Going vegan is something that is rapidly gaining popularity all over the world. Many people tend to embrace veganism for many intentions, including helping and sympathizing with animals as their key focuses. However, being vegan can be defined in multiple ways, varying from person to person, since most people are following their own moral ethics and philosophy regarding going vegan.
Many vegans consider keeping domesticated pets or companion animals who are rescued and adopted from sanctuaries. At the same time, some may oppose the conception. However, the people who are willing to keep pets refrain from buying animals from pet shops or intentional breeders. But, we can see that they extensively prefer adopting abandoned cats and dogs. Having a companion animal is literally a complex matter and a matter of very humane feelings. Thus, let us share the facts with you about vegans having pets through this article, and you could come up with your own judgments at the end of this feature.
Do Vegans Have Pets? – Discussing A Sensitive Matter
All vegans follow one basic rule: abstain from consuming animals and animal-based products. Under this umbrella, vegans also tend to follow their rules by putting their own restrictions or limitations. Likewise, when it comes to them having a pet, the conceptions and decisions can be pretty contradictory from one another.
However, we are evident that all vegans work towards one sole intention- to help out suffering animals. And, we see that they constantly help animals in captivity and even raise their voice against animal slaughtering and cruelty. Accordingly, having an animal as a pet should be put into discussion in regard to many dimensions.
Depending on the data we collected, a few things were loud and clear. That is:
- The vegans who have companion animals or pets at home do not buy them from pet shops, intentional breeders, or puppy farms.
- They don’t generally hold animals in captivity at home, which should be out in their natural habitats with their families.
- Vegans consider and basically are allowed to get a pet from sanctuaries, animal charity foundations, or keep those who are rescued.
- They generally do not support pet shops engaged in the animal trade. And they refrain from purchasing anything like food or other essentials from such shops.
- Vegans do not buy or keep exotic or rare animals, including birds and fish.
- If they keep pets, they consider neutering or spaying those animals.
Companion Animals Vs Pets- What Is The Difference?
As we said at the very beginning of this article, vegans are extremely empathetic of animals. And they do not hesitate to raise their voices anytime against animal cruelty. Thus, the term “companion animals” is something that they use to identify their pets rather than calling them just “pets”.
In fact, pets and companion animals do not literally have any difference. They use this term to spotlight the fact that their animals are not used as any property or for entertainment. But, they are treated equally, just like family, and they are more like friends/companions than just animals. Vegans or non-vegs, who show compassion to the animal who lives with them, often share their home, food, moments, and even life just like they do with a human. Even though many would not use this term in general, they ultimately treat their pets like a part of family and life.
Why Is It Admitted Okay To Have Rescued Pets Or Animals From Sanctuaries Or Pet Charities?
Remember the mainstream intention of vegans? To help animals and ransom them from captivity and suffering. Thus, rescuing abandoned animals is more merciful than contributing to the discriminating breeding business or the exotic animal industry. We are not satisfying breeders or shop owners with our customs when doing so. In fact, a variation will be noticed when more and more people do the same.
As vegans, it is their responsibility to care for animals who have been subjugated to torture, exploitation, or disregard since naturalization is what pointed to their liability in the first place. So, as long as they are not removed from their natural habitat and misused for the owner’s pleasure, taking care of a rescued or a companion animal brought from a sanctuary or a pet charity would be justified.
Does Selective Breeding Go Against The Ethics Of Vegans?
Long story short, natural reproduction that happens between two animals is something that is very vegan since no human is involved in forcing them for anything. But, talking in terms of extreme measures of vegans, the breeding trade has means that could go against the ethics of veganism.
Humans have been particularly reproducing for ages in order to create animals that resemble or behave in a specific way. Shockingly, picking animals with particular features and pushing them to conceive offspring collectively is an outrageous sort of breeding.
As a result, this usually leads to health dilemmas for the animals in the subject. If you need examples, we have precise ones in hand. Dogs with short legs, such as the dachshund, have bent legs responsive to dislocations in the knee. Meanwhile, animals with flattened faces, such as the pug, usually experience breathing difficulties.
Hence, the extensive health issues of these animals mentioned above explicitly show that selective breeding is an outrageous and cruel process. In fact, their lives are grievously being ordained by humans even before they are born. And this hugely affects their health and wellness, once more under the curb of humans. So, we see that these selective breeding practices unquestionably go against the humane ethics of vegans. That is why they abstain from buying companion animals from breeders or pet shops.
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What Kinds Of Companion Animals Can Vegans Keep?
When we hear the term companion animals, cats and dogs are the ones that immediately come into our minds. Actually, we can be correct since they are animals that could be domesticated without hurting any of their rights. However, it is not human and obviously not vegan if you plan to keep them in captivity or enslaved, probably locked inside a kennel.
Vegans let their pets or companion animals stay free, and most importantly, they live their lives with their owners. Therefore, as long as vegans do not remove any animals from their natural habitats and take them away from their families, they can keep animals who could stay leisurely and happily with them. There are tonnes of animals around the world who would utterly not sustain in the wild. Thus, anyone could argue whether an animal should be kept in a secure, caring environment and provided with shelter and fed, preferably being free. But also free to die and grieve in the wild, facing predators and other dangers.
Why Can’t Vegans Keep Exotic Animals As Pets?
For a while, let’s walk outside the box and look at this matter as a non-veg. How do you feel about keeping an animal that is not domesticated? What we believe is, it could be very heartless to pull those innocent animals away from their natural homes and abandon them from their families.
Exotic animals like tropical fish, birds, amphibians, and certain kinds of reptiles are often traded in pet shops after being removed from their habitats. Afterward, they are usually kept in tanks or cages until they are being sold. And for the rest of their lives, they will have to struggle to adapt to the artificial environment. When thought is in-depth, this is an animal rights violation that could be directly going against the philosophy of the vegans.
When we purchase these animals, we are involved in dishonoring their will to hunt, live, breed, and wander around freely out in the wild. This act will also impact the balance of the ecosystem, which will ultimately end up with many environmental complications. Thus, vegans avoid purchasing or having exotic animals as their companion animals.
Why Do Vegans Consider Neutering And Spaying Their Companion Animals?
Before taking the leap into explaining what is stated in the topic of this section, let’s see what neutering and spaying mean if you have no idea at all. Actually, neutering is the name assigned to the sterilization of an animal so it can no longer procreate. Generally, neutering is used to relate to castration, which is to say, the sterilization of a male animal. On the contrary, spaying is particular to females.
Some can present their argument, saying that this de-sexing process can be brutal or inhuman. In the meantime, some vegans prefer and think that their companion animals should go through this procedure. They believe that this can be a bit painful at first. But, it can be a lifetime relief as they will not be forced to any breeding or reproduction. Therefore, it is solely a matter of choice you make for your animal.
Can You Have A Cat If You’re Vegan?
Involving a cat into the life of a vegan as a companion animal can be a bit of discussion since there are a few to consider before having one. Let us first see who is a cat in the first place. Willingly or unwillingly, you should admit that the cat is a carnivore. This cute little carnivore hunts with its claws and hardly survives a plant-based diet, unlike a dog would.
Thus, if you are intending to have a cat thinking that you would adapt them to a plant-based diet, we suggest that you should have second thoughts. No studies or data have so far proved that cats cannot go on a plant-based diet or survive without meat. Yet, if you get to force them to eat something they don’t like, you are indirectly engaging in animal cruelty. Moreover, veterinary nutritionists show that although there is loads of information about replacement diets, it is not all based on scientific data. And, they also show that animals have much more complex nutritional requirements than humans. Hence, getting adjusted to a substitute diet can end up with extreme complications for your pet.
So, when talking about feeding your carnivorous companion, you should consider not making them eat plants as per your consent unless they do it willingly. Even if they do it readily, doctors say that there should be at least a scarce percentage of meat as they could provide them with the essential sources of nutrition required for their health and well-being. On that note, what we suggest is, if you are a strict vegan who is not okay with feeding your cat an animal-based diet, keeping one is not a very good idea.
What Should Vegans Feed Their Pets?
After deciding on getting a companion animal, the next big question that many vegans get is – what should I feed my pet? In realistic terms, the vegan community gets genuinely helpless, failing to come to a conclusion as to what they should feed them with. They may hover between the notions- meat or plant-based, plants or animal-based! And we cannot say that you should feed this or that. All we can do is to bring you the facts so that you are free to choose what to feed your beloved pet.
In research conducted in 2019, approximately 30% of vegan applicants fed their pets a plant-based diet
investigation further demonstrated that in spite of the fact that interest shown among vegans in plant-based pet food is great, so is apprehension about whether such a diet could satisfy nutritional demands for their pets. A solid problem arose of how challenging it is to have a healthy pet on a plant-based diet.
However, dogs are facultative carnivores, which signifies they can also digest and obtain nutrients from non-meat origins. The skill is assuring they get all of the nutrients they would normally get from meat in an intake without it, which can be quite a difficult task. If you are trying to feed your animals with protein alternatives, you will probably have to count on more legumes like peas, chickpeas, beans, etc.
Science-Backed Data On Vegan Pet Food
Fortunately, reputed institutes are currently investigating on possible connections between the appearance of legumes in dog food and occurrences of dogs advancing canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).
It is a condition in which a dog’s heart swells and becomes more difficult to pump, leading to congestive heart malfunction. However, they have not come to a judgment, and doctors insist they need more time and sources to result.
Therefore, in concern to the uncertainties and some data-backed up science, it is best advisable to consult with your veterinarian always before switching your companion animal’s diet to a plant-based one. Something important to remember is that you cannot compare an animal’s nutritional requirements with a human. Humans may find it not so challenging to adapt to a vegan diet in no time, but your dog or cat may show a completely different outcome. Thus, get guidance from experts before laying your hands on over-the-counter or homemade vegan pet food.
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A Word From Us…
Animals are incredible rewards from mother nature. Observing, discovering, and even having them near us would bring us immense happiness. This is the reason why vegans strive so much to protect animals, starting from excluding animal-based products from their diets in the first place.
But, that does not necessarily mean that vegans can’t keep a pet. As discussed throughout this article, vegans can keep pets if they follow a few conditions. They can have domesticated companion animals as long as they are brought home from sanctuaries, pet charities, and rescues. Moreover, those animals should be considered a part of the family, treated well with compassion and care, and should not be treated as property used for the owner’s pleasure. Yet, some vegans may entirely oppose these conceptions and say that any measure would cause animal exploitation. However, having a pet is a thoroughly fastidious and personal feeling.
We can present you with facts, but deciding is utterly up to you! At the end of the day, every animal deserves to be treated equally with love, kindness. And we don’t see it isn’t good for orphaned domesticated animals to have the opportunity to get the benefits of a loving home.