When I first heard about this Ingrid Newkirk’s most comments, I immediately thought three things.
One, WTF are Pets At Home going to do? ‘Companions At Home’ doesn’t quite have the same ring to it. Two, my Geordie friends are not going to like this.
And three, *eyeroll emoji*.
I’m all for being sensitive and respectful, but this is basically like saying, don’t call a shoe a shoe, isn’t it?
FYI, the definition of ‘pet’ is: “an animal that is kept in the home as a companion and treated kindly”. Not exactly the nastiest of terms to go by, is it?
Then again, I don’t have a “pet”, sorry “companion”. Both my parents are allergic to animal fur, so it never really happened for me growing up. Thank God, really – I don’t know if I could have handled the guilt, knowing that I’d been using this horrendous slur for so many years in such ignorance.
Rant over. Back to professsional-ish journalism.
PETA’s (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) 70-year-old founder and president, Ingrid Newkirk says calling your pet a pet is “derogatory”, because it makes them sound like they are nothing more than a “commodity” or “decoration”.
This isn’t actually the first time this debate has cropped up in the news – far from it. In fact, PETA has been trying to get pet owners to be officially renamed “human carers” or guardians for years now.
The Daily Mail reports that earlier this week, Newkirk compared calling an animal a ‘pet’ to the treatment of women before the rise of feminism.
The PETA boss believes the language humans use around animals is important. She says:
“Animals are not pets – they are not your cheap burglar alarm, or something which allows you to go out for a walk. They are not ours as decorations or toys, they are living beings.
“A dog is a feeling, whole individual, with emotions and interests, not something you ‘have’.”
“How we say things governs how we think about them, so a tweak in our language when we talk about the animals in our homes is needed.
“A pet is a commodity but animals should not be things on shelves or in boxes, where people say, ‘I like the look of that one, it matches my curtains or my sense of myself.”
Look, animals walk this world with us and anyone that brings purposeful harm to an animal isn’t a human being in my book. With that being said, I actually have a lot of respect for PETA and some of things they’ve achieved over the years. They create change by making change themselves, and that’s a good attitude in this world.
But come on, to suggest that the word “pet” is some sort of slur?! Some slurs cause actual pain in people’s lives every day. Our language is completely foreign to animals – aside from maybe their names and perhaps the word “walk” if they’re a dog – so let’s calm down a tad, shall we?
Just show animals love, support and friendship and it’s al good, if you ask me.
I just think in a new dawn of Brexit, Corona virus and wildfires, the world has slightly more pressing things to worry about RN.
But then again, as I say, I’ve never had a “companion”, so I might have this all wrong…
Having worked in children's media and publishing for almost a decade, Ben is thoroughly excited to now be able to swear in stories and features. He is such a big fan of Disney and Horror films that he started an LGBTQ+ podcast called 'Once Upon A Scream'. His mum listens. You can contact Ben at [email protected] Twitter: @PulsfordBen / Instagram: @thebenmidlerFollow