It's extremely common for people to call their dogs, cats, birds, and other domestic animals "pets." These animals have lived with humans for decades. Now, animal advocacy organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is urging people to stop using the words ‘pet’ and owner’. Instead, it’s better to use the words “companion” to refer to domesticated animals and “guardian” when speaking of animal owners.
|Photo Credits: huoadg5888 via Pixabay|
This is part of PETA’s campaign that aims to promote better treatment of animals. “We don’t hate the word ‘pet,’ we’re just encouraging people to use a better word. A lot of people at home who have dogs or cats will call them pets and refer to themselves as owners and this implies that the animals are a possession, like a car for example,” Jennifer White of PETA’s UK branch said in an interview.
|Photo Credits: @peta via Twitter|
In a statement, PETA President Ingrid Newkirk stated that referring to animals as ‘pets’ reduces a sentient being with a personality and emotions to an inanimate object. This makes them more like a possession that can be used in any way the ‘owner’ wishes. “Contrary to some reports, we are not seeking to ban these words; we’re simply suggesting that it would be more respectful to refer to the animals in our homes as ‘animal companions’ and ourselves as their ‘guardians’,” Newkirk said.
|Photo Credits: @peta on Twitter via All That's Interesting|
Aside from that, PETA released a new package of teaching materials, which are designed for elementary-school teachers as a guideline to bring more animal-friendly sentiments into their classrooms. According to All That’s Interesting, a site for curious people who want to know more about what they see on the news or read in history books, PETA aims to start normalizing less anti-animal language among the public.
“The words that we use have the power to influence those around us. Unfortunately, many of us grew up hearing common phrases that perpetuate violence toward animals,” PETA wrote in the preface of the teaching materials.