‘Pets’. A Derogatory Word? This Vet Says ‘No’

The editors of the Journal Of Animal Ethics don’t want the contributors to use the word ‘Pets’, ‘Owner’ or ‘Wild Animal’. Because it is derogatory and demeaning.

Is this political correctness gone too far or just an evolution of our language?

As a Veterinarian I have spent years promoting the needs of animals but I quite like the words “pet’ and ‘owner’ so let me explain why:

Because a word like ‘owner’ communicates responsibility whereas a term like ‘animal guardian’ or ‘animal person’ does not.

If you ‘own’ the animal you ‘own’ the problem that the animal may have, be it a medical problem requiring specialized care or just the need to look after the animal long term. A word like ‘guardian’ communicates limited responsibility. Too many times I see people feed and enjoy the company of animals (cats in particular are prone to this treatment) while shirking the responsibility when commitment is called for. This is not progress, this is cruelty. Our pets deserve better. If you own the pet – do your pet a favour and ‘own’ the responsibility.

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About Dr Vadim Chelom

Dr Vadim Chelom is a Registered Veterinarian, a writer and an educator

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