(WJW) — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is urging people to stop using the word “pet” when referring to animals. The organization says there needs to be a new animal language that respects animals as equals and shifts the way the public views them.
PETA Founder Ingrid Newkirk, 70, told British news outlet Metro that the term “pet” is derogatory and reduces animals from being living, breathing organisms to inanimate objects.
She says the term is condescending, arguing that calling animals “pet” is like calling a woman “sweetie” or “honey.”
Instead, she encourages people to use the phrase “animal companions” when referring to dogs, cats and other domestic animals.
Newkirk also says people should refer to themselves as “guardians” instead of “owners.”
“A dog is a feeling, whole individual, with emotions and interests, not something you ‘have,’” Newkirk told Metro. “How we say things governs how we think about them, so a tweak in our language when we talk about the animals in our homes is needed.”