Derogatory to call animals ‘pets’, say academics

Don’t call animals ‘pets’ as it is a derogatory term, say academics who suggest that owners should be called “human carers”.

Domestic dogs and cats should be called “companion animals”, the academics said.

Daily Telegraph reported that terms like wildlife too are insulting to animals and they should be known as “free-living”.

The Journal of Animal Ethics, edited by Andrew Linzey who is a theologian and director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, in an editorial criticised the use of terms such as “critters” and “beasts”.

“Despite its prevalence, ‘pets’ is surely a derogatory term both of the animals concerned and their human carers,” said the editorial.

“Again the word ‘owners’, whilst technically correct in law, harks back to a previous age when animals were regarded as just that: property, machines or things to use without moral constraint.”

It invited “authors to use the words ‘free-living’, ‘free-ranging’ or ‘free-roaming’ rather than ‘wild animals’ … There is an obvious prejudgment here that should be avoided”.

Phrases like “sly as a fox”, “eat like a pig” or “drunk as a skunk” are all unfair to animals, it claimed. (IANS)