UK animal welfare activists want the term 'pets' banned

The groups says pets aren't "toys" or "decorations".
The groups says pets aren't "toys" or "decorations". Photo credit: Getty

Animals should not be called "pets" because the term is "derogatory", animal rights group PETA says.

The group has called for the term "pets" to be banned because "animals are not pets", the Express reports.

PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk said animals are not "toys" or "decorations".

"They are living beings," the 70-year-old from the UK told the Express.

"A dog is a feeling, whole individual, with emotions and interests, not something you 'have'.

"How we say things governs how we think about them, so a tweak in our language when we talk about the animals in our homes is needed."

Newkirk's comments come as the organisation offers "go vegan" facemasks amid the deadly coronavirus outbreak. 

The virus originated in the city of Wuhan in China's Hubei province. It's thought to have spread to humans via a live game meat market.

"From deadly viruses to the bushfires and rainforest fires fuelled by the climate crisis, eating animals has apocalyptic consequences," PETA said in a statement.

"We can't expect to continue living on Earth as we know it if we continue to eat animals.

"The best thing you can do for your own health and the world we live in is to go vegan right now."

Some Facebook users did not respond well to PETA's message about the deadly virus.

"All you post is death and bad things - I do a lot for the environment, but we eat meat," one said.

"Exaggerations like this is why I don't take PETA seriously," another wrote.