Sunday, September 3, 2017

The Case Against affection-Slavery

Charles Danten, former veterinarian

The following arguments are based on the fact that between 80 and 85 percent of pet owners, according to Animal Veterinary Hospital Association surveys, consider themselves to be the fathers and mothers of their pets, and consider it derogatory to call them anything but “children.” Therefore, the use of the word slave, which technically applies to humans only is perfectly justified.

Proud pet owner and Affection-Slavery advocate
Gary Francine virtue-signalling* with his pets.
Affection-Slavery Advocate,
Tom Regan,
virtue-signalling with his pets before he passed away recently.
Virtue-signalling: expression or promotion of viewpoints, behaviours or actions, that are especially valued within the social group, done primarily to enhance the social standing of the person employing them.

Affection-slavery: The instrumentalization of animals for therapeutic and virtue-signalling reasons or for their affection as defined in more detail in the introductory chapter of my book, Slaves of Our Affection: The Myth of the Happy Pet.


1. Most people who are not psychopaths love animals and don't mean to hurt them.

2. Enslaving animals for their affection is inconsistent with the first point because it results in animal misery rather than wellbeing, as I have thoroughly documented in my book (see also on this blog, People who love animals should not own pets).

3. Enslaving animals for their affection is inconsistent with the first point because it inherently means exploiting them, treating them as inferior, neglecting their biological needs, and harming them in ways that are irreconcilable with the first point.

4. Rescuing animals is inconsistent with the first point because it perpetuates the problem viciously. It is not generally true that keeping rescue animals gives them a life in which they fare well; nor is it true that rescue-keeping is consistent with any form of animal liberation:

– By buying into the fallacies described herein, adoption does more to nullify the wanted effect of saving animals and to amplify the dreaded effect of consumerism, with all its inseparable atrocities. 

– Every rescued animal becomes a living publicity board that states: exploiting an animal through ownership is legitimate. People who see you walking your dog cannot know you rescued it and want to abolish the injustice of the pet industry. So for every animal “saved,” countless others will be pulled into this endless inferno.

 – Many rescued animals are not truly rescued; they are just shuffled around from one master to another. Rescues are subjected to the same misery described in my book as any other pets. 

– As Condorcet argues in his landmark book, Reflections on Negro Slavery, saving a slave from death does not give you the right to enslave it for your own pleasure and comfort. So unless you can actually liberate, in the true sense of the word, a rescued animal, it is wrong to assert that rescuing an animal is consistent with the first point. And since it is absurd to liberate a domestic animal, for reasons I have explained in my book, one should simply stay out of it, if one truly wishes to see the end of affection-slavery.  

5. Affection-slavery is also wrong because it is destructive to the self and to the environment (see the chapter of my book “Some Ethical Issues” and on this blog a short excerpt from the chapter “Zootherapy debunked” called The Fake News of Animal-Assisted Therapy). It sets a bad example for children, who will carry on with the slave-ownership mentality until we teach them otherwise.

Therefore all normal people who love animals should oppose affection-slavery, even for rescue purposes, because it is harmful to animals, to the self, and to the environment.

I rest my case.


Charles Danten