My current stance seems to be wavering. On one hand, I think that though we are indeed aiming to abolish the cycle of breeding more animals as 'pets', we have a moral obligation to assist those already in this system (e.g dogs in pounds etc). But also, part of me thinks that we should be able to co-exist - why do we say animals cannot be part of our society? isn't THAT speciesism?
Other individuals who disagree with me state that it is hypocritical having this stance because in owning a pet I am displaying that I am supporting the system and perpetuating the idea of animals as property. And, in supporting this idea, I may also support the notion of dumpster meat eating (by vegans) as it is the same concept.
I have been toiling over this. My ideas in relation to that argument are;
1) Everything we do can be hypocritical. The only way to be a true vegan is commit suicide. In eating a Vegie Burger on the side of the street it can, to a passer by, perpetuate the idea that burgers are good and go eat a beef burger - not knowing the reasons behind that very burger. Similarly, a passerby may not understand my reasons for homing a rescued animal and assume it the norm and do their daily business. This leads me into point two...
2) It is worthwhile in weighing up the benefit you can have in abolishing the system whilst being amongst it and educating the public as opposed to displaying no compassion and remaining out of the system. In being 'in it', not only do i maintain the opportunity to help lives, but I also maintain myself in a position to teach others about it and begin the snowball effect of rejection of a) breeders/pet shops and b) bringing more into existence (desexing).
From this thread I quite liked Silverfire's response and sums things up nicely:
3) I see a big difference between a vegan homing a rescued animal and eating the flesh of a dead animal. Yes, both perpetuate the idea of animals as property - but the key difference is that the pet issue is an exceptional case as through participating in the system, we can indeed work together to slowly abolish it whilst at the same time working together to assist the 'slaves'.
In homing a rescued animal and taking up every opportunity to talk about it you're a) starting to mainstream rejection of the continuation of the system (long term) and b) helping a life (short term).
4) It is EXACTLY like open rescue. Though our desired end result is abolition - in the short term we help as many as we can now, try to protect the ones trapped in the objectifying system whilst working slowly to change it.
5) It's our nature to nurture and care. We should not reject this. We nurture children, same as how we nurture our non human friends - what we need to do now is discontinue classing them as beneath us or 'ours'. So, let's try to work together compassionately. Threads like this are a great read: http://www.vegsoc.org.au/forum_messages.asp?Thread_ID=4082&Topic_ID=8
And they get me to wonder whether co-existing is possible? But if we did choose this path would we be able to remove the property status of non humans?