It is not a recent phenomenon where a surge of interest in companion animals has taken place in our society. Korea is a country where more than one fourth of the households have a companion animal whereas awareness on the rights and the welfare of the animals has been an issue only lately. Although people are taking more interest in the rights of the animals, there are some evident violations of animal rights and abuse continuing in our society and people are not bothering themselves about these issues.
What I want to particularly question here is whether the way we “consume” our companion animals is acceptable. More people are posting their dogs, cats and other animals on social media such as Instagram and YouTube. Some people are even making money out of such business because there are people willing to consume such contents and I think this is one of the reasons why there is an extreme breeding of companion animals ongoing in our society.
Wanting to have a companion animal that looks like the ones that appear on social media whose photos are mostly edited, it creates a demand where people want to have such “dollish” animals for themselves. In order to match the preference of people, animals are engineered by human in factories. Puppy mills, kitten factories and more are shaping animals that can attract people and animals are bred in factories in extremely poor conditions without enough care they need.
These animals are produced and delivered to the pet store as part of the commercial process and are treated as products, not as living things. They are just products that can be consumed and what people can make money out of. Not only in factories but also privately in households, people are breeding animals for their own sake and they often abandon those animals if they aren’t attractive enough or if there seems to be no one willing to buy them.
We are well aware of the fact that when humans are treated as commodities someone can financially profit from, the rights of the human beings end up being violated. This is just the thing happening to animals these days and there aren’t many people aware of such impact they have when buying animals. People in pet industry regard animals to be a property they own and they only aim to make a more “perfect” product. In this process and in this perspective, animal rights may never be protected and animals will be abused and abandoned in the end if they seem to have a flaw just like we throw out used or flawed products.
This is not just an ethical issue of people treating animals to be consumable but is a great threat to the survival of the animals. Commercial breeding facilities abuse animals by forcing them continue to breed up to their limitations ending up killing the animals sacrificed for their profit. These direct threats to animals are what we are neglecting, pretending it not to be a matter while animals are suffering from and getting killed right at the moment.
I do not think people buying their pets can be excused for consuming animals while they are neglecting these issues. Such commercial service exists in the first place because there are demands of people wanting to have an adorable animal as their companion animal. Some may regard of it to be just fine but you reading this who just bought a dog from a pet shop, you also just consumed your family member and you may not be excused for doing so.