It's time to abolish the ownership of pets, or "animal slaves" as two Rutgers law professors call them. "They do not belong in our world, irrespective of how well we treat them," Gary Francione and Anna Charlton write in Aeon. "We control their lives for ever." Charlton and Francione, who own six rescue dogs themselves, argue that pet ownership, animal domestication, zoos, aquariums, and the eating of animal products must be done away with because "these violate the fundamental rights of animals." And they don't mean "animal rights" as it's usually thought of but something much closer to human rights, comparing humanity's use of animals to slavery, in which animals are property and as such can never truly have rights.
"Animals have a moral right not to be used exclusively as human resources," Francione and Charlton write. "Substantially all of our uses of animals must be abolished." They say we must stop breeding pets as even the most well-treated poodle is still property and therefore has no rights. The killing of animals for meat is also no different than reviled "sports" like dog fighting. In both cases, animals are harmed simply for human enjoyment (Francione and Charlton note a vegan diet is perfectly healthy for humans). Even if laws were created and enforced to require pets be treated as close to humans as possible, that then takes away the right of people to breed more of them. As it is, the current treatment of pets would be considered "torture" were they humans. Read the full piece here. (Read more animal rights stories.)