The temptation to keep pets is high. People do so, out of their own desires or when asked by family or friends to take on pets that are no longer wanted. The commercial sector is also active in tempting people to buy pet animals.  Whereas the parties selling animals would not wish to draw attention to the disadvantages of keeping pets, it is also not in their interests to speak too lightly of them. They do, after all, need to uphold their own reputation and the clients' confidence in their expertise.

But the type of information  provided by conscientious sellers on the consequences of a purchase varies  considerably. In this regard, there is little difference between buying a television or a pet.  The difference becomes obvious, however, at the point that people  want to dispose of their pet. Although there are incredible numbers of indifferent people who are quite willing to simply dump their animal, there are, luckily, also people prepared to care for the abandoned animal.  This is fortunate for the animal, but less fortunate for that small group of people concerned with the animal's fate.  Less fortunate, in the sense that their noble attitude costs so much money and time. Added to this, our society is structured in such a  way there is a huge lack of volunteers to assist in the care, let alone that we could count on sufficient paid support, if only in the form of people who could work in animal refuges in return for their social welfare benefits.  There are enormous numbers of animals in our society. For each Dutch person, 10 animals are kept on a permanent basis. Their only fate in most cases, is that they are killed only when they are dumped. Agricultural pets  are slaughtered. Pets, dumped in nature are shot or eaten. If they are dumped in an animal refuge, they receive a lethal injection if they cannot be placed in a new home, or in some cases they are used as fodder for other animals if they do not eat meat themselves.
If you are indifferent to this system, you do not have a problem. Those of the opinion that you cannot kill an unwanted animal, do have a problem. It is therefore important to seek  a compromise between the small group of people who find that you cannot just kill off animals and the large group of people indifferent to this matter. It would not be asking too much to put a price tag on this indifference, just as in the age-old practice of easing the guilty conscience with a plenary indulgence.  This having been said, there is, theoretically, a simple solution. Whether that solution is feasible , depends on the politicians. When dealing with animal suffering, politicians consider in first instance the interests of the sector which earns money from animals. In this way, finding solutions is difficult, but not impossible.

If everyone deciding to keep animals was charged a disposal fee, which was equal to the costs of care for each animal that could not be placed in a new home, the problems could, in theory, be solved.  
The buyers would be charged a realistic price for their animal. In the case of a young animal, or an animal with a long life expectancy, the price would be higher.  For animals with a short life expectancy, the price would be much lower.  Schedules, showing the costs involved for care, per animal can be drawn up, making people more aware of the financial consequences of their purchase. Of course the commercial sector will not be very enthusiastic about this solution, but their objection is not insurmountable, as they are actually concerned with after sales. "After sales”  is what the sector can earn from animal care. Professional  breeders would be the hardest hit, financially, because they focus solely on the sale of pet animals and are not concerned with after sales. Does anyone feel sorry for the professional breeders?  In order to survive within this sort of financial agreement they would  need to have themselves registered and to pull their weight in financing the disposal fee.


This article is part of a series on pet adoption. Below the table of contents of this series. Below that even more articles about pets.

Table of contents

Keeping pets

An example: the dog

The history of dogs

Modern day dogs

Consequences of irresponsible breeding for dogs

Drawbacks for dogs

Man

Why do people want pets?

Drawbacks for humans

The pet-industry

Conclusion?

Take a pet?


More articles on pets

Are pets education tools?

Bad reasons for keeping pets

Dependency of animals

Letting go of attachment to animals

Children and their perception of animals

A disposal fee for every pet animal purchased?

Abandoned pets as "free as a bird"?

Links about specific animals

Suffering of reptiles

Why the goldfishbowl is bad

A rabbit as a pet..... suitable or not?