Saturday, April 30, 2011
Pets or Companion Animals?
via The Daily Mail: A recent article published in the Journal of Animal Ethics states that the language used to describe animals is derogatory and should be replaced.
The Journal of Animal Ethics, which is published by the University of Illinois Press, has been launched with the goal of widening international debate about the moral status of animals. The journal's editors, who are associated with the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics and Penn State University, state that a change in vocabulary is essential to update our understanding of the relationship between humans and the natural world.
"Our existing language about animals is the language of past thought – and the crucial point is that the past is littered with derogatory terminology," the editors state. "We shall not be able to think clearly unless we discipline ourselves to use less than partial adjectives in our exploration of animals and our moral relations with them."
They also believe that the words pet and owner hark back to a time when animals were seen as property and should be replaced by companion and caretaker. In addition, they believe wild animals should be called free-ranging or free-roaming because "for most, wildness is synonymous with uncivilized, unrestrained, barbarous existence."
What do you think? Is a change in vocabulary necessary to improve our relationship with animals? Would changing our terminology about our pets help reduce animal cruelty and the number of homeless animals, or is it just an exercise in semantics?
Image via http://www.flickr.com/photos/miyo/