Connect with vegetarian and vegan friends from all over the world.
How do you feel about owning pets? Is it morally sound, or is it not?
I am also curious how vegetarian/vegans feel about buying non-vegetarian pet food (vegetarian pet food is very expensive!) Would that not still be supporting the industry, or are you concerned with personal consumption only?
Over the past 23 I've been feeding my 7 cats and 8 dogs a recipe I cook and supplement with the product called VegePet (www.vegepet.com)
I started in 1991 and bought their book, "Vegetarian Cats & Dogs" (see their website above) and have had no problems at all (even though I am notoriously lazy with cooking in general!). My two cats, now in their 'teens, still show amazing energy and are very beautiful. The average age of all my cats and dogs has been 15, including one cat which had congenital heart defects. My present dog has great energy. (I am not adopting any more pets since 2 years ago, since I have recently joined the US Foreign Service as a diplomat and will have to travel extensively for next decade; my 3 pets I have now will travel with me, of course.)
None of my animals has had any adverse health effects (except some brief indigestion when some petsitter accidentally gave them some meat kibbles!). Their teeth are clean and white and their eyes are clear and fur is sleek. They are not obese, like my prior animals used to be (and practically all American pets are!).
I cook for the dogs a big pot once every two weeks and keep it in the 'fridge. As you'll discover from the VegePet site, there are many recipes, but for my pets, ingredients are mainly garbanzo beans, with some added rice, and vegetables and corn oil and a bit of soy sauce for flavor. I mash everything up with a potato masher while it's hot. Then I add the powdered VegeDog mineral/vitamin supplement from VegePet. When I feed them, I fill 3/4 of their bowl with rolled oats I get from the health food store in bulk and add the cooked stuff from the pot. They love it!
I cook for the cats a big pot once every month and divide it into little plastic containers and keep most in the freezer and bring a container down to the 'fridge when needed. As with the dogs, ingredients are mainly garbanzo beans, with some added rice and vegetables, but I use non-oleic canola oil. I mix up everything cooked, plus the appropriate quantity of VegeCat powdered suppment and some additional uncooked slices of either avocado or corn, in a Cuisine-art mixer and glop the resulting mix into the plastic containers. (I don't make it completely liquidy in the mixer, however, as the cats like a little texture and something to chew.)
Transitioning cats, even a feral cat, to the VegeCat food has been easy.
Most of us vegetarians love animals, so it's only natural that we would want to close the ethical loop by completely eliminating any ties to the slaughterhouse. No reason to pay exorbitant prices for store-bought veg pet food.
There's NO reason at all that you, too, cannot avoid being a hypocrite and now have a cruelty-free diet for your pet.
Oh thanks for this!! I've been wanting to get my cat on a veggie diet for a while now so I haven't got any more excuses :)
I think its important to acknowledge the reasons various creatures (including humans) eat what they eat. All animals are not the same. Their instinctive nutritional requirements dictate what is needed for them to grow, breed, thrive etc... These factors can be physiological, environmental, cultural, medicinal, geological and of course for humans financial.
I consider myself a realist. I know the way I would like the world to be but I understand that it isn't. Domesticated animals are a fact of life and since the world will never be rid of them, if you're going to keep them, I believe you have an obligation to provide the closest environment, both in habitat and diet to what they would reap if they were wild.
Its important to acknowledge we are NOT all the same. If someone had a pet snake for example, you could try, but you'd be unsuccessful cramming an ear of corn down his throat and if you deprive him of the diet evolution has dictated for him, he will ultimately die. The same is true for more common house pets like cats for example. I'm not a vet and doubt the addition of vegetable based nutrients to their store bought food would harm them, depriving them of their natural, primary food source which like it or not is meat, is unnecessarily cruel and would likely inhibit the physiological life of the pet in ways you don't understand, especially if your not a biologist.
I know many out there force their cats (again for example) to be vegetarians and claim they are fine but there really is no way to know if the animal would be healthier, happier, live longer, etc.. had they had access to the food their systems evolved around. Again its a tough question, I would almost guaranty though a cat forced to be vegetarian or vegan from birth to say 5 years old would still run to a bowl of vittles and start scarfing it down over a vegetarian bowl should the two be placed side by side. Again, just my opinion.
Alice B, you raise two points here I would like to counter. I've heard them countless times, so I'd like to deal with them as succinctly as possible: The first is that it would be "unnecessarily cruel" to deprive a cat (or dog) from eating meat. But which is more cruel, to "deprive" a pet of meat, or to engage in the massive cruelty which IS the pet food industry. I won't steer you to any horrible slaughter videos (and they are innumerable) but you should just pause for a moment and consider what you are saying!
The second point you made is whether a vegan pet would opt to eat meat when it's offered. Well of course it would, but we caregivers to our pets would be unnecessarily cruel (to use your term) to conduct such an unnecessary experiment! If you read my summary of how (now) 14 of my pets (see 6 of them in photo here) over the past 22 years have been successfully and healthfully vegan, you would do yourself and your pets a world of good, not to mention the farm animals you would thus avoid (indirectly) raising, harming and slaughtering!
But which is more cruel, to "deprive" a pet of meat, or to engage in the massive cruelty which IS the pet food industry.
JD, what are you, the CEO of Vegpet? You're entitled to reach whatever conclusions you wish but there’s no need for you to "counter" my opinions, succinctly or otherwise. It’s sanctimonious for you to assume I’ve not seen the cruelty videos as most of us here have.
The OP's question was… did we feel owning pets was moral? (For the record I don't). He also asked how we felt about buying non-veg pet food for OTHER than moral reasons, citing the “expense” as a valid reason. The 1st question is a difficult one for most Veg@ns. As for the 2nd, buying any kind of pet food, meat based or otherwise supports the pet food industry. Are we against the pet food industry now too? Because if we are, the end result will be more PETS being euthanized since the majority of the world’s human population owning pets sit below the poverty line and can’t afford to buy veg-only food much less cook their pets “properly” balanced meals which by the way; most veterinarians agree isn’t wise. Remember, by nature, animals are raw foodist’s and naturally require the nutrients and enzymes found in raw food to thrive; Not survive…Thrive. Cooking removes the majority of nutrients in food; I mean that’s food 101 right? And what about the millions of animals waiting for homes in shelters. What should they eat? Additionally, you can take the meat out of the pet food but the stock animals you’re trying to save are still going to the slaughter house because MOST pet Food companies purchase their animal based ingredients from the scraps and low end seconds of the wait, wait for it… Food Industry!
If you want to help animals be Veg@n, lead by example,
Encourage people to take care of their pets and not give them up when things don’t go their way or worse, set them loose, or negligently let them get out. Encourage others to spay and neuter their pets, write your local governments and let them know that breeding should be illegal in a moral society. Tell your family and friends to participate in local catch spay/neuter release programs, encourage others to do better and to offer those displaced animals a healthy, loving, home if you have the means to do so.
Sorry Alice, but you completely missed the point. This topic is about ethics, and, as a participant for 20 years in thousands of threads, expansion is the norm. Anyway, what I was saying is that it is NOT ethical to participate in the factory food industry, which you would be doing if you purchased meat food for pets. Also, if you would simply look a bit at the available information, you would find that cooking your own food (and adding the taurine supplements that one can get from VegePet.com) you would spend literally HALF on your pets. This of course doesn't even include the SAVINGS on vet bills, because any pet eating commercial pet food is GUARANTEED to have cancers. You see the pet food industry is so profitable because they take the NFHC (not fit for human consumption), including cancerous growths which are literally ground up to make the pet food. Also food coloring and additives and preservatives and hormones! Your arguement "still going to the slaughter house" doesn't make any ethical sense--any more than buying pedophaeliac porn, just because it's a byproduct of the porn industry. I was taught by my mom that "two wrongs don't make a right". I've been in the animal welfare and animal rights movement since 1978, when I first leafletted against steel jaw traps at Ohio University, so you don't have to preach to me about "leading by example". Sorry if I made you feel defensive, but what's important is how you truly perceive yourself.
(Oh and by the way I work for the State Department and am based in DC, since you resorted to some snippy opening remark. Perhaps I seem to promote VegePet because I've been using it for now 24 years and have had nothing but success and my family is proud that we have long had a virtually cruelty free house.)