Dear readers, we have recently presented to you an extensive article on what you can give to your vegan or eco loved ones. Today, we want to remind what should never, ever be on the list of presents.

What is one of the least ethical gifts you can give to someone? A pet. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a dog, a cat, a rabbit, a hamster, or a fish (you can put any living creature on this list).

Yes, a kitten or a puppy looks lovely under a Christmas tree. However, a few weeks after the holidays all the shelters and rescue places register a sudden increase of abandoned animals in their premises. Here are the two main reasons of why giving animals to others is a mistake.

1. Lack of consultation with the reciver

The fact that someone once hinted that he would like to have a pet, does’t mean that he wants to get it just now and just the one you have chosen. It also does’t mean that he is ready for such a step in the first place. It’s similar to the deciding on a relationship or having children. I don’t think that anyone would like if others would decide instead of him about choosing a partner or choosing time to expand the family.

And what if it’s young family member who wants a pet? Well, I think we are aware of the perseverance and diligence of such young people. And there is nothing wrong with it (after all, childhood means kids does not have to be responsible and conscientious yet) until it is the source of harm to another living being.

2. Unawareness of consequences

This simple truth must be repeated until everyone understand it: an animal is not an object! The young will grow and probably cease to be so sweet and cute. In addition, it will require an effort of…

…money

Providing adequate food, equipment (all those bowls, collars, leashes, aquariums, terrariums, etc.) and basic veterinary services (such as preventive examinations, sterilization, vaccinations, regular deworming) are costs that can shake up a more modest home budget. And what if any disease will appear? It will be even more expensive. Much more. And usually, we don’t know if a receiver is able (or simply has desire) to bear such costs.

…time

You need to buy and give food to an animal. You need to walk out the dog, clean the cuvette, change the water in the aquarium. And these activities must be somehow incorporated into our usually quite tense day. If someone decides for it themselves, after carefully considering the decision – that’s fine. But you can not force someone to do it with a Christmas present.

…conditions

Gnawed walls, shoes and slippers, scratched furniture and doors, favorite books bitten, stains on carpets and floor coverings are all an indispensable bonus of a living creature gift. If you don’t like it when someone is refurnishing your life, do not do it to the person you want to give to, even if you have the best intentions in the world.

…feelings

Last but not least. Animals don’t operate on as complex mental levels as we do, their emotional life is less nuanced – but it exist. Unwanted and unloved animal will suffer, even if its physical needs are satisfied. Did you know that sometimes dogs, cats or horses (and others) get depressed? Animals that have gone through something bad or have been given too little sensitivity become victims of neuroses. Yes, the same diseases that many people also suffer from.

Deep breath

A pet at home is something wonderful. It’s a friend, comforter, comedian, a work of art (sometimes with a very twisted sense of humor, but still – like any living creature – an outstanding work of art). But above all – it is a huge responsibility. It can not be imposed.

If we want our loved ones to become the caretaker of the animal, let’s start by asking if he wants it at all. Then let’s show him the brilliance and shadows of living with animals. If all this does not scare him away – let us help him in conscious adoption.

And for Christmas, let’s better give a a plush toy, a good book about animals or something from our list of ethical gifts.