02-02-2010, 10:02 PM
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As long as conversation remains civilized I think it's alright if we keep the topic open.
Not a vegetarian or vegan myself, but I think it would be pretty easy to reconcile petkeeping with animal rights-based veganism. Here are two possible justifications:
1) Vegans might buy or adopt pets that might otherwise end up in worse conditions (i.e. sick pets or pets that would likely end up in the hands of people who would, intentionally or out of ignorance, mistreat them). Of course, it can be counter-argued that doing so is still supporting an industry that is more harmful for animals than not, but a response to this might be that the efforts of a few individuals to improve the lives of a few animals are but drops in the bucket of the pet industry, and that ultimately the answer to the problem is education of the potential pet owner.
2) In rare cases, keeping animals as pets can be objectively helpful to the particular species. Good examples include the attempted breeding of giant pandas in zoos and, in our own hobby, the breeding efforts of fishkeepers who keep cichlids from Lake Victoria, fish that are in many cases on the brink of extinction (or perhaps already extinct) in the wild due to human action.
Both of these seem like defensible positions for the pet-keeping vegan. I'm sure there are more.
Edit: Kym posted and locked the thread while I was still typing. If anyone wants to respond to my comments feel free to PM me!