PC Culture

PETA: ‘You Can’t Be a Feminist and Buy a Dog’

(Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters)
According to the animal-rights group, purchasing a dog, even from a reputable breeder, is akin to supporting the illicit sex trade.

According to a post on PETA’s official website, dog owners can’t be feminist, because “if you buy a dog, you are funding sexual exploitation.”

“In breeders’ circles, female dogs’ main purposes are to win beauty pageants and then to be bred repeatedly until their bodies wear out,” says the post. “In puppy mills and breeding operations, female dogs are trapped in a nightmare sickeningly similar to the illicit sex trade. Their bodies are controlled, manipulated, bought, and sold — all for the financial benefit of their peddlers.”

The bottom of the post contains a button where you can pledge to never buy an animal, and another that states “CLICK HERE TO SEE HOW TO GET SEXISM OFF YOUR PLATE.”

Now, to be clear, I understand that puppy mills are awful places. And as an animal lover/non-sociopath, I absolutely don’t condone any kind of animal abuse. What’s more, I actually do agree that it’s far better to rescue an animal than to buy one (that’s how I got my cat) — but I also understand that breeders and puppy mills are not in the same category. There are plenty of ethical breeders that treat their animals with respect, and that’s a fact.

It’s only right to make sure you’re not furthering the mistreatment of dogs by buying one. But equating someone who buys a dog from a respectable breeder with an anti-feminist supporter of sex slavery is obviously insane.

That’s not how PETA sees it, though. “These dogs are victims of sexual exploitation,” the post states. “Anyone who cares about equality and social justice can help end the sexual exploitation of female animals by refusing to support abusive puppy mills and breeders.”

Oh, boy.

Again, puppy mills specifically are terrible, but that doesn’t mean that the general practice of buying a dog from anywhere is terrible — and it certainly doesn’t mean you can’t be a feminist if you buy one. It’s certainly not a good idea to buy from pet stores, and it’s certainly a good idea to be careful with breeders. Good breeders will not have a very large number of puppies or kittens. They will have a lot of information about the breed, and seem more concerned about an animal’s long-term health than taking your money. For example, many good breeders even make buyers sign contracts, and will follow up after the animal is in their new home to find out how they are doing.

There are plenty of good breeders who care very much about their animals, and a little research can help you find one. It’s only right to make sure you’re not furthering the mistreatment of dogs by buying one. But equating someone who buys a dog from a respectable breeder with an anti-feminist supporter of sex slavery is obviously insane.

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