The Portland Press Herald’s May 16 editorial (“Our View: Dogs don’t get their day in court“), while attempting to poke holes in the rights of animals by questioning whether or not a dog had legal standing in court, trivialized the very real problems society faces in protecting the welfare of animals. Regardless, if one believes animals should have rights or standing in a court of law, they nonetheless deserve respect and protection from those who would do them harm.

A big step in the advocacy of animal protection is the language we use when referring to them. The word “pet” is being replaced by “companion animal” to express not so much a person owning another being, but a more equal partnership of mutual love and understanding. Companion animals are no longer referred to as “it,” but by their name, or “s/he,” “they,” etc., thus not giving the impression of being an inanimate object.

As society evolves to recognize others’ rights, as it has with women and minorities, so has the language. Animals have always deserved the same, and now the time has come. The media have a responsibility to lead the way in this effort to ensure that our society “talks the talk” when referring to our four-legged friends. Thanks.

Don Kimball

South Portland

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