We have come a long way since Peter Singer wrote Animal Liberation in 1975. According to an Ipsos-Reid survey (Globe, 14 December), Quebec is now the last bastion of pet traditionalists, who insist on treating their furry friends like animals. The rest of us treat them as equals, realizing that their emancipation offers tremendous career opportunities. We will need:
PHILOLOGISTS to create politically correct dictionaries replacing the words “animals” with PEOPLE OF FUR (POF), “pet owners” with POF ATTENDANTS, and animals used for “breeding” with NATURAL POF PARENTS, etc.
LAWYERS, to get the UN to adopt a declaration of POF rights and to represent POFs in court. When someone gets attacked by a pit bull, why is the dog put down rather than the human? In divorce cases, who gets to keep the pups? And, equally important, the pup house and furnishings – the fine china bowls, the shearling and alpaca coats, the designer leashes?
MUNICIPAL POLITICIANS, to keep children out of public parks and off the sidewalks, or at least put them on leashes. We need advocates for safe POF car seats, separate lanes for cars carrying POFs, and separate seating in restaurants. They provide booster seats for kids, so why not perches for POFs? Separate washrooms are a disputed issue – should POFs allow themselves to be humanized and forced to use litter stations, or should they insist on following their natural fouling instincts?
The discrimination suffered by pets at present is so horrendous we don’t know where to begin. Why are there no pet spas offering Botox for Shar Peis? Why is there no free kindergarten for kittens? What about minimum pay, mandatory holidays, and pension benefits for service dogs?
PHILOSOPHERS, to solve the thorny question of identity. What is a POF? Do Furbies qualify? What about men with hairy backs? Women who don’t wax? But maybe that’s a question for
PSYCHOLOGISTS, when they are not busy with abuse cases. Not every foster parent treats his/her fur kid like a beloved child. Some people have POFs for all the wrong reasons. They are the underdogs in their office and compensate for it by lording it over their fur kids. We need psychologists to help POFs to deal with the trauma of authoritarian foster parents, teach them to become more assertive about their rights and train them in the effective use of howling, biting, scratching, and gnawing furniture.
Helen Hobbs (petsatpeace.com) notes that humans have become addicted to screens and handheld devices, so now only POFs can provide a direct and “pure connection”. Let’s call it what it is – not a connection, but an opportunity for inappropriate touching and harassment. Humans ought to remember the first rule about POF dating: Let your POF initiate any contact. Allow him to lick you first before licking back, and don’t go beyond his invitation with unwanted kisses or stroking.
THEOLOGIANS. Last Halloween some misguided POF attendant dressed his dog up as Satan. I’m asking you. Why not as God? The God of Fur (GOF), I mean. POFs used to be worshipped. Think of the mummified cats in Egyptian tombs, the biblical golden calf, the Hindu elephant deity Ganesha. The modern Western world, by contrast, is full of human idols. We need a new Dante to unveil the horrors of the POF Inferno and the beauty of the POF Paradise.
And finally, we need
ARCHITECTS, to build a furry cathedral with altars to St. ALPO, patron of hungry POFs, the martyr KING KONG, patron of high rise dwelling POFs, and the Great Enabler, DECADENCE.