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How can we say we love our pets when we treat them so badly?

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Every year, more countries ban wild animals from being used in circuses. The fact that elephants, camels and zebras were kept in chains and driven around countries to perform tricks for the delight of roaring audiences already seems anachronistic. People wonder how past generations could have been so blind to the obvious cruelty and exploitation involved. Might humans one day feel the same about pets? Could it one day seem as cruel that people locked dogs up in houses, kept fish in tiny bowls, or forced birds to live their whole lives in small cages?

The morality of pet ownership is in the news after it was revealed that the dying wishes of a dog owner in the US were to have her perfectly healthy pet put down and cremated to be buried alongside her. Despite the efforts of animal shelter workers to save the shih tzu mix, called Emma, she was killed and cremated. Her ashes were handed to the representative of the dead woman’s estate for burial. The woman probably thought she loved Emma but to most people her demand will seem barbaric and selfish. It’s easy to point the finger in this case but selfishness among pet owners is commonplace.

Here in Britain, where........

© The Guardian