My very first pet was a young rabbit I had "earned"
as a six-year old by helping someone gathering potatoes
for an hour. I thought it was incredible: being given
a rabbit for so little effort. After that first rabbit,
many would follow. The first rabbit was given a house
made of two stacked potato crates with some wire in
front. Instinctively I felt that animals needed space.
Because we lived on a market gardening business, there
was plenty of space to make an enclosure on a grassy
area, where the rabbits had a relatively large space.
They could dig a burrow that was many meters long, and
that even went past their enclosure. They did not escape
and this way they created a safe space for their own.
I realize that for a lot of animals I determined how long they would live and whether they would have young. That doesn't bother me, what does bother me is that I kept animals in captivity. This insight makes that I campaign against factory farming, and that I think it should be banned because the animals in factory farming don't get enough freedom. I have no objections to other people eating meat, as long as it doesn't come from factory farming. I think the quality of life before death is more important than determining the time of death. I will never eat meat again myself, I can't say why exactly. Eating or abusing animals is something you just don't do.
So my insight that animals have a right to freedom was not a sudden one, but one that grew gradually. Because I've been around pets for so many years, I have been able to experience that animals aren't really "grateful" that you care for them. They prefer to go their own way. I still like looking at animals, and the best thing for me is when an animal greets me by smelling my hand for a moment and that we each go our separate way then.
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