For those of you who have or are considering getting a pet
Having a pet comes with a lot of responsibility. An animal is not a “use and throw away” item, but a living and feeling individual. Animals must be treated well and protected against the risk of unnecessary stress. As an animal owner, you must ask yourself: “What can I do to satisfy the animal’s needs and give it a good life?” You have to think carefully about whether a pet fits into your everyday life.
As an animal owner, you are responsible for:
To acquire knowledge about the animal’s needs
Pets need to be active and live in an environment that is adapted to the animal species. How the animal species lives in the wild provides a clue as to what needs your pet has. Does it need to be with other animals of the same species, have the opportunity to hide in a safe place or constantly explore new environments? Animals that are bored, lonely, insecure or otherwise frustrated can develop behavioral disorders. You are responsible for your animal’s well-being. Before you choose to acquire a pet, you must familiarize yourself thoroughly with the needs of the animal species. You should buy or borrow a book about the animal species and obtain information from the pet shop, breeder or interest association. You can also find a lot of information on the internet.
To protect the animal against disease, injury and pain
You must do what you can to prevent your animal from becoming ill, injured or spreading disease to other animals or people. If the animal nevertheless becomes ill or injured, you are responsible for limiting the suffering. Among other things, you must consider whether the animal should be taken to a vet. Many diseases and injuries can be treated with drugs and interventions. Sometimes, however, it is better to euthanize a suffering animal than to subject it to prolonged, painful treatment. The vet can help you assess this. Pets must be euthanized by a veterinarian or other persons who know how to do this.
Other things to think about
Not all animals are suitable for families with children. Children must learn that animals must be treated carefully, and that animals are not toys. Children under the age of 16 are not allowed to be responsible for animals alone. This also applies to pet sitting during holidays. Even if children get their “own” pets, it is the adults who are responsible for the animal’s welfare anyway.
Pets can disturb the neighbours. You should think about whether the animal fits in where you live.
Prevent unwanted reproduction
Pets should not reproduce without this being planned. Many species reproduce quickly if you are not careful to separate sexually mature males from females. Farming animals requires a lot of time and knowledge. Uncritical breeding can lead to genetic defects, which in turn lead to suffering for the animals. If you choose for your animals to have babies, it is your responsibility to make sure they get good homes.