For the love of people’s pets
Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.
Everyone has a soft spot for dogs. It is hard to feel anything less than love towards a puppy and there are few who have read Where the Red Fern Grows or watched Lassie and did not cry at the end.
With the way some people treat their dogs the moniker “man’s best friend” can be somewhat of an understatement.
Gail Posner is a prime example. She died in 2010 and left her estate and $3 million in cash to her three dogs. Her son received a million for inheritance.
Her story is not unfamiliar. In 2007 real estate billionaire Leona Helmsley died and left a $12 million trust fund for her dog Trouble. This degree of lavishness is an affront to people. The children of both these women have made attempts to contest the wills.
Even though the children did receive sizable inheritances they still were given less than the dogs. No matter how terrible the children may have been the actions of these women were worse.
They display a frightful degree of hubris by squandering such wealth on animals that would sooner roll around in a rotting carcass than play fetch.
People like these women have lost sight of the importance of humanity or simply do not care. Either option is unsettling.
In 2007 the American pet industry according to Bloomberg reached $41 billion. Americans spend more on their pets then they do on media.
Even the majority of countries in the world have a GDP less than $41 billion.
Owners will blow hundreds of dollar on their pets by taking them to pet spas for grooming or leaving them at pet daycare.
Whatever happened to washing the dog in the bathtub or leaving it in the yard? Instead people choose to buy organic pet shampoo and leave their dogs with access to television.
Pet spas are an embarrassment when you consider that 53% of people in the world live on less than $2 daily.
We would find the ancient Egyptian traditions surrounding cat mummification laughable and irrational, but are pet cemeteries any different? We are not that far from the superstitions of the Pharaohs.
In recent years animal rights has been a controversial subject. The movement began with protests over fishing and against fur coats. It has risen to a higher degree today as Germany has added animal rights to its constitution.
It is actions like these that overvalue the importance of animals and trivialize the importance of people.
Not all animal advocacy groups are wrong. Whales should not be hunted to extinction for their blubber, and elephants should not be slaughtered simply for their tusks. But humans will always need food, and malnourishment often comes from a lack of protein.
By all means show your animals love and care but keep in mind that they are only animals, and they should be treated as such.
When drafting your will remember to leave your dog with someone you trust. They will certainly appreciate that more than a $12 million dollar trust fund.