Acceptable Companion Animal Philosophy (ACAP)

Jackson (the cat) and Suzana GartnerACAP supports mutual respect between humans and companion animals. It proposes that companion animals, due to their scientifically documented sentience, and close connections with humans deserve to be treated better. Companion animals share special relationships with humans and it is a unique human-animal bond. Companion animals enhance human lives and contribute to their emotion, mental, and physical well-being and that is scientifically proven. There is a biological need to share our lives with them. Therefore, companion animals should be granted stronger legal protection and be removed from the personal property classification under the law.

ACAP is a balanced approach to animal rights, in response to a societal shift, in which society agrees that companion animals are sentient beings. Social change precedes legislative change. Pets are part of the family and should be afforded legal protection. ACAP proposes that the care and well-being of beloved pets is the human guardian’s responsibility. As such, pet parents are recognized as “guardians” rather than “owners.” This is a relationship based on affection, trust, companionship, and unconditional love, and when a human adopts an animal they take on their “guardianship.”

Animal protection laws should be aligned with society’s sentiment toward companion animals and thus pets should not be classified as property or “owned” and their best interests need to be considered in the laws. When couples separate, an ‘animal’s best interests’ should be taken into consideration in judicial court cases such as in divorce proceedings.

ACAP encourages adoption rather than purchasing pets and opposes buying dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, etc. from breeders, puppy mills, pet shops, online, etc. There are lovely adoptable animals waiting in shelters. There is no excuse for animals being killed in shelters and choosing to adopt an animal is a serious commitment for the rest of that animal’s life.

Companion animals are with us, not for us.

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