I strongly believe that nobody has a RIGHT to own a pet. You also don't have a right to drive a car, a right to buy a TV at a certain price, and so on. Dictionary.com defines "right" (in this context) as follows:
a just claim or title, whether legal, prescriptive, or moral
a moral, ethical, or legal principle considered as an underlying cause of truth, justice, morality, or ethics.I don't think that owning a pet would fall under any of these definitions, or other similar ones.
If pet ownership was a right, then you would be entitled to have one regardless of your ability to care for it. You would also be entitled to have a pet even if you couldn't afford to purchase one...one would have to be given to your or provided to you. As a right you could do whatever you wanted to that animal without remorse, or even ignore it, and nobody could object.
Having a pet is a privilege, and one that can be taken from you if you abuse it. Legally this is certainly the case, just as a driver's license can be taken away for repeated abuse of traffic laws. Morally it is also a privilege, as having an animal share your life is an honor and a blessing. A privilege is cherished and not taken for granted. Viewing a pet as a privilege gives them a status beyond mere property.
So since I can obviously relate more to the 142 people who view it as a privilege, I'd love to hear from the 8 who feel it is a right and why they believe that.
And the new poll is now up!