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Out: ‘Pets’ — In: ‘Companion Animals’

By Doug Powers  •  April 28, 2011 04:36 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

It’s time once again for a story about “leading academics” who do little else except prove why they shouldn’t be referred to as “leading academics.”

As the UN debates human rights for “Mother Earth” and all its plants, animals and terrain, others are trying to prepare the world for how animals must be addressed if such a day ever arrives so that one day you don’t get a nasty phone call from your hamster’s attorney.

From the UK Telegraph:

Animal lovers should stop calling their furry or feathered friends “pets” because the term is insulting, leading academics claim.

Domestic dogs, cats, hamsters or budgerigars should be rebranded as “companion animals” while owners should be known as “human carers”, they insist.

Even terms such as wildlife are dismissed as insulting to the animals concerned – who should instead be known as “free-living”, the academics including an Oxford professor suggest.

The call comes from the editors of then Journal of Animal Ethics, a new academic publication devoted to the issue.

It is edited by the Revd Professor Andrew Linzey, a theologian and director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, who once received an honorary degree from the Archbishop of Canterbury for his work promoting the rights of “God’s sentient creatures”.

In its first editorial, the journal – jointly published by Prof Linzey’s centre and the University of Illinois in the US – condemns the use of terms such as ”critters” and “beasts”.

This isn’t just about pets, either, but also figures of speech that could greatly impact the way the world carries on discussions about politicians, Michael Moore and Lindsay Lohan respectively:

Phrases such as “sly as a fox, “eat like a pig” or “drunk as a skunk” are all unfair to animals, they claim.

“Raining cats and dogs” is also discouraged because it might lead the human companions to believe they’re nuisances, and “quiet as a mouse” is considered an intimidating affront to the free speech rights of what might otherwise be more outspoken mus musculus.

I’ve been so moved by this story that I pledge to no longer refer to my family’s dog, Timmy, (seen below in his role as a famous WWII General in the local animal shelter’s production of “Patton”) as a “pet.” Because he has a human name, no job and little hope or motivation to ever get one, we will now refer to him as a “victim of a government stimulus-driven economy.”


“I will be proud to lead you wonderful dogs into a nap, anytime, anywhere”

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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Categories: Animal rights wackos