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Dogs and cats can no longer be called pets

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Soon, a “pet” should no longer be designated as such. This is what the president of the animal protection organisation PETA wants to enforce. Wamiz explains in details what is behind this proposal and why the owner should no longer be called “owner”.

By Emilie Heyl

Published on the 06/02/2020, 19:00, Updated on the 08/02/2021, 13:32


“Animal companion” instead of “pet”

For a lot of people, this new concept is a little confusing: Ingrid Newkirk, the president of PETA, wants to abolish the term “pet”, which she considers offensive. Instead, owners should refer to their four legged friends as their “animal companion”. And pet owners shouldn’t be called like this anymore. A more appropriate term according to PETA would be “guardian”.

But where did all of this come from? Why does PETA want to change this vocabulary?

Different perceptions of words 

According to Newkirk, the word “pet” is derogatory and describes the animal as a ‘personal possession’ or a ‘property’. PETA would like the language we use when we talk about animals to show mutual respect between humans and the animals who surround us. For example, when we refer to an animal we sometimes use the term ‘he” or “she” but when we use the term “it”, we assign this word to an object, and this implies that animals are possessions like cars, bags, etc.

The PETA boss explains:

“How we label things controls how we think about them. So, we should change our language when we talk about the animals in our home.”

The way we think about animals continue to evolve. New rules and punishments are put in place for animal abuse. Also, our language has always evolved, so will changing the way we talk about our animals adjust (or affect) the way we treat them?