February Should be Responsible Pet Parenthood Month
February is Responsible Pet Owners Month, but we don’t think of ourselves as pet owners at Earth Animal. Our animals are our companions, and we are their caretakers. In our commitment to loving and caring for them, we serve as parents to our companion animals. So, while we appreciate the sentiment of Responsible Pet Owners Month – that people should act responsibly in their care for animals – we would love to see a change in the terminology.
Responsible pet ownership really is a wonderful concept. It is vitally important that people take good care of the animals with whom they live by meeting and exceeding their needs for food, shelter, attention, and love. But animals are not simply pets to us and we certainly do not own them. The idea of ownership implies that the animals are mere objects, without thoughts, desires, or choices made for themselves. But we know better. We know that the word own comes with all sorts of negative connotations and implies that the owned are somehow less valuable and should be controlled by the owner.
We believe that to own another being is to demean that being and embark on a slippery slope that results in demeaning ourselves and eroding our society by normalizing mistreatment. We know that our companion animals are not objects, or even merely pets, but are integral members of our families who bring us so much light and joy that it is not only our responsibility but our privilege to care for them. That is why we would prefer this month to be called Responsible Pet Parenthood Month, and why we hope that this will be the last February that we have to make this distinction.
Susan Goldstein, Co-founder of Earth Animal and Animal Rights Activist, first had the revelation that animals are not objects to be owned almost 40 years ago when her Sun Conure, MacMillan, showed her that he had a sentience beyond what she had previously understood as he repeatedly bowed and said, “thank you,” to a glorious sun rise. Mac’s fervent prayer of gratitude for nature’s gift convinced Susan that beings who can express such profound emotion are much more than possessions to be owned. Since that day, Susan has never again thought of animals as ownable and has worked tirelessly to change the hearts and minds of others on this issue. She is also committed to ending the horrors of factory farming, a torturous existence for billions of animals worldwide and a heartbreaking side effect of the idea of animal ownership.
It is our hope that everyone will soon come to understand what MacMillan helped Susan to see all those years ago: that we are all Earth Animals, that we all deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and that nobody has a right to own anybody else. On that day, we will see the end of the animal cruelty and neglect that is derived from a society that considers animals property to be owned and the start of a celebration of Responsible Pet Parenthood.
Listen to Susan Goldstein share her story about MacMillan on our YouTube channel.