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The Vegan View
Okay, I get the arguments in favor of being a vegan and animal rights and all that. But where do vegans stand on having pets? Considering many animals are naturally carnivorous, what do you feed your pets, particularly cats and dogs?
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VegFamily readers reply:
Well, my view is that animals make great companions and both parties benefit. When it comes to keeping carnivores... I don't! Those who do probably have the issue of what and how to feed it. There's no easy answer, except get a guinea pig!
I wouldn't want to have a pet that required animal food. Many pets can be persuaded to eating a vegan diet. I have two cats that have been vegan for four years, and they are healthy and happy. I feed them Evolution Diet. It is a food that has all the nutrients they would get out of a diet full of animal products.
My little pug pup has been vegan since we got her at four months old. Typically pugs have many health issues including breathing, skin, eyes, and weight. We feed her Natural Life's vegetarian formula after having tried some other brands that didn't work out so well. I can honestly say that the vet is always suprised at how slim she is and how much energy she has. She just turned three and she looks and acts as if she's only one (which can be frustrating some times. haha)! I think that going vegan has been the best decision for her.
While some vegans choose to feed their cats and dogs vegan cat/dog food; I, like many other vegans, feed my cats and dogs carnivore dogfood. This is because cats and dogs are naturally carnivorous animals and while some animals do well on a vegan diet, not all do (especially cats). There is no way to truly certify that my pet's food is cruelty free, so I feed them a high quality organic food and cross my fingers that it is humaine.
I totally support having companion animals - it brings out the better human in all of us! And part of being a better human is not foisting our choices onto another creature that is not built the same way. I'm vegan with a vegan household... EXCEPT for the natural animal protein food for my feline family members. Cats do not have the teeth, digestion, or nature to survive on a plant-based diet and any vegan who forces such on them is betraying their very own beliefs.
While it is true that cats and dogs are carnivores by nature, and that they should be eating mostly meat, I am still opposed to the slaughtering methods used to obtain their food. How many videos have you seen from PETA and other places about the horrible conditions of factory farms? And they are endorsed by the USDA for human consumption! So what then, is the fate of animals that are slaughtered for animal feed? I usually feed my dogs peanut butter biscuits as snacks/treats and a vegetarian dog food blend that can be purchased at most pet stores.
I buy vegetarian dog food for my dogs and my rottweiler is 14 and extremely healthy. Cats I know need Taurine in their diet. They will go blind unless the food is fortified.
I am vegan and I have a vegan dog. I think that she is having a better life with me than what she could experiance, therefore I think that already domesticated bred animals are okay such as dogs and cats... although I don't think birds should be caged, or their wings clipped.
I feed my cats a holistic dry cat food. It's a traditional, chicken-based formula. I know I can switch to a vegan cat food with taurine added in, but I've been wary about messing with their food. They have the most beautiful coats. I still think I'm personally making an sizable contribution to the plight of animals and the environment, even though I'm feeding my carnivorous cats a traditional diet. Look at Jo Stepaniak. She's a cat owner who feeds her cats a traditional, meat-based diet, and she agrees.
I'm not happy with the idea of keeping a pet animal. It's just not something for me, but as a vegan, if I had a cat or a dog I'd feed it the vegan alternatives that are available. For more exotic pets like snakes or spiders, I think they should as far as possible be allowed their natural diet. I think there is a real distinction between domesticated animals whose behaviour has been modified throughout the centuries and exotic animals such as reptiles. From an ethical point of view, animals shouldn't be regarded as property, but if you have animals in your family you may have to make compromises.
I think that pets are perfectly acceptable. I mean I myself have two pets. They are both very affectionate and loving, and they love to cuddle. To me, pets are fine to have unless they are being mistreated
I feed all my cats Evolution Diet cat food (a mix of wet and dry) and they love it! They're healthy and happy and don't seem to notice the difference. It's 100% vegan and is nutritionally complete.
I also feed Evolution Diet dog food to any dogs that come to stay at my house (I am a part-time dog nanny) and I haven't had one snub their food yet! Also, both my cats came to me seeking shelter, I did not purchase them at any store, nor do I support stores that do sell "pets". There enough cats and dogs in shelters around the world that need homes, there's no use to support the cruel "factory" pet-store market.
Vegans who love their pets! My husband and I are vegans who love our two cats (Hannah & Ruby) and our Pug dog (Gertrude).
Some vegans are troubled by the issue of "owning" companion pets because they do not feel that they can morally "own" an animal and decide its fate for it. One has to remember that domesticated animals such as dogs and cats are a product of human involvement in the species for thousands of years. I would not condone supporting any type of pet store, puppy mill or any place that stands to profit from forcibly mating animals and keeping them in less that humane conditions.
If you are interested in adopting a pet, do just that! There are thousands of homeless animals looking for you that are kept in not-for-profit shelters and pounds across the country. Not only are you providing a much needed home for an animal that, due to our domestication, can no longer function in the wild, but you are also going to get a loving companion to share your home with without spending an excessive amount of money!