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Last Minute Gift-Giving Ideas: PETA Urges Shoppers to Think Twice Before Buying Animals as Gifts

Updated on December 24, 2017
Rosana Clarkson profile image

With the holidays at their end and the stress of shopping at its peak, the following are belated gift giving ideas for animal lovers.

PETA Encourages Shoppers to be Sure that Loved Ones, Especially Children, Are Ready for the Lifelong Commitment of Caring for a Pet

Through a humorous and adorable holiday-themed ad, PETA (People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals) encourages shoppers to think twice before purchasing animals as presents.

A statement at the PETA website reads: "Although people who give animals as gifts invariably have good intentions, it is unfair to give an animal to anyone unless you are absolutely certain that the person wants that particular animal and is willing and able to give it a lifetime of proper care."

Is Your Loved One Prepared For the Responsibility?

According to PETA, adopting a cuddly, four-legged member into your delightful clan, while no doubt a joy and a blessing, is no joke. Pets are inevitably a serious responsibility that require a lasting commitment to appropriate attention and care.

So, before taking an animal into your home, consider the costs and obligations. It is important to ascertain that you or your loved ones are fully prepared for the long-term responsibilities involved: are the prospective recipients ready to exercise and house-train a pet? Do they have the means to provide food, toys, grooming and hygiene supplies, leashes, harnesses, bedding, vaccinations, veterinary care, including spaying or neutering, flea, deworming and emergency treatment?

PETA suggests that if you or your family hope to adopt a pet, it would be best that all members of the family visit their local animal shelter to choose the animal together, and that they have already talked about the responsibilities involved. PETA also urges families to never purchase from breeders or pet stores, as doing so may deprive a dog or cat from an animal shelter of a potential home.

Why Children May Not Be Ready

According to PETA, children are not always ready to care for pets. "Small children may unintentionally harm animals, even breaking their fragile bones or causing other fatal injuries when they think they are playing," PETA says. "Puppies, kittens, bunnies, chicks, baby ducks, and other young animals are especially vulnerable."

PETA also reminds would-be pet owners that far too many families in which a child eventually loses interest in an animal can then feel impelled to give the pet to a crowded shelter or pound, or even pass the animal on to a series of homes, which can ultimately create trauma, psychological scarring, and behavioral problems; as much as many would like to, many pet owners eventually find, much to their deep regret, that they are unable to follow through with their initial commitments.

Some, however, at least in my experience, are just downright mean.

Some years back, I witnessed a case in which a pet owner literally abandoned his cat after the landlord of the apartment complex in which he then lived stipulated that pets were no longer allowed to live with the associated tenants; though the neighbors and I did what we could to feed and look out for the cat after its former master continued to ignore it, and then, eventually, moved out, the cat seemed to despise all humans afterward and later became a stray, running the mean streets with its own little feline crew. (Well, like I said, the dude was mean).

How You Can Help

So if you are ever present at a fair, flea market, or other event in which animals are being given away, educate the facilitators; warn them about the dangers of offering animals to strangers, as some may sell them to laboratories or dealers, or abuse, neglect and desert them, PETA states.

In the meantime, PETA adds, unless you have thoroughly discussed the idea with a potential pet caregiver, and everyone involved knows that they are available for the time, willingness, ability and resources to properly provide for a pet, never directly give an animal as a present. Opt instead for a gift certificate from a local animal shelter.

If your children would like a pet but you are unsure if they are ready to care for one at the moment, my personal suggestion is that, for now, you give them a stuffed animal resembling a pet they would like to have; or, try adopting an animal through an organization as a gift for your children, in which they might have an opportunity to learn more about the animal you adopted for them and might even be provided photos of the animal, updates about how it is doing, or perhaps even a chance to visit it at the site in which it is being cared for. This might be an excellent way to train your children early on to develop a love for God's creatures, to be prepared for much needed advocacy on behalf of endangered and mistreated animals, (both domestic and wild), to be further educated about the habits and lifestyles of these amazing beings, and, to have a deepened appreciation and adoration for the treatment and concern they will one day eventually bless an animal with, when they are ready.

To donate to PETA or to become a member, visit

If you and your family wish to symbolically adopt an endangered animal, visit Species Adoptions at Your gift package will include a plush toy representing your adopted animal, a photo of the animal, an adoption certificate, a species card, and a gift bag.

To learn more about PETA, visit and subscribe to PETA's Youtube channel at


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