend for it self with speeding cars and no food for it eat. and as for cats they are independant and no body should keep them housed in for too long unless the kitty doesn't want to go out. It's a domesticated animal as well...
This is an interesting topic, and worthy of much debate. My neighbours are vegans, and they have a beautiful beagle, about 8 yrs old. That dog is fed a macrobiotic, completely organic, vegan diet and it is happy, healthy, etc. They don't get it vaccinated or use flea medication; but they do use "natural" alternatives.

Without commenting on the validity of the science behind their veganism (you can probably hear there that I am a skeptic), what I will say is that they have applied their principles to their companion animal well, and the entire family is healthy.

Dogs are omnivores, like humans. They can live on a vegan diet, as long as they get alternate sources of proteins.

Cats, however, are carnivores. Even domesticated cats' systems need a higher volume of animal-based protein.

So I would worry about a vegan attempting to impose a vegan diet on a cat.
Very interesting and still controversial topic!

I know for a fact that cats/felines can't exist without meat in their diet, they will die. Dogs on the other hand are able to be vegetarians, but they would need beans and stuff. (Some dog breeders don't buy food but make it themselves.) So cats need meat, and dogs do to, but it's not essential to their survival.

On the topic of making your animals suffer for your beliefs, hah! That is ironic. Animals don't have the choice to be vegetarians, they are animals and have evolved to eat what they naturally eat. Humans on the other hand are omnivores, and can eat pretty much anything and survive (maybe not well) with just meat or just veggies. (Think of the Inuits, they only had whale and fish meat....)

On the subject of "animal liberty". PETA is disgusting for using euthanasia on so-called "trapped" or "enslaved" animals. Domestic animals have been domesticated for thousands of years and are, by nature, happy and safe where they are (with the obvious exceptions of abuse, but that's against the law in some places) *Edit: Even abused animals remain loyal to their abusers. Especially dogs.*. Even a caged bird can like it's cage (*Edit: if it's big enough) because it gets what it needs, and is protected. It's like saying someone in a house is trapped. An animal does not distinguish between the choice to leave, and being forced to stay in a comfortable place. On the other hand, exotic pets can often be undomesticated wild animals that shouldn't be pets in the first place. but I think that's a story for another day.

My last comment is: being a vegan should be for moral and environmental reasons. An animal that needs to eat meat should be allowed to. The fact that humans can now survive without it, does not mean animals can. And also, since it is part of the natural order of things, an animal eating meat would not have adverse effects in it's given ecology (I say given because, of course, introduced animals could upset this.) So please! Leave things be!
I am a vegan. I grew up around dogs, cats, fish, etc. I absolutely LOVE life. I enjoy the birds that congregate in my yard and reproduce life in my trees..... I don't believe in animal cruelty... When I see a stray dog, I take him in, feed him, wash him, and make him mine.

To respond to the point a previous poster made: Not allowing a dog to eat meat is ridiculous. That goes against his biological makeup. They are, after all, carnivores.

To force any animal to live or eat outside of its habitat is cruel (which is why I don't like the concept of a zoo). Any vegan who suggests otherwise - in my opinion - is a bit on the extreme side.

My two cents. Smile
Feeding dogs vegetables is cruel. What are Vegans about anyway, isn’t it about not harming living things? Some people.
I think choosing not to partake in the farming and mass killing of animals for a meat diet is very different to owning a pet. My disagreements with the meat industry are more to do with farming and killing techniques than about anything else. So I don't see why having a pet would inifere with this. I'm sure it is also arguable that meat isn't necessarily a need in the human diet where it is in a cat or dogs. I wouldn't feed a pet food from a can, that is for sure. Cats are much better off on chicken wings and dogs on bones (much better for their teeth)...
It is truly hilarious how few people in Peta or any other animal rights group have ever stepped foot on a farm. Not all farms fall under the "heartless mass production of animals" banner. Many farms are sustainable and small family ventures that don't mistreat their animals. I worked on a dairy farm when I was younger. The cows were given excellent treatment, spent most of their day outside except in really bad weather, and were healthy happy animals. To say that the cows should all be let free is a ridiculous argument as they have been domesticated for so many years, they would not survive in the wild. Same with cats dogs and ferrets, but one of the more secret agendas of Peta is " better dead than fed" meaning that they want all companion and domesticated farm animals to die out. They are a very political organization, and a lot of what they do screams of politicking rather than any real concern with animals.
Well, I'm glad I managed to spark a lively debate, aside from my own curiousity about how far you can go if you're a vegan.

I have NO intention of depriving my kitties of meaty food, no matter what. I love my cats. They love me. One of my three cats is very fond of lettuce, tomatoes, beans, broccoli, bananas, and cantaloupe, but he's always been peculiar. But those are treats, to him, and he still wants his bowl of Friskies twice a day, dammit. One of the other cats is addicted to asparagus. Cats are just weird. But let's get back to my point.

Here's another odd question: Since one of the big deals about being vegan is not hurting or exploiting animals, what if you have a spoiled rotten pet that just happens to lay eggs or give milk?

I had a pet chicken when I was a kid. Her full name was MaeMae Pennyfeather Chickabitty. We just called her MaeMae. She was a charming little creature, speckled dark grey, with silly feathery feet that looked like snowshoes, and a big poof of feathers on her head like a Patti LaBelle hairdo (but this was before Patti LaBelle). Anyway, she was as friendly as a dog, and would follow me around, comically hopping up and down, begging to be held and petted. And she laid an egg every day. She would strut around the yard singing proudly, after she laid her egg.

Yes, chickens sing, when they're happy. They sound like drunken, creaky, elderly opera singers trying to make a comeback, but they sing. And happy chickens sound off loud, exultant, off-key arias when they've just laid an egg.

Anyway, we ate the eggs. They were the best eggs ever, rich and tasty, with thick whites and dark red-orange yolks, because MaeMae was a cheerful little free range chicken, wandering around a grassy yard eating bugs and lizards and whatever else caught her fancy, in addition to her daily ration of chicken food. She slept in a cage at night, to protect her from predators, and she went into the cage to roost, at sundown, of her own volition. A raccoon got in and took a chunk out of her once, when we forgot to lock her in, but she recovered, with the help of a few tubes of Neosporin ointment, and several weeks of vitamin-laced mash.

But here's the question: If you have a critter running around cheerful, friendly, well-fed, and mostly free, and you harvest a few goodies in the process, are you exploiting that animal?
On topic of OP: I don't think any person should enforce their beliefs on other things. They can try to persuade, but through force is a bit much. With animals, you can't really reason with them. But they will let you know if they like or dislike the things you give them to eat.

On topic of above poster: If Vegans are really about non-exploitation you could say using/eating the eggs could be exploitatoin, since the original purpose of eggs is to have chicks. At least I thought they were Razz

I know very little about vegan ideology so don't hate me for my ignorance. I just wanted to post my thoughts as of now.
Yes, you are exploiting that animal... but at the same time you are likely providing it a more comfortable life than it would have out in the wild. Does this necessarily mean better? Not really. What you do need to understand is that Veganism is an extreme, just like any religion they take a few thoughts and run with it as far as they can. Though I had to leave my cat behind when I moved (I still miss him) we had a very close bond and he really loved people. You could even see him smile ^^
I tend to think that domesticated animals have been cohabitating with humans for so long that having pets, as a vegan, would be ethically okay.

I was a vegan for years, and owned pets throughout the time. I've swung the other way now (I eat meat sometimes), and I don't have any pets, as my apartment doesn't allow them!

Generally, I've gotten to the point where I think that being stringent and dogmatic about any behavior is pretty silly. So veganism, no pet-ism, etc, etc all just seem fairly laughable at this point.

I had a vegan boyfriend who had a vegan dog, once! I'm not so sure that this was a sustainable condition for the dog, but the dog had become rather overweight on its normal dog food, plus table scaps galore. My boyfriend, a militant vegan, decided "My dog needs to go on a diet! A vegan diet!". He used to microwave this special vegan dog food with frozen peas and carrots, and would let his roly, adorable dog pig out on this mixture. The dog never lost any weight, really, and seemed no more or less lethargic on this diet than on his normal one.

Who's to say?
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