Vol. 37 No. 336
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  January 28, 2015
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  FEATURE ARTICLES
 
   PET TALK

By Maneka Gandhi

Stating that there is no right way to keep a bird, Maneka in this week’s Pet Talk says: “They are not pets and they do not want interaction with human beings. They want to fly, have families and live in a group. The birds that you cage will never have normal lives. They will be bored, unhappy and restless.”

We leave our pet dog, a Labrador, for 2-3 hours at home when we go out. How can I make it better for him? I know he gets upset whenever we are away. I want him to feel better whenever we are away.

I would suggest getting another dog to keep him company. Separation anxiety is a common problem with single dogs, especially if there are no people at home to keep him company. Is there no friend or neighbour that you can leave him with for these hours? Perhaps keeping the television on might give him the illusion of people at home? Do you leave chew-toys, food and water out for him while you are gone?

Is owning another pet the answer to coping with a pet’s demise?

Of course it is. But not buying one, getting one from a shelter and investing all the love you have for animals in him or her. This is not a replacement but an addition to the family that makes it complete again.

What is the right way to keep a pet bird? I am not eager to put it in a cage, but I know she will fly away if I let her loose.

There is no right way to keep a bird. They are not pets and they do not want interaction with human beings. They want to fly, have families and live in a group. The birds that you cage will never have normal lives. They will be bored, unhappy and restless. I cannot see why you want a bird — they are not toys nor have they been put on this earth to amuse you. Most of them die young in cages. Birds are intelligent and highly playful species, which require constant attention and entertainment among their own kind.

My dog is 8 now, can he mate or is it too late?

Breeding should stop around 5-6 years. Male dogs start to produce sperms at around 7-10 months old, but healthy ones are only produced by age 1 to 4-5 years. After their prime passes, the quality of their sperm degrades. By the age of 10 years, their sperm is useless and will be completely unable to penetrate a female’s egg. In any case, why do you want to bring more dogs into the world. There are enough dying homeless.

Don’t we need to test cleaning products, bodycare products, and makeup on animals to make sure they’re safe to use on humans?

No, of course we don’t. There are easy, safe, cost-effective and successful non-animal ways of testing that can and should be done. That many companies don’t test on animals is clear proof that it doesn’t need to be done. In fact, if even one company can test without using animals, then all companies can.

Companies continue to test on animals, despite it not being required by law, because… well, that’s what they’ve always done.

On top of that, they are not being given a reason to stop because consumers continue to buy their animal-tested products. And as long as people buy these products, companies will just keep testing on animals. Lack of public support is only way to force these companies to use non-animal methods of testing. So, as with every form of animal abuse, it’s up to each of us to bring it to an end by not supporting it.

 
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