Opinion Düsseldorf During the holiday season, some people want to get rid of their pets — and treat them like discarded items. Such behavior also has social reasons. Will animal drivers licenses be the solution?
The rabbit Oliver sat in a cage on the side of the road, careless, the bottle of water was covered with algae, dumped like huge waste. There was a note on the cage that read “present”. It should in fact have been “discarded”.
Such cases of acute heart failure increase during the holiday season. People want to go on vacation undisturbed or are tired of their pets anyway. Then the dogs are leashed to the parking lot, the rabbits are put on the side of the road, and the cats are delivered away on eBay. It does not matter to whom, the main thing is that the tiger went home before the plane took off. What these guards have in common is that they no longer see an organism in the animal, but something. Something to get rid of if it bothers you. Something that has no claims – eg to minimal liability. Something that has been underplayed.
Now there are enough pleas not to buy pets without carefully considering the consequences. Everyone knows dogs need to be walked, litter boxes need to be cleaned, and rabbit waterers need to be filled. Let’s start with the basics. Of course, responsibility for the animal means much more than that. This includes discovering the specific needs of the animal, providing it with a species-appropriate environment, and bringing this into line with your everyday life.
Animals take time. Animals cost money. If all goes well, you have lifelong companions. But this is not a sure success. Educational efforts are also required. But these are all theoretical visions that also relate to something that will only happen in the future. Only when buying an animal. You can imagine a lot. So it requires a certain ability to abstraction to understand the consequences of buying an animal. And to balance it with another motive that in some cases has become compelling today: against the desire to have something.
Abstract thinking and controlling your impulses is an adult ability. However, as annual pet misalignments show, there seem to be a lot of immature animals, and one could also say infantile pet owners. They give in to their fantasies of how wonderful it is to own a perfectly obedient dog, always purring cat, and an adorable rabbit. How little this corresponds to the nature of animals, and the amount of effort needed to adapt to life with animals, does not come to mind. or he will be expelled. After all, others do too. Rabbits already live alone in cages in the nursery, although they need companions, or the complex Dalmatian is bought because he has such funny points.
This cannot be countered by appeal. There is hardly any shortage of information about the requirements and proper species retention for common pets. For larger dogs, you must provide proof of proficiency in the NRW, for dangerous breeds anyway. In other federal states, there is not even a license for this dog handler, let alone other animal testing. But it is also possible that the wrong reaction is the desire to force something with tests and evidence that require subjective reflection: an informed attitude toward animals.
This is still a social mission. And complicated at that, unsatisfactory as it is. Because it is about constantly drawing attention to what is a prerequisite for animal welfare. What are the demands associated with raising dogs, cats and guinea pigs? So when you buy an animal, you pay money as you would for any other purchase, but you get a living organism. This comes with a lot of responsibility.
Popular animal shows, which often address educational issues, can help raise awareness. Pet owners are just as important – if they honestly tell you how much work an animal does, what’s so great about living with them, but also how stressful it is. We live in a free society in which irresponsible purchases of animals cannot be prevented. And also in a society where comparison is a powerful social force. This is the reason for the emergence of fashions, such as owning a dog during the Corona period. Therefore it remains a common mission to raise awareness of the requirements of live pets. So that as few people as possible get the idea that you can simply put rabbits on the side of the road like an old shelf – and even sell them as a “gift”.