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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Privilege Of Pets

My latest poll was a little surprising for a couple of reasons. First, there were 152 responses, which is almost double the last poll and far higher than any previous.  Second, the opinions were very strongly one-sided.  How did people view pet ownership?

A right--5%
A privilege--93%
Not sure--1%

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. 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 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!