“Can animals in human company be free in any meaningful sense?”
-Bekoff, Marc. The Animals’ Agenda: Freedom, Compassion, and Coexistence in the Human Age (p. 137). Beacon Press. Kindle Edition.
This question has been haunting me for the last few months. Owning pets is so ingrained in our day-to-day lives, that it becomes difficult to step back and view it from a different perspective.
We control their lives – what, when and how much they eat, where they walk, what they do, when they leave the house and how long they remain imprisoned inside, who they do and don’t meet… the list is seemingly endless. Most of us have the best intentions. Some of us make sure our dogs get out as much and for as long as possible. I attempt to give my dogs the best diet of raw meat, bones and veggies.
But at the end of the day… do they want this? Do they feel “free” in their highly controlled life? It is very rare for a dog, for example, to make a decision about their life path which we would readily accept. How would they even be able to communicate more complicated wishes and dreams so that humans could understand?
It may seem a bit extreme to some, but that shouldn’t keep us from considering these aspects. What is it that causes us to keep animals from living their own lives in order to lock them up in our house and have them do what we would like them to do?
All of this is coming from me – someone who loves her companion animals more than almost anything. I like to believe they love me, too, based on their behaviour. But who really knows? What are your thoughts on the subject?
Photo Credit: antsplan on Flicker
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