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Are Vegans Allowed to Have Pets?

Pets serve as companions and friends for many people around the world. Humans have kept animals as pets for thousands of years. However, many people who consider an animal-product-free diet wonder: are vegans allowed to have pets?

The debate about pet ownership as a vegan has proponents on both sides. Some people argue that keeping an animal as a companion infringes on the animal. In contrast, others see it as more ethical to keep animals as pets, with the alternatives being having them roam wild or euthanizing them.

We’ll discuss both sides of the argument on this issue so you can make your own informed discussion. Learn more about different aspects of veganism with our team at Wholistically Healthy. You can call us at 0450 344 607 to learn more about vegan diets.

Basic Information About Pets

Before we delve too deeply into the debate regarding pets and veganism, it’s essential to clarify the terms we will discuss. We use the word “pets” to refer to any animal kept for companionship purposes.

Humans have kept pets since Paleolithic times, according to historical evidence. Pets often serve as a source of comfort and emotional support. People have a wide range of animals as pets, including common options like:

  • Dogs
  • Cats
  • Rabbits
  • Fish

Some people seek out more exotic pets, including reptiles, insects, or spiders. While this relationship between humans and animals has existed for a significant amount of recorded history, many vegans worry that it could have an exploitative nature, leading to concerns about the morality of keeping an animal as a pet.

Do Vegans Get Pets: Potential Concerns Regarding Keeping an Animal

Do vegans get pets? Many vegans have severe reservations about keeping an animal as a companion. People who disagree with the idea of keeping pets often bring up concerns tied to the following.

Consent by the Animal

Some vegans see an ethical issue in purchasing and selling animals that have no say in the matter. They see these animals as enslaved since, as an animal, they cannot give their consent to living in a specific location or with people.

Individuals on this side of the argument may also argue that pet breeding takes away the consent of the animals involved in the mating, as they are not given a choice about procreating.

Animal Abuse

Many vegans have concerns about pet ownership leading to forms of abuse. Some people take in animals and refuse to provide them with the care they require to thrive. As a result, they may neglect the needs of their pets, fail to provide veterinary care, or engage in acts of physical abuse.

Imprisonment of an Animal

Animals roam free in nature, going where they want and doing as they please. On the other hand, people usually keep pets in a set area. Some smaller animals, like birds, may even be kept in small enclosures throughout their lives. Many people argue this kind of imprisonment is morally wrong.

Expectations of Service

Some vegans argue that many people who have pets do so for their benefit. People experience pleasure from spending time with their animals, playing with them, petting them, or snuggling. This expectation of service often comes without the animal’s consent and compensation.

Pet Abandonment

Individuals who feel that vegans should not keep pets point out that some people abandon their companion animals after a certain point. People may desert pets if they become old or sick or if the pet owner finds it difficult to care for the pet.

Abandoning an animal raised to be around people often seems cruel, even if the animal gets turned over to another person or the Humane Society.

Can Vegans Have Pets: Benefits of Keeping Pets for Vegans

There are numerous factors to consider when discussing “are vegans allowed to have pets?” While many people worry about the moral implications of keeping an animal without the animal’s consent, there are also factors to consider on the other side of the argument.

Pets as Part of the Family

Many people who keep pets do not view themselves as “owners.” Instead, people primarily see their pets as beloved companions and part of their families. Individuals buy expensive foods and toys for their pets, dote on them, provide them with enrichment opportunities, and provide physical affection throughout the day.

The natural affection between people and their pets can make people experience greater empathy for other animals. In fact, many people end up switching to a vegetarian or vegan diet due to their close connection to their pets.

Keeping Pets Avoids Worse Alternatives

The fact of the matter is that there are millions—if not billions—of domesticated animals in the world today. These animals have to live somewhere. If people decided unanimously to stop having pets, what would happen to these animals?

The alternatives include releasing animals into the wild, which would cause significant suffering. Most domesticated animals do not know how to hunt, and they are used to living in an indoor environment with temperature controls and protection from poor weather.

Releasing animals into the wild gives them no protection against predators, starvation, or the effects of the weather. Unwanted pets could also be euthanized or kept in shelters. None of these options provide proper care for beloved animal companions.

Are Vegans Allowed to Own Dogs as Service Animals?

Many people work with service animals. Dogs make up the majority of service animals, often assisting individuals with visual impairments or other health issues. They improve their partner’s quality of life and help them avoid additional health issues.

However, some vegans feel concerned because these animals are bred solely to help people and perform a job. Because they cannot offer consent to work, some vegans believe service animals work under a form of enslavement.

However, many other individuals point out that service animals seem to take pleasure in their tasks. They also provide assistance that allows disabled individuals to live healthier and fuller lives. Ultimately, the decision about whether or not to work with a service animal rests on the individual.

Consider Ethical Pet Care as a Vegan

As you can see, people have strong feelings on both sides of the debate surrounding having pets. In the end, you have to decide how you feel about keeping a pet. That said, many vegans have found ethical ways to keep an animal companion and recommend focusing on the factors below.

 The Way You Got Your Pet

Generally, vegans avoid acquiring a pet from a pet shop, puppy farm, or breeder. Instead, you can focus on ethically caring for pets by sourcing your pet from somewhere like an:

  • Animal charity
  • Animal sanctuary
  • Rescue

Many animals at the Humane Society or local shelter need homes. Taking in a pet in need of care and affection can provide a sound basis for your animal partnership.

The Kind of Animal You Select

Are vegans allowed to have pets? In general, the answer is yes. However, many vegans avoid exotic animals, including birds and fish. These animals live substantially different lives in the wild. Therefore, keeping them in small tanks or cages often feels inappropriate to vegans.

Getting Your Pet Spayed or Neutered

There are many animals without homes in the world today. Getting any pet you adopt spayed or neutered can help stop the increase of domesticated animals.

Caring for Your Pet

Adopting a pet into your family comes with specific responsibilities. Most vegans recommend that you only adopt if you can provide your pet with sufficient food, attention, enrichment, and love. It’s essential to research your pet’s unique needs before making a final decision.

Feeding Pets and Living a Vegan Lifestyle

Many of the most popular pets, including cats and dogs, have a naturally carnivorous diet. Some pets, like snakes, are obligate carnivores and cannot subsist on a vegan diet.

Can vegans keep these animals? That decision rests with each person. You have to decide how you feel about preparing or serving food that contains animal products to meet the animal’s nutritional needs.

Some vegan pet owners find unique ways to manage their pet’s dietary needs. For example, they may:

  • Source the meat left by roadkill accidents to feed their pets
  • Reach out to local restaurants for leftover meat
  • Explore vegan options for pet food

No one can give you a black and white answer to feeding your pet. The choice rests in your hands as you decide on your comfort level while ensuring your pet gets all essential nutrients.

Speak to Us About Plant-Based Diets

Are vegans allowed to have pets? No rule says vegans cannot keep a pet. By discussing different views, you can make up your own mind about living as a vegan with a pet.

If you’re interested in a vegan or vegetarian diet, you can reach out to our team at Wholistically Healthy for vegan meal delivery.

Call Wholistically Healthy at 0450 344 607 to discuss meal plan options in Australia.


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