Animal rights activists have called on the public to stop calling their beloved animals ‘pets’ because it’s a ‘derogatory’ term.
The founder of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said the word reduces them to a ‘commodity’ or ‘decoration’ in the home and they should be called ‘companions’.
Ingrid Newkirk, 70, said in the same way ‘sweetie’ or ‘honey’ makes women feel like ‘less of a person’, the term ‘pets’ was just as condescending to animals.
The activist from Surrey added: ‘Animals are not pets – they are not your cheap burglar alarm, or something which allows you to go out for a walk.
‘They are not ours as decorations or toys, they are living beings’.
PETA has long called for the equal rights of animals and said pet owners should be renamed human carers or guardians.
Ms Newkirk has previously appeared in the nude to promote PETA’s campaign ‘I’d Rather go Naked Than Wear Fur’, to call for a total ban on wearing animal skin for fashion.
She insisted the public must shift its way of thinking towards animals and how we refer to them is the first step to respecting them as equals.
Around 45 per cent of UK homes have a pet which equates to 51 million animals, with most of them being dogs.
‘A dog is a feeling, whole individual, with emotions and interests, not something you “have”, added Ms Newkirk.
‘How we say things governs how we think about them, so a tweak in our language when we talk about the animals in our homes is needed.
‘A pet is a commodity but animals should not be things on shelves or in boxes, where people say, “I like the look of that one, it matches my curtains or my sense of myself”.
‘Hopefully the time is passing for that kind of attitude.’
Academics have agreed there needs to be a new ‘animal language’, while others have argued people shouldn’t keep pets at all.
Last year, Dr Corey Wrenn, from the University of Kent, said: ‘Through this forced dependency and domestication, the lives of companion animals are almost completely controlled by humans.
‘They can be terminated at any time for the most trivial of reasons, including behavioural “problems”.’
The comments come after PETA encouraged all to go vegan amid the coronavirus, after it was suggested the outbreak may have originated at a fresh food mark in Wuhan, China.
In a statement, the group said: ‘We cannot expect to continue living on planet Earth if we continue to eat animals’.
This content was originally published here.