People often have nicknames for their dogs and cats, but the most popular term is now under fire by the new Journal on Animal Ethics.
The publication calls for new terminology, including outlawing the word "pets." Instead, they prefer the phrase "companion animals."
"We do need to examine our language about animals because a lot of it is derogatory in the sense that it belittles them and our relations with them," journal co-editor Andrew Linzey said. Linzey, a theologian, heads the Centre for Animal Ethics at the University of Oxford in England.
The journal doesn't stop there, in fact they suggest getting rid of other terms it deems derogatory such as "critters," "beasts" and "wild animals," along with phrases such as "drunk as a skunk" and "eat like a pig."
However, Linzey said the preferred language isn't a matter of insulting pets and believes the issue has been inaccurately portrayed in the media.
"Obviously, animals cannot be insulted in the way in which people can be," he wrote in an email to The Associated Press.
The Journal on Animal Ethics hopes the vocabulary shift ultimately improve the respect given to animals and, in turn, improve our treatment of them.
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