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Pope Francis laments trend of substituting children for pets.

Pope Francis’s recent lament against substituting children for pets irritated and offended many people, but were his words taken out of context?

Pope Francis recently lamented the increasing modern trend of substituting children for pets. He declared at a general audience at the Vatican that not having children is “selfish and diminishes us and takes away our humanity”. He also stated that many couples do not have children because they do not want to, or they have just one — but they have two dogs, two cats. Yes, dogs and cats take the place of children.”

The Vatican defended him, stating his oration was taken out of context. Cindy Wooden of the Catholic News Service believed his words concerning people who did not want children was “what stuck in many people’s craw.”

The Pope assumes people know him and the context of his words. When they don’t, hackles are raised as in the case of his view on couples having pampered pets instead of children. The nervous laughter in the Vatican audience hall on Jan. 5 should have tipped him off that he was heading for a mishap.

Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service January 11 2022.

Animal lovers who obviously did not know him, construed his words as being anti petkeeping and an accusation of selfishness on the part of those not wishing either to have children or unfortunately not able to. This caused outrage and offence to a great number of people.

Every media outlet across the world picked up on the story and it was front page news and filled social media sites. Pet owners and celebrities like Ricky Gervais were queuing up to disparage it.

Animal rightists may have welcomed his comments.

His words may have surprised and confused many people considering he is the first Pope to take his name from St Francis of Assisi patron saint of animals, and is renowned for his love of animals and their rights. He was even voted by the leading animal rights organisation People’s Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in 2015 as their Person of the Year for his message of kindness to animals.

Ironically, PETA of course, probably welcomed his words and were supportive of his viewpoint as the organisation is against the keeping of all pets, but for differing reasons.

Substituting children for pets causes outcry.

In this era of overpopulation of the planet which causes so many problems for world society, the environment and climate change, it was ill advised for the Pope to make such comments as he was on a hiding to nothing. The subject was preordained to upset a lot of people whether believers or not.

It was a bit of an own goal and opened the Vatican to cries of hypocrisy in light of all the recent child abuse allegations and the fact that priests do not have children. It also disregarded the solace, joy and companionship which pets bring to the lives of the old, sick, lonely and depressed and childless couples. Also, the benefits pets provide for the social development of children.

Rule over every living thing and multiply.

But it shouldn’t come as a surprise as in general religion throughout history has not been a great fan of animals. It has always been preached that humans take precedence over any considerations of the animals. Most religions give humans “dominion” over all living creatures with some Christian faiths going as far as to tell their followers to “rule over every living thing, multiply and fill the earth and subdue it”

It might be beneficial for the church if the Pope’s advisors warn him that he upsets the world’s pet lovers at his peril.

Pet humanisation, the pet trade and fam-jams.

The trend of pet humanisation is making billions for the pet trade and other retailers as they manipulate gullible pet owners to buy unnecessary items like pet pyjamas.

Trends and fads concerning pets come and go, as and when we get bored with them. The most recent fad to pique our interest this Christmas is to dress the whole family including the family pets in matching pyjamas or loungewear. Why? Who knows, but the worldwide pet industry particularly China, the USA and UK is making billions because of pet humanisation.

Not a year goes by without our poor pets being burdened with a new fad created to satisfy our misplaced force majeure or compulsion to demonstrate our love for them. Dogs, our supposedly bested friends that we love so much, tend to endure most of this selfish desire on our part.

Most are fuelled by social media and patronised sadly by our celebrity role models. This idea stemmed from last Christmas when family sets of PJs were on offer, and it did not take long for marketing brains to come up with the idea of including our other family members.

Retailers quick to cash in on our eccentricities.

UK Retailers like Next, Gap, Primark and Pets at Home have all jumped in providing matching festive family PJs sets for animals referred to as ‘Fam Jams’. With the help of Instagram they will no doubt become a short-lived hit. And as with all these types of fads, animal welfare and rights campaigners are outraged. But their protests are always ignored as they are viewed as spoil sports with no sense of humour as its only a bit of fun – isn’t it?

Unfortunately, most of these fads sadly tend to belittle our pets in some way and are done purely for our amusement by supposedly making them look cuter, rather than bringing any benefit to the animals.

Retailers and pet accessory industry have always been adept and quick to cash in on our love for our pets particularly our beloved dogs. Over the years they have invested in market analysts, designers, psychologists and behaviourists to guide them on the best course of action to provide for our whims.

A few years ago they were quick to notice an emerging trend of pet owners who wanted to treat their pets as equal members of the family, little people or surrogate babies and give them similar diets, presents and lifestyles.

Pet Humanisation – an awesome opportunity.

The pet trade soon dubbed this trend “pet humanisation” which they define as:

“Pet humanisation is a natural expression of the “pets as family” trend, whereby pet owners treat their pets like children and are highly receptive to products similar to the ones they use for themselves.”

Petprofessional.com.au

And encourage ‘pet-preneurs‘ to cash in as the:

fur baby phenomenon is providing an awesome opportunity for those ‘pet-preneurs’ willing to take a risk on a new pet product idea.

And so the trade is gleefully obliging us by  producing birthday and Christmas presents, designer outfits, automated food dispensers, mouthwash and even electric toothbrushes and companies can even arrange glittering parties.

Dog, pet humanisation,designer clothes, dressing up animals, animal ethics

Pet humanisation is now the main driving force of pet trade profits.

It is now the main market driver bringing them great riches and is yet another reason the industry is one of the few that avoids all the slowdowns in the world economy and continues to increase its sales and profit margins year after year. Investors rush to get into the market because they know that pet owners are extremely eccentric in their behaviour and easy to manipulate to quickly part with money on fads and crazes.

Behind the scenes they are no doubt having a good laugh as they take all this money out of the pockets of gullible pet owners with perhaps too much love for their animals. It seems sad that we insist on falling for this retail manipulation when it does not benefit our animals in any way.

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