Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), said on Friday that it is “derogatory” to call animals “pets,” and suggested owners call their animals “companions” instead.
“Animals are not pets— they are not your cheap burglar alarm or something which allows you to go out for a walk. They are not ours as decorations or toys, they are living beings,” Newkirk said.
The PETA co-founder, who recently released her book Animalkind: Remarkable Discoveries About Animals and Revolutionary New Ways to Show Them Compassion, compared calling animals “pets” to the treatment of women before feminism. Newkirk was inspired by ethics philosopher Peter Singer, who deems it wrong to assign greater inherent value to human beings than to any other form of animal life.
PETA’s website even devotes an entire page to “Companion Animal Frequently Asked Questions.” It also has a page celebrating 29 “vegans of color” who are saving animals.”