On Pets:

I will start this out with a full disclosure; we have a cat that I love very much. The relationship is a bit of a dichotomy though, because while I do wish only the best for Kitty, I cannot know for sure what that “best” is. Is kitty better served living a more (or complete) natural existence? For sure it is how his ancient ancestors lived, fraught with danger, periods on near starvation, but also the thrill of hunt and rewards of the kill. Offspring and true freedom of position, just by keeping kitty as a pet I am denying him most of these things. Now it is not without tradeoffs. Kitty will never know starvation or thirst, he will never be in any mortal danger, and he will have all the social re-enforcement he could want BUT while some might say that is clearly a better deal I ask who am I ( and really who are we) to make that decision for kitty, ESPECIALLY when we benefit so much from his company.  I truly try ) as I think most pet owners do)  to make kitty as happy as I can, but at the end of the day  I am a more powerful being enforcing my will on a less powerful being. Now kitty does not seem to mind, I doubt the cat has much of an opinion on the moral ramifications of it’s existence, but just that does not justify it either. ( again I differ to Kant) I don’t think kitty can really be considered capable of giving consent, he can convey basic dislike and like, but he simply cannot understand ( or communicate) high level ideas like his preference among alternate lives.  So I end up with making a decision, on the one hand I am choosing a life for kitty, without consent, with no certainty on whether it is better or worse than others. But on the other hand if I leave kitty in the shelter his life might be in danger (it is still common practice to “cull” if there are too many animals, or if they get sick) so I decided to adopt, but in doing so I committed to providing kitty with a life I would want.  I treat him in a manner I would like to be treated (if I were a cat as, best I can imagine) and for his part he shows what he likes and dislikes. But despite all the happiness kitty brings us, he is at the end of the day a prisoner here, is it for his own good though?  If I were to just let him leave he would surly freeze, event if he left in summer time, a life of domestication has left him at a huge disadvantage in terms of ability to feed himself.

So how do I sleep at nigh? Intent, I truly wish the best for kitty. I keep him here well fed and loved out of a combination of 1. Self serving reasons  I like having a cat, there grate ^^) 2. Ignorance on his opinion of his other options.  As long as # 2 is a bigger % than number 1 I can sleep OK, and I hope most pet owners feel this way, that they are stewards of a sentient creatures, much like themselves and all the implications that stem from that relationship. Now moving on the situations where #1 is pretty much all that exists …

Cattle, chickens, pork bellies, event pet breeders; I humbly suggest you consider the moral value of your endeavor.  In all these things you are making people happy, and I do not deny there is a moral vale in that, but there seems something innately uncaring, anti-social, just mean about exploiting an an animal for gain, not to say it has historically been a VERY necessary evil. If given a choice between not having enough power to plow fields so everyone goes hungry or making oxen do the work I would chose not starving every time. But today that need not be the case, we simply no longer NEED to enslave and exploit lower forms of life, so to move towards a place where that is a rare exception rather than common place we just need to start thinking in these terms.   I am not insinuating that farmers or breeders do not care for their animals, or event that they do not love them (some do) BUT I think if it is a commercial enterprise the love or care is not the driving factor, if it came out tomorrow that cows do not like being raised in their own filth just to be eaten by people I doubt many farmers would stop. And that is my point, if your motivated mainly by care and that dictates your action fine for now, we simply do not know enough on how mammals work. But if you are exploiting a lower life form for personal gain, you should be working on ways to stop it.

(Omitted but I might get to at some point: eating animals, plants, why it matters, biological engineering)

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