Run, Spot, Run -The Ethics of Keeping Pets by Jessica Pierce takes its name from the black and white puppy of the Dick and Jane early reader books that were used from the 1930s until the 1970s.
Spot is a stand-in for all the animals that are kept as pets; this is not just cats and dogs but also exotics and other animals.
The scope of this book is a mixture of information which is enlightening, challenging and thought-provoking.
Pierce, a bioethicist, aims to answer the fundamental question, “Is it ethical to keep pets?” And the issue isn’t nearly as black and white as Spot the dog was.
She covers the implication of care needs such as spay/neuter, enrichment and feeding, for example. The feeding chapters canvas the issues of what we choose to feed, and how these feeds are sourced – powerful stuff that is often missed in the ever-present “raw vs kibble” debate. Food for thought, definitely.
Cruelty and neglect are also covered, as are the hard-hitting facts of other animal abuse such as sexual abuse of animals (this chapter comes with a warning about offensive and disturbing content). Exotic pets and their plight are also discussed.
This book is not a light read; but for any true pet lover, you owe it to yourself to look at the wider ethical issues around pet care and responsibility. Pierce’s final words are a fitting closure to this book:
“I leave you with a call to action. Change starts with awareness.”
Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand