PETA says the word ‘pet’ should not be used for National Love Your Pet Day

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has said the word "pet" should be replaced in National Love Your Pet Day with "one that more clearly defines the bond" humans have with animals.

The organisation has already grabbed headlines with its claims that we should call animals 'companions' and people with pets to be called “human carers” or “guardians” rather than “owners”, so that they are seen as equals.

On its website, PETA says : "Referring to and thinking of animals not as sentient beings who have families, personalities, and emotions but rather as owned objects allows humans to justify using them in any way they see fit."

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On Thursday, social media was abuzz with people celebrating National Love Your Pet Day by sharing photos of themselves with their companions with the hashtag #LoveYourPetDay.

But PETA wants the event, held annually on February 20, to be renamed.

In a tweet, the organisation said: "We completely agree with the sentiment of #LoveYourPetDay BUT think #LoveYourCompanionDay would make for a much more respectful, kind and compassionate hashtag."

Speaking to Daily Star, Mimi Bekhechi, director of International Programmes for PETA, said: "Every day should be "Love Your Pet" Day if you're lucky enough to share your life with a dog, a cat, a rabbit, or another animal, but the word "pet" should be replaced with one that more clearly defines the bond.

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""Pet" can be used with love, but like the equivalent Spanish term, 'mascota', it emphasises a master-pet relationship, reducing animals with personalities and emotions to owned possessions instead of members of the family.

"Social movements have always had to appeal to people to stop using terms that are sexist or racist or that otherwise imply the subject is an accessory to the speaker rather than a whole, thinking, feeling individual like themselves.

"So yes, let's love the animals in our homes today – and every day – but let's give them the respect they deserve by calling ourselves what we should be, their "guardians", and them our "animal companions."

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