A Need to Change Pet Culture

Paul Dean
Paul Dean
2014 8 May

It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there but they say it could soon be a man-eat-dog world if we’re not careful. “In a piece that may not sit well with some pet owners, Erik Assadourian argues that pets are detrimental to the planet—and it's time to take action. ‘Two German Shepherds use more resources just for their annual food needs than the average Bangladeshi uses each year in total,’ Assadourian writes in the Guardian. ‘And while pet owners may disagree that Bangladeshis have more right to exist than their precious Schnookums, the truth is that pets serve little more societal purpose than keeping us company’—and our planet just can't keep supporting the millions of cats and dogs that inhabit it.”

The solution? “Assadourian doesn't suggest that we all get rid of our pets . . . He wants to see our animals spayed and neutered (with triple the tax on those that aren't), the marketing of pet products banned, and a limit on the healthcare we provide to our pets. He'd also like to see people turn to pets that serve other purposes, like giving milk, laying eggs, or supplying meat. Otherwise, when climate change sends food prices skyward, people may be forced to dump their pets en masse, Assadourian notes. ‘Perhaps at that point the pet issue will solve itself—as these packs of dogs become a bridge food for the hungry unemployed masses.’”

With dogs and people eating all kinds of things they shouldn’t, it’s too bad most people simply eat what their served, especially drivel like this. All rational people agree that people are more important than pets. At the same time, there is no research indicating the planet can’t support people and pets. People (and pets) go hungry for lots of reasons with faulty worldview and government corruption topping the list. No one is hungry because there is not enough food to go around. With an overwhelming amount of data concerning population, renewable resources, and food production combined with the biblical mandate to be fruitful and multiply, no one should be worried about a lack of food because we have too many mouths to feed.

It’s certainly true that food shortages could occur for lots of reasons including natural disaster or war to name two. And, God’s command to be fruitful and multiply doesn’t apply to pets. At the same time, with current data, there is no reason to be worried about an inability to feed our pets. Most people are smart enough to get rid of their pets one way or the other if they can’t afford them. We had on old dog that had become practically immobile and my wife didn’t know what to do. A friend of ours who drove a pick-up with a gun rack (and gun on the rack) told us if we let him know when we’d be out for a little while, the dog would simply be gone when we got back: no muss no fuss. My wife wanted to know what he meant. “She’ll just disappear,” he said. The point is, it’s not a problem.

What we have here from Assadourian is nothing new: bad information, government solutions, and scare tactics. Let’s all worry about skyrocketing prices, packs of wild dogs roaming our once peaceful neighborhoods, and then having to feed them to our children – all because of man-made climate change. And by all means let’s get the all-wise government involved to force us to spay and neuter our pets and tax those who don’t. Let’s ban the marketing of pet products and put those dirty pet product makers out of business. These are the kinds of wild ideas, unethical tactics, and oppressive solutions on which dystopian futures are built.

Assadourian says we need to change pet culture drastically. Well, with all due respect, it’s not our pet culture that’s giving us all the problems. Here’s the issue: God gave us dominion over the animals. We can use them to help us in our work and we can make them pets for our enjoyment. And yes, we can eat them if we like. And, it’s good to know we have the God-given gift of intelligence to discover and create all kinds of ways to feed ourselves and our animals. It’s good to know as God’s Vice-regents we have the capacity to steward the earth and everything in it better and better over time. And it’s good to know that we do indeed know how to take care of our pets as the need arises, one way or the other. Again, it’s not a problem. 

Check out Dr. Dean’s audio news and worldview commentaries, The Dean’s List as well as his new e-book “Naked and Unashamed: Liberating Sex from Cultural Captivity”. You can also follow him on Twitter: @pauldeanjr.