In an article featured in the New York Times by Vanderbilt Philosophy Professor, Kelly Oliver, contends that the pathology of animal lovers is often times portrayed as weak and mentally unstable. Her argument rests on two scenarios. Firstly, she argues that the President is traditionally seen as an animal tamer, hunter, and eater. Presidents are photographed hunting, a political strategy used to depict them as a character who provides sustenance for his family and protection for the nation; they are not pet lovers. Even President Obama, who is one of the few Presidents to not hunt, is often times seen eating a burger. Oliver contends that vegetarianism and American politics are polar opposites. Her next argument revolves around how female celebrities for animal rights are oftentimes depicted as “quirky at best and at worst crazy.” In fact, she argues that pets are only accepted in two categories: as pets for children, or as service animals. In the former, she argues the psychological profile for pet lover is “soft, childlike, or pathological,” attributes which are only accepted in a child who turns to their pet for comfort and support. In regards to the latter, she argues that society only accepts animal dependence in times of “illness, handicap or severe need.” For example, service animals provide physical assistance to the blind or emotional support for patients going through extreme emotional and medical stress.
While this article does raise some interesting points, I think it makes too broad conclusions based on weak assumptions and promotes unfair assumptions for pet owners. Her first argument about the President ultimately not being a pet lover is simply untrue. For example, Bill Clinton was notoriously close to his dog, Buddy. Buddy wasn’t his daughter’s, Chelsea’s, dog; the dog was Clinton’s through and through. In fact, nearly ever President has owned a dog, and to argue that those dogs were for their children and not for the President, even when the President owned the dog before he had children/after his children had grown up, is simply absurd!
Her second argument is also contentious. There are many vegetarian and vegan celebrities who are regarded with respect, such as Paul McCartney and Steve Jobs. Moreover, recently in the UK, Paul McCartney and Gordon Brown have been pushing to introduce a Meat-Free Mondays law, with the goal of pushing health, the environment, and other ethical issues higher up on the political agenda.
Her third argument, about service animals being used for the physically and emotionally vulnerable, is perhaps her most legitimate argument. It is true – people do turn to animals in times of need. However, this decision to rely on animal support during times of need is clearly a choice – people turn to service animals because they provide unconditional love and support.
Show your beloved pet support. Give back to her or him, particularly with the upcoming Christmas season. Ensure that they are always safe, loved, and free of possible dog anxiety with herbs and supplements for overall pet health.
Also, what do you think? Are pets really just for children? Do you think powerful people can be animal lovers? Leave your opinion on this article in the comments section below.