Is someone a vegan when he or she owns a pet for their own fulfilment?

  • 2
    I agree with Zanna. There are many interesting questions to be asked concerning veganism and pets, but this particular one would require answers to be hugely opinionated. Apr 19, 2017 at 13:10
  • I agree to a certain extent but I feel like this can't be something opinion based right? Being vegan means to not use animals in any way shape or form for one's own pleasure or entertainment, be it food, clothes or anything else. If you think of it that way, saving an animal from death by adopting it would mean you're vegan, but buying a pet dog which was bred simply to make money would mean you aren't vegan, right?
    – MJB
    Apr 19, 2017 at 14:09
  • 1
    I think the underlying issues make for a valuable question: how do you balance the needs of your pet animal and the welfare of the animals kept and killed for pet food? How can animal welfare be safeguarded when keeping a pet, if at all? Is there vegan pet food? But the question should be reworked along those lines.
    – henning
    Apr 19, 2017 at 20:05
  • @Zanna Well I'm sorry for not formulating my question properly. I'm not asking for just food for carnivores, I'm asking about the idea of owning a pet for one's own fulfilment. But I see now that this isn't a question that is going to be answered here so I might aswell close it.
    – MJB
    Apr 20, 2017 at 6:17
  • If your formulate your question something like this, I think some folks would be able to answer it: "is keeping a pet for one's own fulfillment consistent with the vegan ideal to avoid the exploitation of animals for human use?" I guess the answer is "no, and the pet breeding industry is very un-vegan, but there might be some circumstances where vegans would feel it was ethical to keep an animal such as x, y, z, and many do so". Feel free to edit your question so that it reflects what you actually want to know. We can only read what's on the page really :)
    – Zanna
    Apr 20, 2017 at 7:20

1 Answer 1


I always say that you can't own an animal. Can you own a human person?

A reasonably broadly acceptable definition of veganism is an effort to avoid exploiting non-human animals for human use.

According to this definition, keeping an animal as a companion "for one's own fulfillment" would perhaps be considered not consistent with veganism.

Many vegans object to the industries that breed animals for human use as pets.

On the other hand, many vegans are animal-lovers and do keep animals. Most of the vegans I know who have "pets" or companion animals living with them do so because the animal was rescued. Often, they have an injury or disability that caused them to be rejected by pet-breeding industries or earlier "owners".

In this situation, keeping the animal might be considered an act of compassion, which is a key principle or driving emotion behind many people's vegan practice.

Of course, if you are keeping an animal, they might require non-vegan food, and then the vegan is put in the awkward position of obtaining such food, which is one of those difficult compromises that inevitably arise for people who commit themselves to an ethics of non-harming. I don't think you'd be able to find a self-professed vegan who's never compromised on something, chosen the lesser of two evils, or acted against strict vegan principles out of basic necessity.

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