Dog, cat… How to have an animal when you’re vegetarian?

We may consider that the fact that the keeping of animals for the sake of entertainment, for their personal possession, to impose our company upon them for our sole pleasure, to confine them in a limited space […] related to animal exploitation. » In his book Vegan planet: think, eat and act differently (ed. Marabout, 2017), geographer Ophélie Véron categorizes: you cannot call yourself a vegetarian and have a cat or a dog at home. In a French-speaking context, vegan refers to a person not consuming anything obtained from the exploitation of animals. », identifies Claire Camblain, geographer and subject matter expert. Simply put, vegetarians of course don’t eat meat, don’t eat milk, eggs, honey, and don’t wear wool or leather.

Indeed, being the owner or master of your animal seems far from these moral commitments: how to feed it, if not with meatloaf ? Is he comfortable in an apartment? ? By paying attention to certain rules, vegans still choose to live with animals. This is the case of Larisa Ficulle, an Italian literature doctoral student who has been a vegetarian for a year. For me, having a pet doesn’t contradict being vegan. I live with my boyfriend who has several cats and that’s not a problem for me. The key is to always adopt them, never buy them. » By becoming a vegan and an anti-insectist, she changed the way she lives with her cats: I am not their mistress. I try to find a balance between their free will and the fact that we live together. I also realized that I shouldn’t hug them when they don’t want to. »

One-third of French households have a dog. © EB / Reporterre

We avoid punishment or humiliation »

The question of adopting an animal when we are vegetarian is also the deconstruction of our dominant reflex. This starts with this household companion’s status: We want these animals to enter the family code as it is now in Spain »Amandine Sanvisens, co-founder of the animal welfare association, said PAZ. In particular, this implies for example that a judge would have to take into account said animal, which is considered endowed with sensitivity » when a couple separates and proposes possible joint custody. This is also through the vocabulary used: we don’t train, we educate. We avoid punishment or humiliation »speak PVre Anissa Putois, communications director of the Peta France association.

These reflections are very recent. For a long time, our relationship with animals has been pragmatic, according to environmental and science historian Valérie Chansigaud, author of History of animal domestication (ed. Delachaux and Niestlé, 2020): The first domesticated species was the wolf, which gave rise to the dog. On documents dating from 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, we see hunters surrounded by dogs, sometimes chained. »

It wasn’t until the Renaissance that our relationship with animals became a pastime: We notice on the pictures small dogs with women and children. It is a sign of nobility to have a pet “futile”. ” In XIXe century, dogs were integrated into the bourgeois way of life, soon followed by cats. Since then, our four-legged friends have occupied a very important place in our daily lives. In April, a third of households in France had a dog, according to the research institute THAT’S IT.

Sensitive subject: croquettes

The most sensitive topic remains food: isn’t it a contradiction to want to model one’s vegetarian and anti-espionage ethics on a hunting and carnivorous animal? ? “ “What do you think about vegetable food for dogs and cats ? ” Is there a more controversial question than that? ? I get it every time I do a Q&A. And every time I answer it, I get annoyed ! »La petite okara, a youtuber who creates vegan recipes, said in a video two years ago [1]. she, who has no no firm opinion on this matter », chose meatballs adapted to the dog’s digestibility after experimenting with different options.

The question of food posed many problems for Larisa Ficulle’s brain, before she came to this conclusion: Unlike dogs, which are omnivores, cats have no choice but to eat meat. Therefore, I feel less guilty about feeding him without consuming it myself. »

Some people believe it is possible to make your animals vegan without putting them in danger, like Amandine Sanvisens, especially pet food make a significant contribution to the abattoir industry ». There is also the question of ecology: according to American researcher Gregory Okin, in the United States alone, the production of meat for croquettes and pâtés produces emissions equivalent to CO2 in total… 13.6 million cars. Protecting the environment, we also protect animals.appoint Anissa Putois. Therefore, we must promote our vegan lifestyle. » And thus macrobiotic food of livestock. If we find that this diet is not suitable for our cats, we will stop of course. The idea is not to impose a moral vision that harms one’s health. »

For dogs, a vegan diet is possible and even better for their health, according to a study from the University of Lincoln. But according to veterinary nutritionist Charlotte Devaux, the study is flawed because it was funded by ProVeg International and describes more correlational effects than causality. Overall, according to M.I Devaux, you must be very attentive to nutrients: For those who decide to cook for their animals, it’s tough: it takes about fifteen different ingredients, and we’ve seen many cases of undernutrition, especially with cats. » The latter really needs taurine, an active acid that it can’t synthesize on its own.

Carnivorous worms at different stages of their life cycle at the Ynsect farm near Dole, during the Jurassic period. © Roxane Gauthier / Reporterre

So what to do? ? Prioritize your companions, even if it means ignoring the lives of other animals ? For Charlotte Devaux, to limit the damage we can switch to the quasi-vegetarian range: They offer soy-based foods, but still have fish oil, such as lanolin from sheep, to meet their vitamin D3 needs in particular. » Other ways to get out of the factory farming system: insect-based alternatives.

The urgency of overcrowded shelters

These compromises can be a hindrance for vegetarians. Purity can never be achieved in complicated situations », shade Claire Camblain. Ditto for sterilization, some vegetarians find it difficult to prevent animals from breeding. However, the associations are unanimous: in the summer of 2021, Peta published a column, signed by 101 veterinarians, calling for the sterilization of dogs and cats to avoid the birth of hundreds of thousands of unwanted animals that, for lack of homes, will be abandoned, abandoned or killed ».

Some shelters were so full that they could no longer accommodate animals. » Ghoul

Because of the state of emergency: 100,000 animals are abandoned every year in France, that’s champion country in europe »regret for Anissa Putois. Some shelters were so full that they could no longer accommodate animals. Therefore, they will die when they are in perfect health. » This is also why we must resist buying condemn an ​​adoption candidate, because he lost his place in a family ». On November 30, 2021, the French parliament passed a law banning the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores, weaning too early and being victims of abuse. impulse purchase ». According to the animal welfare association, we must go further PAZWho call for an end to all commercialization of all livestock »Indications Amandine Sanvisens.

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