Re your article (The case against pets: is it time to give up our cats and dogs?, 13 September), the real question to be asked is whether it can ever be morally right for one sentient being to “own” another at all. As well as closing down the wasteful and exploitative global $320bn pet industry, it’s probably time to put a stop to animal-based sports such as horse racing and polo. Whether zoos and safari parks do more harm than good is also a question to be looked into. And with plant-based or synthetic meat becoming increasingly indistinguishable from the real thing, surely the use of animals in agriculture could be phased out over, say, a 10-year period?
Dr Frank Wilson
• Your article asks if it’s time to give up our pets. When I did a survey of our dogs and cats, the answer was a hard stare from beside their food bowls. Clearly a no from them. Anthropomorphising animals is always a bad idea. A dog with an outfit on doesn’t care about the outfit unless it’s uncomfortable; all it wants is to be with its pack. Cats are social animals too, and see us as large nurturing sort-of cats with opposable thumbs. Though it might be true that if cats developed their own opposable thumbs, humans would all be dead in seconds.
Hutton Roof, Cumbria
• Your article addressed cats’ and dogs’ meat consumption, but didn’t mention a study showing that the carbon footprint of owning a meat-eating dog is broadly equivalent to that of running a petrol or diesel car. The dog-car equivalence offers a useful perspective. Deciding not to own a dog is a more affordable way of becoming ecological than buying a new electric car.
Dr Stephen Wozniak