Beauty and the Beast OR Pet or the Beast?

I am sure that after publishing this article I might lose a few FB friendships, as “pets” is an emotionally loaded topic, but I am going to write it anyway. Just stay cool, lean back and if you get emotionally deranged, you can still go to your pet and seek comfort.

No seriously, I have always been an animal lover. Ask my parents! I have taken dogs home from the street that I knew that I was not allowed to keep….but only a few hours, you know….. I also had animal hair allergy, so the “bold” animals I was allowed to keep were reptiles – no, unfortunately, I was not allowed to keep a snake, but I had a turtle and a tortoise and I was the head manager of my own Extatostoma tiaratum breeding station. Those, who are not familiar with this cute little pet, please extend your knowledge here:

Ok, you might feel sorry for me already… From today’s point of view, I really admire my mom, whose only reaction to this stick-like creature was: “As long as it doesn’t leave the premises of your room, you can keep it.” And that is how my love for animals and pets began…
The trigger for writing this article was a video on FB which had about 51.3 K, ( I guess that is a lot because mine has on average about 50), and the video featured stray dogs that were rescued and found a new home. The comments consisted mainly of emojis and hearts. Even the words couldn’t capture people’s emotions about the topic of abused and abandoned cats and dogs.

I couldn’t resist and wrote a comment about cows, pigs, and chickens landing on those people’s plates every day, but surprisingly didn’t get any reply filled with hearts. In my home country, the Czech Republic, from time to time there was news about dogs being sold at the food market in China. The comment which came from my father was that in Asia they ate everything. This is a typical generalised comment, I know, but it made me think further. Especially after I had started practicing yoga more sincerely, which didn’t involve the following setup anymore: beer – yoga class – beer, and became vegetarian, I realised the connection between the meat on the plate or in an attractive packaging in the supermarket and the grazing animal outside. Isn’t that absurd? We are brainwashed to that extent that we cannot put 1 and 1 together, in this case, meat and four legs, 1 head, a tail, and a heart. From childhood on, we are told that this is meat and that animal you see outside during your family walks is a cow, but there is no connection whatsoever. Yesterday, for the sake of my 3 years old daughter, who has never tasted meat, at least yet, I decided to supplement the word “meat” with the word “animal”. At least she should know, right? The final choice I leave up to her.

When I moved to India in 2010, I didn’t even see meat for the 9 months I stayed there every year. Meat is sold only in butcheries in the “open-air” style, where the meat is hanging from hooks. I always thought that if people in the Western world saw this, many would perhaps become vegetarians or at least realise the meat-animal connection and wouldn’t eat meat indiscriminately.
So what is the difference between a pet and an animal used in the meat industry? In my opinion NONE, other than the emotional value that us humans assigned to them. This varies from culture to culture, but one thing that all animals have in common is freedom from pain – physical as well as emotional.

Second point: have you seen a more unnatural environment for an animal than the one our pets are living in these days? Furnished flats with carpets, food made into dried granules and lots of emotional strain.

The third point: have you seen one of those cute puppy videos licking a baby’s face lately? Yuck! Animals stay animals no matter how cute and they do carry their own bacteria that can be harmful to humans and especially small children.

Fourth point: many people in the Western world today are emotionally deprived. Wait a minute, don’t get angry! If you are not the one, then what is the reason for you to get hyped up about? Many cannot find a partner, they feel lonely in an unfulfilled relationship or they are left alone at an old age, so they fill the emotional gap with a pet affection. I mean, thank God for that, otherwise, there might be psychopaths and more frustrated people roaming the streets. But, people, fellow humans, shouldn’t we take a peak behind the label and find the truth for ourselves and then decide how we want to act?
May all beings be free and happy.