I might be attracting the ire of some people with this post, but that’s an occupational hazard. Mind you, I’ve had many pets over the years. Dogs, mostly, but also mynahs, rabbits, guinea pigs, white mice, budgerigars, tortoises, fish, spiders and others I shall not name for the sake of the queasy of stomach. Did I love my pets? Certainly! One of my most deeply-etched memories is watching my first puppy run excitedly out of the gate onto the road, only to be killed by a passing car before my eyes. Did I treat my pets almost as humans? Whenever I could. I talked to them, played with them, took them for long walks and they definitely had a special place in my consciousness. I even imagined that they could actually understand what I said to them. Sounds familiar?
I fully endorse treating your pets well and developing great relationships with them. What I call into question is when people elevate their pets above other people. When animal life is valued above human life. We agonize over missing dogs and cats, whether they happen to be ours or not. We try to push beached whales back into the sea, in the hope that they will somehow recover and swim away to live again happily ever after. However, we heartily endorse the wholesale slaughter of young children in the womb. We do this even as we frolic among dolphins in some contrived event, proclaiming fervently that, by doing so, we become better human beings as we connect with our primordial past. I suppose “better human beings” are those who coldly rend living children limb from limb, who burn them with “saline solutions” or punch holes in their skulls to suck their brains out as they are emerging into the world, so that they technically would not be “born alive”. Had enough?
I call to our attention the fact that if we place pets over people, we would have the same attitudes that “better humans” have toward unborn human children for our co-workers, bosses, direct reports, suppliers, clients, customers and other stakeholders. They would be nothing more than mere commodities, existing to serve our own desires.
Yes, love our pets. And love people so much more. That includes children, born and unborn.