Do we have too many pets?

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With 80 million pets on its territory, France has become European champion. 15 million cats, 8 million dogs, more than half of French households have them. But with a parallel phenomenon which is not decreasing at all: abandonment…100,000 animals are abandoned each year, mainly in summer, when the shelters are full. But then, don’t we have too many pets?

Why buy, sometimes very expensive, your pug, cavalier king charles or dwarf spitz, these very fashionable little dogs, when you could adopt others, abandoned? Or simply do without, if you don’t have time to take care of them as they need…

But things are moving. The law voted last November against animal mistreatment obliges, for example, to sign a certificate of commitment, and the sales of dogs and cats will be prohibited in pet stores from 2024. It is a way of remembering that these animals are much more than consumer goods, even having undeniable benefits for their masterswhether psychological or physical.

But is it necessary for all that, and at the opposite extreme, consider them as human beings? Philosophically speaking, the asymmetry in domestication raises questions. We have never yet seen a dog be the master of a man… But new practices such as “petfluencers”, featuring their pets on social networks, are getting closer.

Breeders, pet store sales and shelters

The guests wonder about the relevance of buying or not an animal when there are so many abandoned in shelters.

For May Chan-Koung, head of influence campaigns for domestic animals, who bought her dog in breeding, it depends on the context: “For a first possession, I did not think I could go on a shelter dog who has a passive, etc. In my opinion, when you really learn about a breed upstream, when you are aware of all that, you visit a breeding, the structures, the operation, etc. It is an adoption, finally a successful purchase and thought.”

Camille Crosnier wonders if there isn’t a kind of “animal consumerism”. What answers Valérie Chansigaud, historian of science and the environment: “It is clear that the animals that we will choose according to their appearance … and the dogs in the kennels, abandoned, which have a liability. I don’t really know what a passive means, because the animals that can be taken in have a history that is not necessarily easy, first and foremost for them. But it is not necessarily a passive. negative that should be avoided at all costs. On the contrary, it is part of their identity, the personality of these animals.

Some breeds are more successful than others. For Angélique Jammes, director of the union of pet professionals, it is difficult to change that: “It’s always been like that. In fact, we can’t change anything about it. It is above all necessary to find solutions to fight against abandonment. But we cannot go against the human being who has always wanted a particular race. Today, it’s a lot of shiba, chiwawa, pugs, French bulldogs…”

Listen to the rest…

The guests

  • Valerie Chansigaudhistorian of science and the environment
  • Angelique JamesCEO of Prodafunion of pet professionals
  • Sandrine Weltmanndirector of animal protection at the SPA
  • May Chan Kounghead of influence campaigns for the communication agency YLGpet specialist

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