We don’t, as a family, or as individuals living together, keep ‘pets’, so as not to control animals directly and/or subject them to human needs and uses. Much is written about the calmative and therapeutic and developmental benefits to children of keeping pets, but I feel that is a construct at the expense of an animal’s rights, and the loss of animal rights is an occlusion of human rights as well. For me, animals and humans should very often share similar rights, and sometimes the same rights.
People might generally agree with this in terms of a right not to experience cruelty and pain. However, I take this much further, into the realm of real liberty and psychological freedoms. Where we live, in a fragment of degraded bushland in the largely cleared Western Australian wheatbelt, our son, Tim, is surrounded by ‘wildlife’ and has, likely as a consequence, developed non-intrusive, respectful interactions with animals/birds/insects—he has developed acute sensors to the proximity of all living things, including plants, but especially to non-human animal life.
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